M.S. 142 John Philip Sousa
BRONX NY 10466 Map
M.S. 142 John Philip Sousa
AUGUST 2011 UPDATE: Beginning in September 2011, M.S. 142 will share a building with two new middle schools, MS 529 and MS 532, that will serve grades 6-8.
MARCH 2008 UPDATE: Casimiro Cibelli, formerly assistant principal at PS 83, became the school's principal in September 2007, replacing Alan Borer, who retired. The new principal is revamping the science lab, and created a music studio with computers, microphones, a drum machine, and other electrical equipment so students can produce professional work.
JANUARY 2004 REVIEW: MS 142 has long felt the strain of trying to educate children from a neighborhood that suffers from many social ills. "Whatever issues that they are dealing with in the community get acted out in the school too," says Principal Floyd Green. To try to open a new chapter, after years of suffering from both poor academic performance and disruptive student behavior, the school is trying its hand at the mini-academy approach, in which a large school is divided into smaller programs with themes. It has introduced three such programs: the Law, Business and Social Justice Academy, the Art and Media Academy, and the Health and Recreation Academy. Each program has its own uniforms and colors, but the academies are still developing.
On the day of our visit it was clear that the more senior teachers had better techniques to control classes than the relative newcomers. One new 6th grade teacher we saw presented an interesting lesson only to have her students ignore her. She found herself trying to talk above the students' clamor and the lesson never got off the ground. A 7th grade teacher tried a different technique, placing students in groups in the front of the room no chairs in the back. Only one student refused to participate, so the teacher maintained more control than the 6th grade teacher we had seen. Still, she had to stop every few minutes to remind students to stop socializing. More focused was an 8th grade class reading from War Comes to Willy Freeman, a suspenseful historical novel about a young black woman's fight against racism. The teacher read to the class from her copy as students followed, and she stopped along the way to ask questions surrounding prediction. This constant rotation between teacher and students kept their attention. Her classroom, which displayed mobiles illustrating concepts about federalism, also made good use of bulletin boards and walls. It was a standout, because most of the bulletin boards in the halls and other classes were poorly maintained and highlighted work that was not especially impressive.
Another teacher had decorated her classroom with glass-encased bookshelves. She had clear command of her classroom, knowing, for example, which students would work best together in groups. During the occasional disruptions, she would grow silent and that was enough to get the class to refocus.
The administration has engaged the help of such community organizations as the Bronx Arts Ensemble, which offers Caribbean drumming, dance, chorus and drama at the school. The school is also working hard with the CEI-PEA the Center for Educational Innovation-Public Education Association that helps to redesigning large public schools into small learning environments and to provide support for staff. (Jacquie Wayans, January 2004)