J.H.S. 145 Arturo Toscanini
BRONX NY 10456 Map
J.H.S. 145 Arturo Toscanini
In 2004, CIS 145, a large school with a history of low achievement, was partitioned into three smaller schools. The result was a middle school complex housing a down-sized CIS 145 along with the Urban Science Academy and the New Millennium Business Academy Middle School.
The city Department of Education chose to handle the restructuring abruptly, assigning two thirds of the returning students, including 8th graders with only one year left in the building, to one of the two other schools. "It was chaos for a while," said Robert Hannibal, who has been principal of CIS 145 since 2001. "Many parents felt they weren't informed adequately about the transition." According to an education department official who spoke with Insideschools, students were surveyed as to their preferred school assignment the year before the restructuring, but not everyone got their first choice.
Since the restructuring, CIS 145 seems to be doing better, although only 30 percent of the students met standards on city and New York State standardized tests in English in 2005. That was a significant jump from the 19 percent figure in 2004, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. The school held on not only to its principal, but its most experienced faculty members and currently operates at less than one third of its former size. Recent high notes include the acceptance of several 8th graders into the highly competitive specialized high schools and the receipt by some students of scholarships to private schools. In June 2006, a team of students took first place in the Thurgood Marshall Junior Mock Trial competition held at the Bronx County State Supreme Court --beating out St. Ignatius Loyola, a private school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
For most of the day at CIS 145, students in all grades stay put in their classrooms, while the teachers travel to them for instruction in the core subjects. Every grade has one accelerated class, and band is offered as an enrichment activity for high achieving students. Extra teachers work in the classrooms to help with the many at-risk students in the school. All students participate in art and Read 180, a technology-driven program to improve reading. Students visit the computer lab to work independently or in small groups on literacy activities tailored to their skill level.
Each school in the complex occupies its own floor and shares the common facilities: cafeteria, auditorium, gymnasium, and outdoor yard. Hallways are clean, calm, and nicely decorated with student art and writing. CIS 145's own library was renovated with money donated by music industry mogul, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs. Students wear uniforms of light blue tops and navy bottoms. There are no metal detectors.
Special education: There are "self-contained" classes, only for children with special needs. The school also has "collaborative team teaching" (CTT) classes, where two teachers work in the same classroom with both general education students and those needing special services.
After school: The Children's Aid Society provides academic and recreational programs for students in all three schools. (Laura Zingmond, May 2006)