J.H.S. 52 Inwood

Grades 6-8
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What’s Special

A marching band, robotics, GE partnership

The Downside

New immigrants enter 6th grade with very low skills

Our Review

A "little gem" of a middle school on the northern tip of Manhattan, IS 52 offers a "well-rounded" program that includes solid academics, sports and even a marching band, according to Miriam Aristy-Farer, a member of the District 6 Community Education Council. Students choose between two themed academies: the School of Environmental and Applied Science (SEAS) or Visual and Performing Arts (VPA).

The school serves a large number of new immigrants, including many who have had very weak preparation in elementary school. Many teachers give up their breaks to help students outside of class time. An 8th-grader said she often seeks help during lunch: "It's better," she said. "It's kind of like tutoring if you don't understand."

Instead of using textbooks with scripted lessons, teachers have created their own units with thoughtful attention to the needs of their many Spanish-speaking students. In 6th grade, reading and writing are taught separately to boost skills; and in 7th grade, classes are split in half to provide more individualized attention. "We found this is the transitional year," said Principal Savador Fernandez. "They need more nurturing."

Social studies and English teachers plan lessons together so students can make thematic connections and become familiar with complex vocabulary. During the War Unit in social studies, for example, we saw students examine propaganda posters, and a staff member said students hear about propaganda again when they read George Orwell's Animal Farm in English class.

In the science program, children plant and maintain trees in the community, and do hands-on experiments every week in class. On our visit, we saw groups working together to figure out the density of Coke versus Diet Coke. Teachers are beginning to incorporate more math into their science classes after several years of work aligning lessons with Common Core state standards.Some teachers took a course at the Kennedy Science Center in Florida as part of a program sponsored by General Electric to strengthen science instruction.

Classes are orderly and some are more traditional, with the teacher up front giving instruction. Others, particularly the bilingual and science classes we saw, incorporate more group work and lots of visual and written aids on the walls and in plastic sleeves on the tables.

Although the school's test scores are low, parents and teachers report high levels of satisfaction, according to annual surveys. Parents participate in English classes, Zumba, knitting, yoga and academic-related workshops. As of our visit, Principal Salvador Fernandez was set to retire in 2014. His replacement Lupe Leon is a former IS 52 student, paraprofessional, teacher, dean and administrator. A Department of Education Quality Review called the school "well-developed," its highest ranking.

Once an overcrowded school with an enrollment of about 1,300 pupils, the school now serves fewer than 600. As rents in the neighborhood have skyrocketed in recent years, many families with children have moved to the Bronx; the neighborhood's new residents have fewer children.

The building is shared with the High School for Excellence and Innovation, which has a separate entrance. As of our visit,Inwood Early College for Health and Information Technologies was approved to occupy the fourth floor beginning in Fall 2014. IS 52 staff are braced for rescheduling lunch periods, scaling down to one science lab, and sharing the gym, bathrooms and auditorium with additional students.

Graduates attend Manhattan Village, Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematicsand theUrban Assembly School for the Performing Arts, among others. A few students earn spots at highly competitive schools like Beacon or LaGuardia. Teachers use their free time to tutor promising candidates for the specialized high school exam.

Special education: IS 52 offers students every possible support, including push-in and pull-out help for English language learners and students with special needs, bilingual and team-taught classes on each grade level, and self-contained classes with only twelve students and two teachers.

Admissions:Neighborhood school. (Lydie Raschka, March 2014)

About the students

Enrollment
332
Asian
0.3%
Black
4.2%
Hispanic
93.1%
White
1.5%
Other
0.9%
Free or reduced priced lunch
85%
Students with disabilities
19%
English language learners
42%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with the Inwood Early College for Health & Information Technologies and the HS for Excellence and Innovation
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
71%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
94%
93% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
18%
20% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
97%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
31%
28% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
80%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
27%
43% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
1.9
6.0 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
90%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
90%
88% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
90%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
88%
72% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
90%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
94%
86% 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%
27% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
20%
30% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

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

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
55%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
51%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
59%
72% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
76%
26% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
86%
84% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
HS for Law and Public Service, The College Academy, and HS of Hospitality Management
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

This school offers Transitional Bilingual Education in Spanish.
How many English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
2%
5% Citywide Average
How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
12%
14% 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
1.95
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
1.97
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.87
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.26
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
1.86
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.13
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
64%
67% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
96%
88% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
96%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
96%
90% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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