South Bronx Academy for Applied Media

BRONX NY 10456 Map
Phone: (718) 401-0059
Admissions: District 7 priority
Neighborhood: South Bronx
District: 7
Grade range: 06 thru 08
Parent coordinator: ASHLEY JONES

What's special:

Kids make documentary films

The downside:

Children's academic skills are poor

The InsideStats


Our review

The South Bronx Academy of Applied Media, opened in fall 2005, is one of two small schools housed in IS 184, a middle school that is being closed because of low academic performance. Students at Applied Media have the opportunity to make documentary films, build architectural models of their dream houses, and learn to draw one-point perspective. In one project, students researched the pros and cons of building a new Yankee Stadium, interviewed a member of the City Council about the issue, and made a documentary based on their work.

Students, called "scholars," wear uniforms of light blue shirts and gray trousers and begin the day reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and the Scholars' Pledge, written especially for the school to motivate and inspire students. Many of the students arrive in middle school reading at the 2nd or 3rd grade level, and getting them up to New York State standards is a challenge. However, most students seemed engaged in their work during our latest visit. In a science class, students experimented with a paper helicopter called a "whirligig," adjusting the paper wings and a paper-clip weight to see how the changes affected the flight.

"My buzzword for the year is 'accountability,'" said Principal Roshone Ault. Students who misbehave may be sent to the "accountability studio" for in-house suspension. Students who fail to wear the school uniform are required to serve "detention" at lunchtime and eat their lunch quietly in a classroom rather than talk with their friends in the cafeteria. Ault, still in her 20s, is a graduate of the Leadership Academy, the city Department of Education's training program for new principals. A native of Brooklyn, she taught previously at the Reisenbach Charter School, which closed in 2004. (Reisenbach was popular with parents and had the support of Schools Chancellor Joel Klein but was shuttered by the state because of low levels of academic achievement and financial mismanagement.)

The other small school in the building is the Academy of Public Relations.

Special education: The school offers "self contained" classes for special needs children only. One class, in which students were learning to tell time, had several over-age children at the time of our visit, including a 15-year-old. In another class, children put together puzzles of Egyptian art in preparation for a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.

Admissions: Students are admitted according to the District 7 "school choice" application. (Clara Hemphill, May 2006, revisit October 2006)





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