High School of Computers and Technology

800 EAST GUN HILL ROAD
BRONX NY 10467 Map
Phone: (718) 696-3930
Website: Click here
Admissions: Attendance at open house
unzoned
vocational
alternative
Noteworthy
Principal: BRUCE ABRAMOWITZ
Neighborhood: Norwood
District: 11
Grade range: 09 thru 12
Parent coordinator: HEATHER FRANCIS

What's special:

Intense, hand-on computer training that can lead to certification

The downside:

Limited art and foreign languages; over 85 percent male

The InsideStats

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Our review

The High School of Computers and Technology prepares students for careers in computer technology, giving students a hands-on introduction to computer programming and repair. All students follow a CTE computer certification track beginning with an Internet and Computing Core Certification (IC3) in 9th grade, then A+ Computer Repair in 10th, Networking+ in 11th, and an internship in 12th, where all students work 15 hours a week in computer repair at places like Staples or local high schools instead of attending traditional classes. At the end of this sequence, students take a SkillsUSA certification exam and around 98 percent pass, according to Principal Bruce Abramowitz. Additionally, the school offers specific certifications from Pearson in A+ and Network+ to selected students.

In the hands-on spirit of the school, robotics club teacher Stan Bellis and students built the school’s PA and bell system, which rings like cuckoo clocks to signal the beginning and ending of class periods. Bellis described the type of student most likely to succeed at Computers: “If they’re interested in working with their hands. They have to want to come here and want to get dirty.”

Students were respectful and engaged, silently raising their hands to contribute in class. In one English class, the teacher talked about living in Kenya, to which a student raised his hand and tied the story back to the discussion.

Teachers attribute this level of engagement to the open communication in the school. “I’ve never met somebody that could take technology and pedagogy and wrap it together. I’ve never seen anything like it!” commented English teacher Rachel Durfee about Abramowitz.

Classes run for 60 minutes. Students wear light blue collared shirts and dark blue pants. Over 85 percent of the population is male, to which boys say they’d like to see more girls, but at least some girls don’t seem to mind. “There’s not a lot of drama and no fights among the girls,” explained Nailene, a senior.

Despite the heavy focus on technology, students still make use of the school’s library, borrowing as many books as there are students. Each year, the principal, a longtime vocational educator from Alfred E. Smith High School, teaches a hands-on class where students build things like lamps and clocks. Seniors take an annual trip to Florida and several other trips occur throughout the year. A group of freshmen told us eagerly about a camping trip they were looking forward to in the spring.

Computers and Technology offers Advanced Placement History and English classes; College Now and other college classes at several local colleges, including Lehman and Monroe; and a college preparation class for seniors. After high school, most students go to college at CUNY and SUNY schools though some go to more selective schools like Cornell and Amherst.

There are no visual arts classes and only one year of Spanish language, but Abramowitz makes an effort to connect interested students to the High School for Contemporary Arts downstairs. SoBRO provides some afterschool activities in the arts and a six-week summer bridge program introduces incoming students to art and careers in technology, giving them two art credits.

The school, which opened in September 2004, in the Evander Childs High School complex, shares the gym, weight room and indoor track with Bronx Lab School and the Bronx High School for Writing and Communication Arts, often holding gym with all three schools together in one session. The whole school goes to lunch at once and shares the cafeteria with another school. Though the school itself was clean, many of the shared spaces became increasingly dirty as the day went on. Bronx Academy of Health Careers, High School for Contemporary Arts and Bronx Aerospace High School also share the building.

Afterschool, the robotics club takes center stage—students prepare for a US robotics competition, play with go-karts and created a hoverboard. A variety of other activities from free SAT prep classes to building-wide PSAL sports are also available.

Special education: There are several ICT classes. Abramowitz’s philosophy is, “If [students] are not prepared to function in mainstream classes, how can we prepare them to function in the real world?”

Admissions: Limited Unscreened. In 2011, 2517 students applied for 135 seats. (Aryn Bloodworth, November 2012)

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