The Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science

1595 BATHGATE AVENUE
BRONX NY 10457 Map
Phone: (718) 466-7800
Website: Click here
Admissions: Priority to Bronx residents.
unzoned
Noteworthy
Noteworthy Special Education
Principal: David Krulwich
Neighborhood: South Bronx
District: 9
Grade range: 06 thru 12
Parent coordinator: YELENA RAMIREZ

What's special:

High expectations and lots of support.

The downside:

Lack of adequate gym space.

Middle School Stats

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High School Stats

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Our review

At the Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science, teachers have high expectations but they also offer an unusual level of support—making home visits to 6th graders before the school year begins, or sending an early-morning text message to a child who struggles with attendance.

Almost all students graduate on time, and a few have been admitted to highly selective colleges like Cornell and Brown—a particularly impressive accomplishment given that the school doesn't screen students for abiliity and most come from one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country.

Most students start in 6th grade and continue through high school. The school accepts children with a wide range of academic abilities. “If we do it right, within seven years we can get them to college,” said Principal David Krulwich.

The young staff is less experienced than at other schools, but team leaders are skilled educators who both teach and serve as mentors to newer teachers. “We grow teachers,” said Krulwich. “The reality is, in the South Bronx, there are not a lot of master teachers looking for a job.”

In advisory groups, students talk about feelings, write in journals and play games. Teachers promote good work habits, like how to take notes and organize your binder. Parents meet with their child’s advisor three times a year for in-depth conferences instead of the brief rotation of parent-teacher meetings that happen at most schools. These longer conferences draw an excellent turnout of around 95 percent of parents.

Some classes connect mathematics to the real world--such as Math and Astronomy and Math and Architecture. Students who excel have accelerated classes that prepare them for Advanced Placement Calculus in the 12th grade. Other offerings include A.P. Biology and A.P. Physics. Formal lessons are short, giving students time to practice their skills in class with teacher guidance.

In 6th and 7th grade, classes mix children of different abilities. Starting in 8th grade, struggling students are placed with the strongest teachers in smaller groups. In one class, we watched the teacher explain a graphing activity, after which a girl in the back row did the work perfectly, explaining it step-by-step to a visitor. “Teachers are nice and young and inspiring,” said 8th grader Ishmael.

While the school is strict and consistent, it is not rigid. “It’s friendly,” said 7th grader Janequa. Like anywhere, some teens have significant challenges. The troubled ones tend to linger too long in the hallway between classes, but the staff keeps after them in a calm, persistent manner.

A few students have internships at the American Museum of Natural History, take classes at Lehman College for Latina girls, and take part in an interschool math tournament, called Pi 5. AMS is a pilot for NYC Summer Quest, aimed at students who scored 2 on the State’s annual exam, in which students participate in music, drama, sports, reading and more, during full, 8-hour days. Students make multiple overnight trips to Black Rock Forest to study science and to camp outdoors.

AMS shares the building with Validus Prep Academy and Bronx Mott Hall. Facilities are somewhat limited. One class is held in a former resource room and students run laps in a hallway outside the divided gym. In addition to campus-wide PSAL sports, AMS offers music, art and drama.

Special education: To manage an increase in students with special needs, AMS has added an extra guidance counselor, in addition to the licensed special education teacher on each grade. Children who need special help are often placed in smaller classes with strong teachers, rather than in larger team-taught classes.

College: Top students attend colleges like Cornell, Brown and NYU. A large block of graduates attends the entire range of SUNYs as well as two-and four-year CUNYs. Over half attend four-year colleges. The college office stays in touch with alumni to an unusual degree via email, Facebook and phone.

Admissions: Limited unscreened: gives priority to students who demonstrate an interest in the school by attending a fair or information session or open house. (Lydie Raschka, October 2012)

 

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