Belmont Preparatory High School
Bronx NY 10458
Lots of encouragement to go to college
Lines at the metal detectors make kids late for class
Belmont Prep, a small school in the Theodore Roosevelt Educational Complex, provides personal attention to kids who might be lost in a large school. The school encourages graduates to go to college, and some students have been admitted to New York University, Fordham (across the street) and St. Johns in Queens.
A few students have gone to selective colleges outside New York City, including Vassar and Stanford, said principal Stephen Joseph Gumbs, who graduated from Dartmouth College and is ambitious for his students. He takes students to visit colleges in New England. Some students take accelerated summer classes at Fordham University, right across the street from Belmont Prep.
Although most students begin Belmont Prep reading below grade level, the graduation rate is higher than the citywide average. Gumbs encourages students to stay in school, even if it takes them five years to graduate. Special needs studentsneglected in most schoolsare encouraged to get Regents diplomas.
The school offers a traditional Regents-prep curriculum, including four-years of math and four years of science. Class trips are part of the science curriculum. Students may go to Pelham Bay Park to test the water quality, or to the American Museum of Natural History to study evolution.
Gumbs says the climate of the building has improved significantly since the new small schools began replacing Roosevelt in 2002. While the suspension rate at Belmont Prep is high, most students say they feel safe and teachers agree that order and discipline are maintained. A friendly school aiderather than a uniformed security guardkeeps watch in the corridor.
Students must pass through metal detectors to enter the building. The day of our visit, one of the scanners was broken and lots of kids were late to class. The school has below average attendance, despite efforts by staff to call home when students are absent.
Students participate in sports teams with other schools in the building and share the gym, cafeteria and auditorium. They may join junior ROTC or have an internship in a bank branch on the first floor.
Special education: Gumbs, who attended an Ivy League college despite having a math-disability, believes that special needs students can excel academically He points out that a Belmont Prep valedictorian one year had dyslexia. Students in self-contained classes change rooms for each subject and have teachers who are licensed in both their subject matter and in special education. The school offers special education teacher support services (SETSS) and self-contained classes but does not offer collaborative team teaching.
Admissions:Belmont Prep is listed in the high school directory as a "screened" program. Applicants should have grades of at least 75 in their core academic classes, good attendance and standardized test scores of at least Level 2. (Clara Hemphill, May 2012)
About the students
About the school
Is this school safe?
About the leadership
About the teachers
How many graduate?
Are students prepared for college?
How does this school serve English Language Learners?
How does this school serve students with disabilities?
Programs and Admissions
This early college awareness program helps students understand this transition at an early age and inform them of the academic, social, financial, and personal rewards of college, addressing their areas of concern and building on their strengths.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Calculus, AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP Spanish, AP US History
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Swimming, Volleyball
Girls PSAL teams
Cross Country, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Softball, Volleyball