J.H.S. 22 Jordan L. Mott
BRONX NY 10456 Map
J.H.S. 22 Jordan L. Mott
MAY 2011 UPDATE: CIS 22 is one of twenty-two schools that will receive Small Improvement Grant funding of up to $2 million to implement the “Restart” intervention model. Each “Restart” school will be matched to a non-profit educational partner organization that will work closely with the principal and school community to implement a targeted improvement plan aimed at strengthening the curriculum, developing academic supports for students, and helping teachers improve practice. These schools will remain open and a new class of students will be admitted next year.
SEPTEMBER 2008 UPDATE: Linda Rosenbury, who was an assistant principal at the school, became principal in September 2008, replacing Shimon Waronker.
JANUARY 2008 REVIEW: Before Principal Shimon Waronker arrived at CIS 22 in 2004, gangs threatened students, and kids dressed in pajamas (because there was no dress code) and smoked and drank in the school's bathrooms, according to an 8th grader, who recalled her 5th grade year. However, on the day of our visit, students wore a uniform of khaki pants and white shirts and spoke politely. "It's not just a safe school, but kids want to come to our school," said Waronker, noting that attendance surpassed 90 percent for the first time in 13 years. Parents show up too: the principal said attendance at PA meetings is good.
The principal has added two guidance counselors, one psychologist, two social workers, three family workers, and one attendance teacher to the school staff. Teachers have attended workshops at Harvard and Columbia University. Students get one-on-one or small group tutoring one to three times a week. They have gone on camping trips, visited museums and toured the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Students even attend etiquette training at a Manhattan restaurant called Mars 2112. There is a new library, new books in the classrooms, two new science labs, smart boards, and laptop computer carts.
At CIS 22, students choose among eight mini-academies, in which a few teachers are responsible for a small group of students. Dual-language programs are offered in both Spanish and French it's the only middle school in the city to offer both. The programs bring native English speakers and native French or Spanish speakers together in one class and split their time learning in both languages. (Spanish speakers may choose dual-language classes, which strive to make students literate in both English and Spanish, or traditional bilingual classes, which serve as a bridge to English-only instruction.)
An academy called PAC (Progress for Academic Change) is for the highest-performing students. In these classes, students were focused, organized, and engaged. Students used a mix of newspaper articles, new textbooks, and independent research to debate and learn with their teacher. Unlike the other academies, which start in 5th grade, PAC starts in 6th grade and students must take an entrance exam, have an interview and supply a teacher recommendation. Current CIS 22 5th graders may apply to PAC, as can students from other schools. The school can accept an additional 30 students outside its zone for the 6th grade. Voice is Power (VIP) is another academy, open to students with a strong work ethic. VIP classes integrate technology and social justice into the curriculum.
The other academies are designed for bilingual classes, for students receiving special education, and for students with behavior problems who aren't classified as special education. When we visited one academy, students were busy chatting, and textbooks and desks were covered in graffiti. Some student essays had as few as two sentences. In one class, students were watching a Harry Potter movie.
At the time of our visit, half the teachers had only one to three years of experience. Although the new teachers seemed motivated, they lacked the expertise to keep all students engaged. A few teachers became frustrated and reverted to shouting. Waronker said teachers received special training to cope with children with behavior problems. "I'm very patient with my teachers. We try to work with them in a positive way," said Waronker.
Test scores are low. The principal explained that many students arrive three years behind grade level, and that the school moves them more than one grade level in one year. Although CIS 22 in on the state's list of failing schools, called Schools Under Registration Review (SURR), the city Department of Education gave it an "A" on its progress report, which tracks student improvement.
Special education: Special needs students are placed into the Stars Academy. Since its creation, attendance of those students went from being the lowest in the school to 97 percent, said Waronker. There are Collaborative Team Teaching classes for both special education and general education students, taught by two teachers, one trained in special education, and self-contained classes for special education students only.
After school: The school offers tutoring and 37 different activities Monday through Thursday until 5:30 p.m. The school also sponsors a summer and Saturday program.
Admissions: The school participates in the District 9 middle school choice process. Because of the need for French-speaking students for its dual language program, French-speaking students outside the district are accepted. (Vanessa Witenko, January 2008)