Marble Hill High School for International Studies

BRONX NY 10463 Map
Phone: (718) 561-0973
Website: Click here
new immigrants
Neighborhood: Marble Hill/ Riverdale
District: 10
Grade range: 09 thru 12
Parent coordinator: IGNACIA REYES

What's special:

Multi-cultural school community; high attendance and grad rates

The downside:

Classes demand a lot from students

The InsideStats


Our review

Marble Hill High School for International Studies strives to live up to its motto: “exploring the world, one day at a time.” Flags and brightly colored greetings in several languages adorn the halls. Over 35 languages are spoken at the school and one-third of the students are studying English as a Second Language (ESL). Teachers and staff balance student care with rigorous coursework that goes beyond city or state requirements.

Located on the 6th and 8th floors of the John F. Kennedy Campus building, Marble Hill has its own office and classroom space, but it shares its gym, auditorium, and athletic fields with seven other schools.

Many of the teachers were Peace Corps volunteers and more than three-quarters speak a language other than English, including Principal Kirsten Larson, who served in the Peace Corps in Africa. All students are required to take three years of foreign language (Spanish, Italian, Japanese or Chinese)—even those who already speak another language. “Our ESL students want to take another language,” explained Larson. Japanese classes were especially impressive, with even 1st year classes conducted mainly in the language.

Black, navy or khaki pants and a white collared shirt with black shoes distinguishes kids at Marble Hill from the other schools in the building, many of which share the same hectic building entrance. Everyone gets a locker or access to a coatrack in their homeroom.

In 11th and 12th grade, students are required to do 50 hours of community service per semester. They also complete an exit program with a resume, college essay, college research paper and reflection. Students prepare projects each marking period. Along with a required four years of math and science students may take Advanced Placement or College Now courses through Lehmann College.

Parents are encouraged to participate in school events. “Road to College” meetings and parent-teacher night are particularly popular. The staff, teachers and administration all claim that they focus heavily on parent outreach to help students academically.

In a four-day college class for seniors everyone applies to CUNY; the majority attend CUNY schools. Three students received Posse Scholarships in 2011. Most students attend CUNY or SUNY schools, although some have attended NYU and the University of Pennsylvania.

Afterschool, students play PSAL sports on building-wide teams and can participate in fashion, dance, chess, guitar or buildOn. Select students fundraise to go to China for spring break. 

English language learners: English language learners receive extra support through two-hour blocks of English and global humanities. Additionally, students may participate in conversation groups at lunch to improve their spoken English. The majority of the ELL students speak Spanish, Yemeni, Bengali or West African dialects.

Special education: The school has ICT and SETTS for the small number of students with IEPs, a large number of whom are also ELLs.

Admissions: Screened. Priority given to Bronx residents and English language learners. The school strongly encourages an interview and writing sample as part of the application. (Aryn Bloodworth, October 2011)

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