Esperanza Preparatory Academy

Grades 6-12

What’s Special

Small school offers dual language program and welcomes special education students; expanding to include high school grades

The Downside

Many new, untried teachers; dim lighting and low ceilings in some classrooms.

Our Review

Tiny Esperanza Preparatory Academy, founded in 2008, has a dual language program and welcomes special needs students. At Esperanza ("hope" in Spanish), college and university pennants hang on walls, and staff says the school mission is to make sure that students know that college is an option. In September 2012, the school expanded, growing a grade per year beginning with 9th grade to become a 6-12. The high school focuses on science, math and Spanish language proficiency.Attendance is high.

Esperanza Prep is one of several schools in the Tito Puente Educational Complex in Spanish Harlem. Located on a quiet block, it is surrounded by a large park. Esperanza classes are on the bottom floor; half of the classrooms have plenty of sunlight while the other half are below ground and have no natural light and low ceilings. The school has its own library and shares a cafeteria, gym, and auditorium withGlobal Neighborhood SchoolandTAG Young Scholars, a citywide school for gifted students.

Students wear a white collared shirt with the school emblem, khaki pants, black shoes, and belt. They earn "kudos" or praise, for acts displaying P.R.I.D.E.: Perseverance, Responsibility, Integrity, Discipline, and Enthusiasm. High school students are required to complete 50 hours of community service per semester. In the fall of 2013, Principal Alexandra Estrella left and was replaced by Wendy Mercedes, formerly a 6th- and 7th-grade English teacher at the school.

School begins when students arrive for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Each student is assigned a news article to read, and must answer comprehension questions as part of the social studies curriculum. All students participate in Socratic circles, small-group discussion forums designed to improve their speaking skills.Teachers meet frequently with one another and collaborate on lessons. They are mostly young and some lack experience in classroom management. There were no major disruptions, although some students talked amongst themselves during class time or called out. Test scores remain low.

Esperanza offers a dual language program with students receiving equal amounts of Spanish and English instruction daily. Native Spanish-speakers go to "Native Language Arts" and English speakers go to Spanish as a foreign language class. One-third of the students are English Language Learners (ELLs).Students practice Drop Everything and Read as part of a daily D.E.A.R. program. Esperanza offers instrumental and vocal music, art, and Spanish, for native and non-native speakers and has a special focus on technology.

Thanks to a $250,000 grant from Hewlett Packard, classrooms have SMART boards and carts of laptop computers. Students create their own wikis and write their own blogs, integrating English with other subjects. The Carmel Hill Fund provides accelerated reading and math programs and has donated 1,600 books to the school library. Students are bused to Randalls Island to play rugby and soccer once a week.

After school academic programs are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays. The school has a debate team, drama club, science club, a journalism club, a computer class, and a travelers club where students learn about cultures and nations around the world. Esperanza has rugby and track and field teams with matches held at Columbia University's Baker Fields.

Special education: Special education is a strength at Esperanza Prep where 40 percent of students have Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and outperformed general education students on standardized tests in 2009, the principal said. There is one self-contained class on each grade and four team-teaching (ICT) classes across the grades. Students are transitioned from self-contained classes to ICT classes whenever possible she said. The school offers physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, counselors, and a social worker.

Admissions: District 4. Priority given to students who attend information sessions. Priority to continuing 8th graders for the high school and then to Manhattan residents. (Seth Lemerman, November 2009; update from interviews at the new high school fair, Lydie Raschka, March 2012)

About the students

Enrollment
586
Asian
1.7%
Black
10.9%
Hispanic
85.7%
White
1.7%
Other
0.0%
Free or reduced priced lunch
82%
Students with disabilities
25%
English language learners
30%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with TAG Young Scholars
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
75%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
90%
90% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
37%
27% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
83%
74% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
24%
22% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
86%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
45%
48% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
1.1
5.8 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
100%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
98%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
94%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
53%
70% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
86%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
100%
83% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Test scores

How many students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
12%
30% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
17%
35% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 3 dedicated spaces for Dance, Visual arts, and an Auditorium
This school has 2 licensed arts teachers in Dance (part-time), and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
71%
68% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
47%
52% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
67%
68% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Algebra I, Living Environment
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
64%
38% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
89%
87% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Esperanza Preparatory Academy
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
71%
83% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
12%
38% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
30%
48% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

This school offers Dual Language classes in Spanish.
How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
15%
7% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
48%
65% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
Average math score for ICT students
1.77
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
1.99
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.94
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.11
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.13
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.18
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
81%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
95%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
97%
89% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
97%
87% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
43%
67% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Esperanza Preparatory Academy
Admissions Method: Screened: Language
Program Description

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English, AP Spanish, AP Studio Art, AP US History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Soccer

Girls PSAL teams

Softball, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on the NYCDOE’s School Finder
NYC Department of Education: School Finder

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