South Bronx Preparatory: A College Board School

Grades 6-12
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What’s Special

A small, supportive school; special ed students learn to take charge of disabilities in order to progress academically

The Downside

Low parent engagement, kids not exposed to college prep until 11th grade

Our Review

South Bronx Preparatory: A College Board School, founded in 2004 to replace the unruly junior high school MS 149, has managed to change both behavior and expectations for students in its community.

Located a short walk from the high traffic shopping Hub, South Bronx Prep provides refuge in a historically depressed and socially stressed neighborhood. The school shares a building with MS 223, inhabiting the first floor and part of the second. Both principals describe their working relationship as excellent and administrators commonly share resources.

South Bronx Prep provides a supportive environment for students, most of whom come from three nearby housing projects. Many students enter needing special services and are performing below grade level. The schools efforts with these children are particularly noteworthy. On the day of our visit a number of students introduced themselves and their paraprofessionals (classroom aides) without embarrassment. We teach them to embrace who they are right now and work as hard as they can. No shame, says Principal Ellen Flanagan. With support and encouragement, most middle school self-contained students transition to integrated classes by 9th grade.

The school focuses on social-emotional growth first, followed by academics. Many times during our visit, Flanagan and other staffers stopped students, and in a caring tone, inquired about their mood or followed up on a previous issue. Students stay with the same advisory teacher all four years of high school. Advisors know their students well, offering support, challenging them when necessary and sometimes just making a helpful phone call to remind a student to bring in his gym shorts. One student says, They dont let you drown here. They dont hold your hand all the way, but [they] help you do what you never thought you could do.

In all classes there are anywhere from two to three adults and class size is reduced. Teachers separate students into groups based on learning styles and encourage children to depend on each other as they learn. On the day of our visit, a biology class experimented to understand the difference between how infectious and non-infectious diseases are spread, dipping ph strips into cups of water that looked identical to the eye. In English language arts, students were reading Hamlet, but had an original version and a translated version. Their task was to put the text into their own words to show comprehension. In one 9th-grade integrated algebra class, a student confessed that he had trouble with radicals, but with support from the group, he was able to grasp the concept.

The consistent limitation we saw across all subject areas was the students inability to use expressive language. Whether a student was trying to explain why a math problem was solved correctly or to support an idea she had just read about, language was limited. Principal Flanagan says that getting kids to articulate their thoughts in words is a constant struggle given the school's large English language learner and special needs population. To help, the school encourages teachers to stay with a unit until the children have fully digested the material.

The high school offers advanced placement courses in English, biology, Spanish literature and psychology. Students can take up to two advanced placement courses, although the percentage of students passing the AP exam is very low. The school is affiliated with the College Board which provides trips to colleges, but the 6-12 school doesnt provide direct college contact and preparation until spring of 11th grade. The teaching staff and a college advisor are on hand to help guide students through the process, but the idea is to hold a student's hand until he can navigate the system himself and develop the independent skills he will need as a college student.

Outside of academics, there are boys and girls basketball teams, but no other team sports. Students also participate in test readiness classes, periodic drama performances, fitness in a state-of-the-art workout room and yoga classes. Students also attend Club Getaway, where they spend two to three days off-campus doing trust exercises, to help build school spirit and unity. Mount Sinai runs a mental health clinic in the building.

College: Most students are the first in their families considering college. Parents cant assist them, and historically the school has had low parental involvement. The College Board mission is to take minorities that wouldn't have access to college and open up awareness and opportunity. College acceptances are mostly to CUNY and SUNY schools but also include private schools like Emmanuel College in Boston and Rutgers University.

Special education: There are integrated co-teaching classes and self-contained classes in the middle school. Over twenty percent of the population receives special education services. The principal said she is proud of the large number of special needs students who passed the Regents exams. About 6 percent of the students are English language learners and perform better than average school on ELA exam.

Admissions: Priority to District 7 students for middle school, and a large percentage stay on for high school. For high school, priority to continuing 8th-graders, then to students who attend an information session, then to Bronx residents, then New York City residents.(Jacquie Wayans, February 2014)

About the students

Enrollment
657
Asian
1.8%
Black
23.3%
Hispanic
72.2%
White
1.7%
Other
1.1%
Free or reduced priced lunch
96%
Students with disabilities
25%
English language learners
6%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with MS/HS 223
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
84%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
93%
90% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
21%
27% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
87%
74% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
16%
22% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
89%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
61%
48% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
9.0
5.8 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
87%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
93%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
87%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
62%
70% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
96%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
91%
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?
16%
30% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
22%
35% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 1 dedicated space for Visual arts
This school has 1 licensed arts teacher in Music

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
80%
68% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
61%
52% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
82%
68% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
0%
38% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
83%
87% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
South Bronx Preparatory: A College Board School
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
94%
83% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
10%
13% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
3%
4% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
28%
38% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
35%
48% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
71%
71% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
3%
4% Citywide Average
How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
8%
7% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
90%
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
2.21
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.18
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
2.0
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.28
2.2 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
78%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
80%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
84%
89% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
83%
87% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
78%
67% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

South Bronx Preparatory: A College Board School
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English, AP Psychology, AP US Government and Politics

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Outdoor Track, Soccer

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Handball, Outdoor Track, Softball, Table Tennis, 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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