Harold O. Levy School 52
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Technology focus; Band
On the northern tip of Manhattan, IS 52 is a safe school with a technology focus. Students use iPads and laptops to create digital documents, track their progress online, and study computer science and graphic design, according to the middle school directory.
Once an overcrowded school with an enrollment of about 1,300, IS 52 now serves fewer than 300 children. As rents in the neighborhood have skyrocketed, many families with children have moved to the Bronx; the neighborhood's new residents have fewer children and some of those choose charter or other options.
The school serves a large number of Spanish-speaking new immigrants, including many who have had very weak preparation in elementary school. All students in the transitional bilingual education program are tested and placed with other English speakers at their level, according to the Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP).
Instead of using textbooks with scripted lessons, teachers have created their own units with thoughtful attention to their many Spanish-speaking students. Teachers assign books such as The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros, a Latinx writer, the school website shows. One unit of study is about the new immigrant experience; students tap into their own stories, and explore themes of cultural identity and assimilation.
In science, teens do hands-on experiments. Recent activities include designing and building simple machines such as ramps and levers. Students investigatedthe effect of different types of fertilizer on plants.
Test scores have a ways to go. The Quality Review shows the school could do a better job of identifying, tracking and meeting instructional goals for students across the school. A teacher team works with a mix of district and charter schools to share ideas, in addition to more sharing of ideas within IS 52, the CEP shows.
Principal Lupe Leon took the helm in 2014. She is a former IS 52 student, paraprofessional, teacher, dean and administrator.
The building is shared with the High School for Excellence and Innovation, and Inwood Early College for Health and Information Technologies. IS 52 shares the cafeteria, the gym, bathrooms and auditorium with the other schools.
Admissions: Zoned neighborhood school. The Apple ConnectED Program is open to students and residents of District 6. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, May 2019)