Hostos-Lincoln Academy of Science
BRONX NY 10455 Map
Hostos-Lincoln Academy of Science
Hostos-Lincoln Academy of Science has long been a refuge for high-achievers from the South Bronx who are aiming for college. Just about everyone graduates with some college credit and some even graduate with an associate (two-year) degree from Hostos Community College.
The school, which serves children in grades 6-12, was originally housed on the college campus. Unfortunately, as enrollments at the college boomed, Hostos-Lincoln was forced to find new space. It is now housed in JHS 162, a middle school about one-mile away.
Most students still take classes at the community college, however, and some seniors take nearly all their academic classes there. Students return to the academy for afternoon classes as well as for tutoring, sports, music, science team, and the running club.
The move from the college campus to the middle school building has been tough. Students may no longer use the big college gym and cafeteria, and they cannot stay as late at JHS 162 as they could at the college. According to a Daily News article, police often mistake students for truants during their walk to the college. (On the plus side, JHS 162 has better windows and wider hallways.)
“The dynamic changed significantly,” said Principal Nicholas Paarlberg. “It’s harder to maintain a sense of community, a family-environment and smaller class size.”
The school is part of the Early College Initiative, a project of the City University of New York designed to better prepare low-income children for college by giving them more demanding course work beginning in middle school.
Paarlberg, a graduate of Oberlin College who taught in private schools, aims to give his students extras that are often missing in public schools. In addition to the basics, students are exposed to poetry, photography, drama and dance. Teacher John Blodgett oversees an award-winning literary magazine, in which students write movingly about teen pregnancy, addicted mothers and absent fathers. The school also has an active gay-straight alliance.
Teachers do all they can to help students through academic and social hardships. Two social workers are on hand to lend emotional support. Parents are also a priority. “For our students, the parent-teacher connection is everything,” said Paarlberg.
Paarlberg gives his staff the freedom to teach as they think best, which many teachers appreciate. However, a significant number said they would like more feedback on their teaching and a stronger managerial hand, according to the 2012 Learning Environment Survey. Several students told Insideschools they were disappointed that the courses in “health professions” promised in the high school directory did not materialize. Nonetheless, Hostos-Lincoln offers lots of emotional support and an excellent record of preparing students for college.
Special education: The school offers self-contained as well as team-teaching classes.
College: The college advisor runs seminar classes with seniors and meets with them one-on-one. Forty percent of graduates attend CUNY schools and sixty percent attend SUNY’s and privates such as NYU, Union, Amherst and Syracuse. Twenty-five percent attend two-year colleges and 75 percent attend four-year colleges. The school boasts an “extensive college counseling program. Graduates have been admitted to top-ranked schools including U. Penn., Columbia, NYU, Barnard, Lehigh, and Colgate, Paarlburg said.
Admissions: Screened. Students are ranked based on their final report card grades from the prior school year, as well as reading and math standardized test scores. Attendance and punctuality are considered. About 75 students are admitted to the middle school and 35-45 spots open up in the high school. Students are asked to write about their strengths and weaknesses and what they need to do to succeed. (Lydie Raschka, October 2012)