Bronx Park Middle School

Grades 6-8
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What’s Special

Interesting program features unusual projects; warm atmosphere

The Downside

The building has a history of poor performance and discipline problems

Our Review

Opened in September 2012, Bronx Park offers a close-knit atmosphere and attention to childrens social and emotional development. Many students have struggled academically, but the principal is betting that hands-on projects will engage children and improve their academic performance.

Bronx Park, whose planning was led by principal Dillon Prime, structures learning around multi-week units, many related to developing sustainable careers. One entitled "Design Construction and Power" looked at how what people build reflects who they are. In math, students used fractions and decimals as they developed blueprints and, in science, they considered simple machines. The 6th graders also examined their own neighborhood, reading and analyzing passages on health care and education in the Bronx. At the end of the unit, each student developed a plan for a community school.

Another unit plans to look 500 years into the future, when deteriorating conditions on Earth force people to find a new place to live. At the end, students will design their own colony, incorporating what they learned about a range of topics from the solar system to leadership.

Prime thinks such a curriculum helps give children a sense of control. "It's their opportunity to be the experts that change the world," he says. The school has embraced a concept called Flow, seeking to create projects that so engage students that they lose track of time and themselves.

In class, some students worked intently on projects -- one boy was quick to describe his invention of a machine to feed hamsters -- and participated in classroom discussions, such as one on the core principles of their imaginary school. "Fun, wealth and security," one offered. Other students seemed easily distracted.

Many students arrive at Bronx Park reading a year or more below grade level and some struggle with basic arithmetic. The school offers a Saturday academy and after-school help and supplements regular math classes, which focused on more advanced topics, with a class period of math games.

All students meet with advisory groups of about 15 every day often to discuss issues of concern to adolescents, such as cyber bullying and peer pressure. A social worker is available to mediate conflicts, and Prime says the focus has proved successful.

At the time of our visit, the schedule at Bronx Park concentrated academic work in the morning, along with breakfast in a reading class at around 10:30 a.m. After a late lunch, with time outside in good weather, students return for their advisories, math games, academic help and extra curricular activities. All teachers sponsor a club, and virtually all students participate in at least one. Arts clubs, such as drama and hip-hop, help to compensate for the lack of arts classes.

The building that houses the new school has a history of poor performance and discipline problems, but Bronx Park seemed orderly on our visit. AsAspire Preparatory Middle School is phased out, Bronx Park will occupy the entire third floor in the Frank D. Whalen building, which has seen several schools come and go. Bronx Green Middle School and Pelham Academy of Academics and Community Achievement occupy the other floors. The schools remain fairly separate but share the library, cafeteria, auditorium, gym and weight room.

Special education: The school offers team teaching and other services but no self-contained classes.

Admission: Students who live within the zone apply to their favorite schools on the Whalen campus and are assigned to the particular school by lottery, with their preferences weighted. (Gail Robinson, February 2013)

About the students

Enrollment
394
Asian
8.4%
Black
21.1%
Hispanic
59.9%
White
9.4%
Other
1.3%
Free or reduced priced lunch
85%
Students with disabilities
20%
English language learners
17%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with Pelham Academy and Bronx Green Middle School
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
70%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
91%
93% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
31%
20% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
45%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
35%
28% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
81%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
35%
43% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
4.0
6.0 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
63%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
91%
88% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
72%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
46%
72% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
100%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
76%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
79%
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?
15%
27% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
20%
30% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 2 dedicated spaces for Dance and Music
This school has 1 licensed arts teacher in Visual arts (part-time)

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
69%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
54%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
63%
72% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
0%
26% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
87%
84% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Westchester Square Academy and Harry S Truman HS
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
2%
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
1.73
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
1.96
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.88
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.03
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.25
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.2
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
50%
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?
81%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
88%
90% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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