Innovative program for immigrants who cannot read in their home language
Students face huge challenges
The International Community High School (ICHS) serves new immigrants, including many who cannot read or write in their native language. The school is part of the Internationals Network for Public Schools, an organization of schools designed to help newcomers learn English while preparing them to succeed in college.
While all the schools in the network cater to newcomers, ICHS has a special challenge with students who may never have attended school before they arrived in the United States. The staff has developed an intensive one-year program called Bridges to Academic Success to prepare older teenagers for 9th grade.
“They are bringing an incredible resilience and willingness to learn, especially kids who have been denied education in their home country,” a teacher said in a video about the program that was produced for the New York State Education Department, adding that the students have unusual skills as well as unusual challenges. For example, they might speak five languages but not be able to read or write in any of them.
In the Bridges program, 10 students are taken out of regular high school classes to work on basic skills with their teachers for one year. In one class depicted in the video, students read a picture book called Nasreen’s Secret School, about an Afghan girl’s struggle to have an education. The text was simple, but the themes of social justice were complex enough to engage older teenagers.
When students finish the Bridges program, they enter the 9th grade.
Like the other schools in the Internationals Network, ICHS classes are taught mostly in English. Teachers help students in their native languages, including Spanish, French, Bengali and Arabic, but expect tests and projects to be done in English. Classes combine students of different levels, so those who are stronger in English can help new arrivals. All 11th graders participate in internships at 30 locations throughout New York City. .To graduate, students must present a portfolio of projects.
Students can graduate with more than 12 college credits such as chemistry or composition classes through SUNY Potsdam, math courses through Monroe College, and College Now courses through Hostos Community College. The French Embassy offers AP French.
The students face significant challenges. Some live in temporary housing; some are pregnant or have children of their own. Some are pressured by their families to leave school to earn income, and still others come from cultures or families that expect them to stop school for early marriage, according to the Comprehensive Education Plan. Nonetheless, about two-thirds graduate within four years.
ADMISSIONS: Limited to students who have been in the country for less than four years and who have limited English. (Clara Hemphill, web reports, May 2018; updated August 2020)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
International Community High School
Each new student and family attends a comprehensive orientation session during the last week of August.
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Contact & Location
345 Brook Avenue
Bronx NY 10454
Trains: , to 3rd Ave-149th St; to Brook Ave
Buses: Bx1, Bx15, Bx17, Bx19, Bx2, Bx21, Bx32, Bx33, Bx4, Bx41, Bx41-SBS, Bx4A
This school shares the building with PS/IS 224 and the Academy of Applied Mathematics and Technology