Banana Kelly High School

Grades 9-12

What’s Special

Music program includes drum line and a capella group

The Downside

Poor attendance and low graduation rate

Our Review

Founded in the 1990s by the community organization from which it takes its name, Banana Kelly High School has long tried to provide a warm and nurturing environment for students in a neighborhood known for gang violence. The building has a new health and dental clinic. A popular music program includes a drumline and an a cappella group.

Despite its reputation as a place where children get lots of help for social and emotional problems, the school has long suffered from poor attendance and low graduation rates.

In 2012, the Department of Education attempted to change the name of the school as part of what is called a turnaround programwhich would have allowed the DOE to remove half the staff and collect a significant amount of federal money. A judge blocked that plan, ordering the DOE to retain staff and keep the school open under its current name.

However, many of the best teachers, assuming that they would be forced to reapply for their jobs under the turnaround plan, had already left by the time the court order came down, school officials said.

In December 2012, there was a shift in leadership with Principal Antonio Arocho resigning after only a year on the job and Charlotte Pope, assistant principal at theHolcombe L. Rucker High School of Community Research, which shares the building, named interim acting principal. According to GothamSchools, Pope "oversaw safety and securityat the school and helped institute a system for observing teachers." Arocho had replaced long-time principal Joshua Laub in 2011. Laub retired after the DOE first threatened to close the school. Supporters said the schools graduation rate was poor because Laub had willingly taken in needy students whom other school rejected, according to an article in the Hunts Point Express. [See photo by Hunts Point Express on this page.] The schools unusual curriculum was the subject of a piece on the PBS News Hour.[Update: In 2016, Charlotte Pope was assigned to the rubber room, after she was caught fabricating teacher observations and inappropriatly using her Department of Education credit card. Asya Johnson was appointed interim acting principal. Johnson was previously principal at the Opportunity Charter School.]

The Banana Kelly community organization, which builds affordable housing, is named for a banana-shaped block in the South Bronx. The high school shares a building with Holcombe L. Rucker High School of Community Research.

Admissions: students are admitted according to the educational option formula designed to ensure a mix of students of different levels of skills. (Clara Hemphill, interviews, July 2012; updated after principal change in December 2012)

About the students

Enrollment
172
Asian
0.6%
Black
34.9%
Hispanic
63.4%
White
0.6%
Other
0.6%
Free or reduced priced lunch
86%
Students with disabilities
36%
English language learners
13%
Male
55%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with the Holcombe L. Rucker School of Community Research
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
59%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
76%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
60%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
39%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
21%
18% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
82%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
34%
56% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
0.5
5.3 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?
58%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
69%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
65%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
42%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
63%
84% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the 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?
62%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
41%
49% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
56%
70% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
45%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
0%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
20%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
7%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
3%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
36%
63% 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%
0% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
44%
65% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
62%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
100%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
92%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
96%
89% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
21%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Banana Kelly High School
Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.
Program Description

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Softball

Coed PSAL teams

Stunt

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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