Bronx Theatre High School
BRONX NY 10463 Map
Bronx Theatre High School
Bronx Theatre High School, one of eight on the John F. Kennedy Campus, offers students the chance to sample set design, costume design and acting in 12-week cycles in the 9th grade, then pick their focus. On our visit, students were preparing for a production of Frankenstein: in set design they worked on the set, costumes were sewn in the construction class and actors rehearsed in the black-box theatre during drama.
A partnership with the Roundabout Theatre Company helps bring the arts into science and history classes. Students take several trips to see performances, which are discussed before. Through a partnership with the Lehman College Performing Arts, seniors toured the school and saw a performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Charles Gallo became principal in 2011 though he has been in the building for many years, first as a student at JFK, then as a teacher, and then at Bronx Theatre.
People we spoke with said that staff and kids work well together. A graduating 12th grader credits the teachers for her success. “Everyone here pushes me to see the change. It’s the constant reminder that makes me want to do better.” The office staff was friendly and proud to work at the school, telling us excitedly about student performances.
Attendance has improved from the low 80s to 88 percent in fall 2011. Gallo credits this rise to a monthly celebration for students with more than 90 percent attendance. “We’re big on celebrating,” he explained. “Learn, do your work. You work, we supply the fun.” Aides with black Bronx Theatre T-shirts herd students into their next class with megaphones to help.
Students can take Advanced Placement English, Spanish, calculus and US history, though The Riverdale Press reported that since 2009 only one AP exam out of 102 received a passing score. Only about two-thirds of students graduate on time and a small fraction are prepared to go to college without remediation, according to Department of Education statistics. Gallo added that through their “Good to Go” campaign the school is trying to encourage seniors to work toward a score of 75 on the English and 80 on the math Regents exams in order to be college-ready.
For students who pass their Regents exam but fail the class, they can do an independent study to retrieve the credit.
In collaboration with CUNY’s At Home in College program, students prepare for college entrance exams and work on college applications and essays in math and English classes. All students apply to college and the majority of graduates go to CUNY schools. In 2011, 22 students earned the Regents Arts Endorsement, an additional certificate to go with a Regents diploma.
Afterschool, students can attend P.M. school for Regents tutoring or play PSAL sports on building-wide teams. There is also a dance company, music, chorus and photography.
Special education: ICT and self-contained classes are available to meet the requirements of students’ IEPs.
Admissions: Priority to Bronx residents and students who attend an information session. (Aryn Bloodworth, October 2011)