M.S./H.S. 141 Riverdale / Kingsbridge Academy

660 WEST 237 STREET
BRONX NY 10463 Map
Phone: (718) 796-8516
Website: Click here
Admissions: neighborhood school
Noteworthy
Principal: LORI O'MARA
Neighborhood: Marble Hill/ Riverdale
District: 10
Grade range: 06 thru 12
Parent coordinator: Stacy Miller

What's special:

Diverse student body, strong neighborhood connections

The downside:

Large class size; some litter

Middle School Stats

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High School Stats

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Our review

Riverdale-Kingsbridge Academy, serving grades 6-12, has a working kiln, a dance studio, a comfortable library, handball courts and a softball field in the leafy Riverdale section of the Bronx. Virtually all students live in the surrounding middle-class neighborhood and the student body reflects Riverdale’s melting-pot ethnic mix.

“I’ve never been to a school that has this much diversity in its student population,” said Lori O’Mara, RKA’s principal since 2006. Students speak some 60 different languages at home, and the school has a mix of white, black, Latino and Asian students.

The school has good attendance and a high graduation rate, and most kids on to college. On our visit, class changes were orderly. Classes were large, but kids typically appeared respectful and attentive and hands shot up when questions were asked. DOE security guards are present and hall monitors sit outside restrooms, but the campus sees no need for dispiriting metal detectors.

RKA has a strong music program. Starting in 6th grade, students are required to play an instrument or sing. The high school offers Spanish, French and Latin linguistics, plus a wide range of Advanced Placement courses. Students must accumulate 40 hours of volunteer community service to graduate. Turnover is relatively low and most teachers have at least six years of experience.

RKA offers a wide variety of varsity sports, including boys’ baseball, basketball, soccer and wrestling, and girls’ basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball. Golf, tennis, running and other in-school sports also are offered. A wide variety of afterschool clubs (including a popular drama program) are available--all at no cost to students. Many activities are provided or supervised by Riverdale Community Center, a community-based organization.

Not everything is perfect: While students say they feel safe in class, there are occasional fights outside of class, according to the Learning Environment Survey. There are scraps of litter in the hallways and stairwells, and many classrooms bear the scuffs of a half-century of hard use.

College: Many RKA grads go on to SUNY and CUNY universities or small private colleges, but some have been admitted to New York University, Penn State, Johns Hopkins and Wesleyan University.

Special education: RKA offers self-contained 12:1:1 classes. It also has Collaborative Co-Teaching (CCT) classes in which students with special needs are taught alongside general-education students in classes featuring two teachers, one of whom is certified to teach special education. RKA also offers Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS).

Admissions: RKA’s middle school is open only to students who live in its attendance zone. All 8th-graders who attend the middle school may attend RKA’s high school, and most do. (About 30 or 40 leave for elite high schools such as Bronx Science.) There are 3 or 4 seats open for 9th graders who live outside the school’s attendance zone, and the school often receives 1,500 applications for those few seats.

New arrivals to the Riverdale neighborhood do not automatically qualify for a seat in the school. Children of new residents must go to 1 Fordham Plaza for a referral, and must meet minimum acceptance criteria, which are based on grades and attendance. (Skip Card, October 2012)

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