Theodore Roosevelt Educational Campus
Across the street from Fordham University, the Theodore Roosevelt Educational Campus houses six small high schools—some very successful, some not-ready-for prime time.
KAPPA International High School, for example, has a demanding curriculum and sends students to top colleges, but the Fordham Leadership Academy for Business and Technology has performed so poorly that the city decided in 2012 to change its name and remove half its staff.
Teachers and administrators agree that the building is calmer and safer than it was in 2002, when the city decided to close the violent and chaotic Theodore Roosevelt High School and reorganize it as an “educational campus” with small themed schools.
In the first years after the reorganization, staff at the small schools squabbled over space and schools were forced to move within the building as the new schools opened and expanded. Security guards, holdovers from the old Theodore Roosevelt High School, swore at students and berated parents trying to enter the school, creating a prison-like atmosphere, teachers recall.
Now, the six principals in the building appear to have forged a good working relationship and have succeeded in replacing rude security guards. Although students and visitors must still pass through metal detectors, security guards were polite on our recent visit.
Some walls could use a paint job and some of the corridors are gloomy. However, the library has been renovated and the cafeteria has a new, shiny red floor. The six schools in the building share the gymnasiums, two swimming pools and a weight room. Students from all the schools may serve as paid interns in the commercial bank branch on the first floor. They may also take part in junior ROTC. The schools share sports teams. (Clara Hemphill, March 2012)