I.S. 145 Joseph Pulitzer
QUEENS NY 11372 Map
I.S. 145 Joseph Pulitzer
APRIL 2007 UPDATE: In 2006, the International Bridge Academy of IS 145 started a Spanish/English dual language program, which prepares students to be proficient in both languages. Students enter the program in 6th grade and are taught in English and Spanish on alternating days. Interested parents should meet with the guidance counselor.
MAY 2006 REVIEW: IS 145, with 2,000 students, was restructured into five smaller academies in 2004. The hope was that this would not only improve academic performance and boost low standardized test scores, but also strengthen ties between teachers and students, so the young teens enrolled did not feel lost. Indeed, even though one might expect that a sense of anonymity and detachment would reign at a school so large that it must operate on double sessions, students can find pockets of spirit and warm energy at IS 145.
The staff team for each academy includes a guidance counselor and dean, and they meet with the faculty once a week. International Bridge, which seemed to be the most broken-in of the new academies, enrolls immigrant students from around the world, and at least 18 different languages are represented. Here, kids share the common experience of adjusting to life in a new country--and seemed, to us, to form close attachments as a result. During our visit, we met a happy 8th grader who overcame the unhappy experience of her first few days in 6th grade, when English-speaking classmates shunned her for not speaking the language, with the sense of camaraderie she found in International Bridge. Another student told us that the school felt like family to her and that she was sad about graduating. Students in International Bridge seemed remarkably comfortable with each other and adults, speaking and joking in English, and teaching friends words in their native languages.
The other academies are: Math and Business, Science and Technology, Journalism and Media, Law and Humanities.
Students enter the school with a range of abilities. An honors program enrolls students who scored high 3s or 4s (the highest marks) on standardized exams; there are also remedial classes for students who scored 1s and 2s, the lowest grades. The quality of teaching we saw on our visit varied from one class to another. In a few classes, students seemed restless or bored and sat up straighter only when the principal walked in. In others, motivated teachers kept students engaged with interesting projects. Small groups of 6th graders seemed to motivate each other when they shared information about different books by Gary Paulsen, a well-regarded children's author. An honors class worked on haikus with the school's writer-in-residence, Rita Williams Garcia, whose books they had read. A "school enrichment model" program launched by the Department of Education is in the works for IS 145 and would offer additional enrichment activities for some students during the school day. Principal Dolores Beckham sees this as an opportunity to give teachers more freedom to develop projects they are passionate about.
Students are encouraged to take part in extracurricular programs, although some complain that there are not enough clubs and activities. Beckham is finding ways to offer more, but said IS 145 struggles with insufficient funding--evident in the outdated video equipment that kids use in the school's 15-year-old television studio. Despite these shortcomings, bright-eyed students manage to interview teachers and guests, film special events in the community, and carry out assignments professionally and responsibly. IS 145 also offers robotics, ballroom dancing, dance, journalism, and a cooking class; some of these are only offered after school. Tutoring is also offered after school. (Catherine Man, May 2006)