The Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters

Grades 6-12
Staff Pick
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Location

339 Morris Avenue
Bronx NY 10451
Mott Haven (District 7)
Trains: 2 to 149th St-Grand Concourse ; 4, 5 to 138th St - Grand Concourse ; 6 to 138th St-3rd Ave ; 6 to 3rd Ave - 138th St
Buses: Bx1, Bx13, Bx15, Bx19, Bx2, Bx21, Bx32, Bx33, Bx41, Bx41-SBS

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What’s Special

Chance to travel overseas, terrific college office

The Downside

Awkwardly shared building

Our Review

JANUARY 2015 UPDATE: Jeffrey Garrett, the school's third principal in five years, left in August 2014 to work for the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. Brandon Cardet-Hernandez, who took over as principal in September 2014, is a former special education teacher and director of strategic initiatives at New York City's Department of Education. Cardet-Hernandez also co-foundedProject Nathaniel, a non-profit organization that supports a free, co-ed elementary school in Haiti.

OCTOBER 2013 REVIEW: At the Bronx Academy of Letters, students have a chance to visit foreign countries, study in California or New Hampshire, and take part in seminars with a professional writercalled a writer in residence. Students plant vegetables in a garden and sell them at a farm stand.

They complete imaginative projects on a wide range of topics such as obesity, teen suicide, incarceration rates, tornados or world religions. The projects, called exhibitions, culminate in oral presentations to a panel of adults each spring.

It helps us practice speaking in front of judges, a senior girl said.

Founded as a high school in 2003, the school added middle school grades in 2007 and now serves children in grades 6 to 12.

The school has an advisory board which raises money for a wide range of enrichment activities. Students have gone to Durban and Capetown, South Africa, and Bogota, Colombia, for several weeks. Some have attended summer school at Philip Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH, a private boarding school. Others have taken summer courses at the University of California at Berkeley.

The focus of the curriculum is writing: 9th graders have two English classesone in literature and one in writingto make sure that they have a good foundation. A writer-in-residence works at the school part-time and leads a seminar for students. The school also offers advanced math and science classes, including AP Calculus and AP Environmental Science.

The school has a high graduation rate and a good record sending students to college. It has a full-time college counselor. About half the graduates go to two-year colleges, and half go to four-year-colleges, said college counselor Kate Irving. Top students have been admitted to Colby College, University of Rochester, and Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute.

Housed in the former IS 183 building, Bronx Academy of Letters has undergone turmoil in recent years. The founding principal, Joan Sullivan, left mid-year in 2009 and was replaced by assistant principal Anna Hall. Hall left in 2012 to take a job at StudentsFirstNY, the states spinoff of Michelle Rhees national education advocacy group. She was replaced by Jeffrey Garrett, a former teacher at the school and graduate of the Harvard School of Education.

The disruption caused by change in principals was compounded by a battle over space with a charter school, Success Academy Bronx 1, which moved into the building in 2011.

The middle school classrooms of Bronx Academy of Letters were forced to move to make way for Success Academy. The middle school classrooms had been located directly above the high school. Although the layout in the cinder block building was awkward, the classrooms were at least next to each other and the school had a sense of its own space within the larger building.

When the charter school moved in, the middle school classrooms of Bronx Academy of Letters were moved the other side of the building, which is also shared with a District 75 school for disabled children and another middle school, MS 203 (which is closing because of poor performance). The fact that the middle school and high school classrooms are no longer connected has made the awkward layout of the building even more awkward, Garrett said.

There was a lot of parent anger and outrage, he said.

Special education: The school has a large range of special education services, including counseling, speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, self-contained classes and team-teaching classes.

Admissions: District 7 choice for middle school. Limited unscreened for high school. About half the 8th graders stay on for high school. (Clara Hemphill, October 2013; updated by Laura Zingmond, January 2015)

About the students

Enrollment
592
Asian
0.7%
Black
30.9%
Hispanic
65.0%
White
3.0%
Other
0.3%
Free or reduced priced lunch
90%
Students with disabilities
30%
English language learners
13%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with Success Academy Bronx 1 Charter and a District 75 program, PS 168
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
90%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
88%
90% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
35%
27% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
65%
74% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
29%
22% 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?
35%
48% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
1.9
5.8 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
74%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
90%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
70%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
49%
70% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
80%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
88%
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?
5%
30% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
11%
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 and Music

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
66%
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?
62%
68% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Living Environment
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
8%
38% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
80%
87% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
The Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
53%
83% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
0%
13% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
7%
4% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
27%
38% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
16%
48% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
61%
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 former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
0%
7% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
47%
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
1.76
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
1.8
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.76
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.0
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
1.99
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.06
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
56%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
83%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
83%
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?
33%
67% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Bronx Academy of Letters
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP Spanish, AP US Government and Politics

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Basketball

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball

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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