M.S. 223 The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology

Grades 6-12
Staff Pick
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Zone for the 2017-2018 school year. Call school to confirm.

What’s Special

Computers for all, college trips, research projects

The Downside

Recruiting teachers is a challenge

Our Review

The Laboratory School for Finance and Technology, MS/HS 223, has a dynamic administration, energetic teachers, lively kids, and lots of research projects and class trips. Each teen is assigned a computer for use at home and schooland the whole family gets training in its use.

Students tackle multi-step research papers and take yearly overnight trips that combine college visits and tours of historic sites. The school has a strong English and Spanish dual language program.

The academic offerings are smart. For example, kids tend to stick with math throughout their high school years because there are several pathways for all skill levels. All students attend five technology classes per week, where they study coding, web design, robotics and more. They visit Google offices, Buzzfeed and the Maker Fair, to name a few field trips.

There are coaches in every academic subject to help teachers design effective lessons. Children study about 400 extra hours per year. They get extra help in reading in one of three programs geared towards low, middle and high abilities. Every class has at least two adults. Keeping that student-teacher ration small is really important to us, said assistant principal Ashley Downs.

Founding principal Ramon Gonzalez, who grew up in Harlem, attended a gifted and talented program as a kid and went on to win a scholarship to Cornell University. He is determined to offer the children of the South Bronx the same educational opportunities that allowed him to rise from poverty.

Opened with a 6th grade in 2003, the school expanded to include high school grades in 2013 in hopes of offering continuity and better preparation for college.

In 2015 the school joined a consortium of New York State schools[http://performanceassessment.org/index.html] that does not require Regents exams, except in English. Instead, children take on reading and writing projects called Performance Based Assessment Tasks (PBATs), which are like mini dissertations, the principal said. Students must complete four of these tasks in the 12th grade to graduate, in English, math, social studies and science.

Middle school children do so-called prePBATs to get used to the reading, writing and speaking skills needed for high school tasks. We saw 7th graders consult notes they had compiled from reading articles together in class. As she typed up her notes, a child new to prePBATs, said, I already did the outline and now Im putting it in paragraph form. Its more work, but its easier. Ninth graders design their own experiments: one group visited Trinity Church cemetery in lower Manhattan to measure the effects of acid rain on tombstones.

Middle school children stay until 4:45 pm for various activities and academics. Two hundred attend a free summer program. High school students can make up credits after school, participate in sports or join one of the schools six bands. About one-fourth of the eighty 12th graders work with a teacher to prepare for the Advanced Placement computer science exam after school.

Recruiting teachers can be a challenge. Parking is scarce and a consortium school requires teachers to work heavily in teams, which has caused pushback among some staff, the principal said. Still, close to a dozen former teachers have gone on to become principals elsewhere, which makes Gonzalez proud. Thats the way we get to influence the system, he said.

In addition to typical sports, children can try out unusual ones such as squash, or Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art combining dance and acrobatics. We want to provide kids with as many experiences as possible so they can compete, Gonzalez said.

The college office is robust, and there are eight guidance counselors on staff, one for every grade. The school, with a first graduating class in 2017, is still new, so it is not well known among college recruiters, a staffer said.

The building is shared with South Bronx Prep.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Special education teachers receive extra training in one subject area, such as science, so they can be full academic co-teachers.

ADMISSIONS: District 7 choice for middle school, by lottery. About 700 apply for 45 seats; roughly 300 apply for 22 seats in the Spanish dual language program, which is screened. More than half the 8th graders continue in the high school. In high school, the dual language program screens for Spanish proficiency, otherwise, it is limited unscreened with priority to those who show interest at a fair or open house. (Lydie Raschka, March 2017)

About the students

Enrollment
697
Asian
0.4%
Black
18.4%
Hispanic
80.2%
White
0.7%
Other
0.3%
Free or reduced priced lunch
97%
Students with disabilities
21%
English language learners
8%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with South Bronx Prep
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
97%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
94%
90% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
18%
27% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
72%
74% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
18%
22% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
91%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
53%
48% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
13.0
5.8 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
73%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
88%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
64%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
44%
70% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
78%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
78%
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?
40%
30% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
43%
35% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 1 dedicated space for an Auditorium
This school has 1 licensed arts teacher in Visual arts (part-time)

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
81%
68% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
56%
52% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
78%
68% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Algebra I
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
46%
38% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
95%
87% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
M.S. 223 The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

Are students prepared for college?

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?
19%
7% 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
1.72
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.19
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.82
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.29
2.2 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
66%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
90%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
90%
89% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
93%
87% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Dual Language Spanish Program
Admissions Method: Screened: Language
Program Description

The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, 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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