Comprehensive Model School Project M.S. 327
Bronx NY 10452
Lots of support, lifeguard training and swimming pool
Many more applicants than seats
MS/HS 327, the Comprehensive Model School Project, is a well-run school in a beautiful building that offers solid academics and lots of extra support for students. The school day is an hour longer than usual, children spend extra time in reading and math lessons and teachers pitch in on Saturdays to provide extra help. Teachers aim to prepare children of all skills for college-level work: We’re not “sending anyone out there to fail,” said Principal Alixandre Ricci.
The tone is respectful, genuine and warm. Students greet their young principal in cheery voices and hug well-loved aides. They enjoy plenty of elbow room as they reach into shiny lockers that line wide, colorful hallways.
The Comprehensive Model School Project, opened as a middle school in 2003, expanded to high school in 2012 when it moved to the New Settlement Community Campus, a modern community center with a swimming pool, dance studio and rooftop garden. The building also houses PS 555 Mount Eden Children's Academy and a medical clinic for students run by Montefiore Hospital.
Teachers strive to ensure that all students, from struggling learners to high achievers, stay engaged and on track. Middle school students have three periods of English a day: reading, writing and independent reading. Teachers often go over skills the first and last five minutes of class time, such as the type of subject and predicate exercises they will see on the SAT. Struggling children retake classes in small groups if they fail the first time; on our visit we saw six children in the library reviewing material to catch up on English credits.
Students take math and science every year. By 8th grade all students take high school level living environment and algebra. High achievers may take honors courses in select grades and move on to Advanced Placement courses in European history, biology and English.
Ricci began her career in 2006 as an English teacher at MS/HS 327. She was an assistant principal until 2015, when the founding principal, Manuel Ramirez, left to become superintendent of District 6. One hundred percent of the staff reported Ricci was an effective manager on school surveys in her second year.
Ricci likes the fact that the school spans from 6th through 12th grade, which allows teachers to draw on a longer shared history when a child is going through a rough patch. The kids “don’t want to disappoint you,” she said. To help kids get to know each other, different ages eat together during the school’s three lunch periods, and older children work with younger ones as volunteers or paid helpers in the building.
The school has a partnership with Lehman College, an easy ride on the Number 4 subway outside the front door. Some students earn 12 to 14 free college credits by the time they leave high school.
With its focus on academics, MS/HS 327 has few electives and minimal art. Even electives tend to be academic, Ricci said, such as African history, computer technology or Greek club, although other choices include gardening, sports and drama. About 40 children take a lifeguard certification course at the swimming pool and half a dozen or so are hired to work as lifeguards there. Spanish instruction begins in middle school.
MS/HS 327 is part of the city’s Community Schools Initiative, which gives extra funding for onsite social services to at-risk youth and their families.
The school has a full-time and a part-time college advisor. Students in the first graduating class in 2016 got into a range of State University of New York and City University of New York schools. One student got into New York University and another got into a competitive nursing program at Stonybrook.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: Children in the “self-contained” classes join their general education peers for select classes such as dance and science.
ADMISSIONS: Lottery open to districts 9 and 10, with priority to students graduating from Mount Eden Children’s Academy. There are about a dozen seats and nearly 800 applicants for the other seats in 6th grade. Most 8th graders stay for the high school, which means typically only a few seats open for students applying from other schools. (Lydie Raschka, May 2017).
About the students
About the school
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About the leadership
About the teachers
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How many graduate?
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How does this school serve English Language Learners?
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Programs and Admissions
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Biology, AP English, AP European History
Boys PSAL teams
Girls PSAL teams