New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities II

455 SOUTHERN BLVD
BRONX NY 10455 Map
Phone: (212) 645-5110
Website: Click here
Admissions: Lottery. Preference District 7
unzoned
charter
newschool
Principal: Richard González
Neighborhood: South Bronx
District: 7
Grade range: 09 and 10

What's special:

Intense writing focus and a longer school day

The downside:

New school with no track record

The InsideStats

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Our review

New Visions Charter High School for Humanities II (HUM II), housed in the Samuel Gompers Educatonal Campus, opened in 2012. It plans to focus on courses in literature, history and writing, for those interested in careers like law, teaching, journalism or the arts. In the upper grades the school plans to offer AP Government, Media Studies and AP Psychology.

It is modeled after a New Visions school with the same name that opened in September 2011 in the John F. Kennedy building in the Bronx. New Visions for Public Schools, a non-profit founded in 1989, has worked with the Department of Education and community partners to create 135 small schools in New York City.

Ronald Chaluisan, a New Visions spokesperson, said incoming 9th graders are tested early on their reading and writing skills so teachers can help bring them up to 10th grade level over the course of the 9th grade year. Students attend school from 8:30 am to  4:30 pm except on Wednesdays when the school day is shorter. There is a required summer session before and after 9th grade.

The focus at New Visions schools is to strengthen reading, writing and speaking skills in the first two grades. Writing at the high schools is taught in six cycles, with a focus on different genres and skills. Writing is also sharpened in other subject areas.

In a partnership with Lincoln Center Institute, students will attend performances and visit art exhibitions related to their studies on a regular basis. Class size will average 25 students.

A student who attends an existing New Vision charter high school told us at the March 2012 new schools fair, “The staff is very devoted to us. They are very young, in their mid-20s, so they can relate to us.” Another said, “They teach us step-by-step so you don’t feel lost.” Chaluisan added, “Our track record at Kennedy is pretty good.”

The Samuel Gompers Career and Technical High School is closing because of poor performance.

Special education: New Visions plans to increase the number of classes that mix general and special needs students with two teachers so they can adjust the ratio of kids. They will aim for 7-8 children with special needs per class of 25, believing this will serve all students better. Math will be split into five groups and these groups will be flexible according to need. Chaluisan said he welcomes applications from students with special needs and those still learning to speak English.

Admissions: Applications can be submitted online at: www.newvisions.org/Charter and must be completed by April 2. Admission is by lottery if there are more than 125 applicants, otherwise it will be first come, first to get in with preference to kids from District 7. “We are committed to community kids,” said Chaluisan. “We want the same kids that are in the building.” (Lydie Raschka, March 2012, interviews at the high school fair).

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