Academy of Public Relations

Grades 6-8

What’s Special

Dynamic principal who grew up in the neighborhood

The Downside

Changing the culture of a building is hard work

Our Review

The school day at the Academy of Public Relations begins with a "press briefing," the name Principal Amy Andino gives to the morning meeting in the auditorium, attended by the whole school. She offers announcements, reads aloud from a book (Small Steps, the sequel to Louis Sachar's Holes, about a boy unjustly sent to a juvenile detention center), and asks students questions about the text. But the most popular event is the public recognition she gives to students or classes for their good work: "To 601, for following directions! To 602 for helping with clean up!" The children, dressed in white shirts and black pants, applaud and bask in the praise.

Opened in fall 2005, the Academy of Public Relations is one of two small schools housed in the building for one of the city's most unruly middle schools, IS 184, which is being closed because of poor performance. Andino, 32, is not quite sure who thought of the name of the school. "We're not teaching them to sell Pepsi Cola here," she said. "We're selling social awareness." For her, public speaking not PR is the key to children's success and one of her focuses is to encourage students to speak up in class.

Andino, who grew up just a few blocks away, still lives in the neighborhood. "I bump into parents in the supermarket," she said. She has a boundless optimism and a seriousness of purpose that's infectious. Children stop by her office to chat, and Andino says she is trying to give them a "different idea of what a principal can be. "I jump double Dutch with them at lunch," she said. In return, students warn her of potential incidents at the school. "So and so tells me 'they are going to jump me after school,'" she said. "Because of that relationship, we're able to nip [problems] in the bud."

Most students begin 6th grade with very weak academic skills, with many reading at a 2nd or 3rd grade level. The school has ordered easy-to-read books geared toward their interests such as "graphic" mysteries (similar to comic books) about the Loch Ness monster or biographies of baseball great Jackie Robinson. In an English class I visited, students wrote Haiku poems. In a science class, kids discussed air quality and the role of the Environmental Protection Agency. And in a math class taught in Spanish students worked on division problems such as 694 divided by 9. Kids seemed attentive and engaged, with none of the far-away stares or alienated slumping typical of city middle schools. Unfortunately, students from another school could be heard yelling in the halls. "That's the hard part of sharing the building," Andino said.

The other small school in the building is the South Bronx Academy of Applied Media.

Special education:The school has one "self-contained" class for special needs students.

After school:Tutoring is available with a ratio of one teacher for every three students.

Admissions: Students are admitted according to the "school choice" process for District 7. (Clara Hemphill, May 2006)

About the students

Enrollment
256
Asian
0.0%
Black
20.7%
Hispanic
77.3%
White
1.6%
Other
0.4%
Free or reduced priced lunch
79%
Students with disabilities
29%
English language learners
29%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares a building with three other schools
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
99%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
93%
93% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
25%
20% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
38%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
16%
28% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
92%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
55%
43% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
11.0
6.0 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
46%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
82%
88% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
56%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
39%
72% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
42%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
61%
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?
9%
27% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
13%
30% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 6 dedicated spaces for Dance, Music, Theater, Visual arts, an Auditorium, and a Film Studio
This school has 4 licensed arts teachers in Theater (part-time), Visual arts (part-time), Dance, and Music

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
74%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
53%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
77%
72% 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?
14%
26% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
75%
84% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Mott Haven Village Preparatory HS, H.E.R.O. High (Health, Education, and Research Occupations HS), and M.S. 223 The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology
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?
1%
5% Citywide Average
How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
13%
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
1.8
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
1.84
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.89
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.1
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
1.94
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.32
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
71%
67% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
89%
88% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
89%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
85%
90% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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