Urban Assembly School for Careers in Sports
22 team sport offerings; an open door policy for parents
Growth has resulted in increased class size
The Urban Assembly School for Careers in Sports has a high graduation rate, an impressive array of team sports and a new building with a huge football field. When the school opened in 2002, the staff hoped to build a curriculum around athletics, but the theme has been de-emphasized in recent years as budget cuts have forced the school to concentrate scarce resources on core academics.
Instruction is mostly focused on preparing students for the Regents exams, and teaching methods are fairly traditional. The teaching ranged from fair to solid in the classes we visited, judging from the responsiveness and attentiveness of the students. Smart Boards are installed in every classroom. In one class, the teacher used the screen to demonstrate how to solve an algebra equation. In another class, however, the print on the screen was dense and hard to read in a sleep-inducing room with lowered lights.
The school enlarged its enrollment when it moved to a new building in 2010, and average class size has grown from 22 or 25 to about 29, according to Principal Felice Lepore. "What does an additional four to seven kids mean for a class?" he said, "It means a lot." On the plus side, the school now offers seniors their first Advanced Placement class, in U.S. Government. A larger enrollment also means more players for team sports: That's important for a school that has already won the city championship in football. Despite the larger enrollment, Lepore has maintained an "open door" policy for parents who want to visit a class.
Each teen is assigned an "i-mentor," a professional adult with whom they meet in person, at group events, six times a year and email at least weekly. "It's a way I can keep in contact with a guy who can probably help me," said a student. Another said, "She helps me a lot on my personal essay for college."
In turn, students mentor middle-schoolers once a week through the Urban Dove program. Project Discovery is a way to explore the outdoors and pick up gym credits. A recent immigrant from the Dominican Republic said," come from the mountains, so I already know how to climb, but camping will be new."
Twenty-two sports teams draw members from five area schools. Sports include tennis, baseball, basketball, and co-ed handball and track teams. The school is 85 percent male.
The school shares the nine-acre Mott Haven Educational Campus with New Explorers High School, Bronx Leadership Academy II High School, KIPP NYC College Prep Program, and a District 75 program. Each school has its own entrance and cafeteria. The new building has had set backs, including flooding in the gym and broken alarms.
Special education: There are five special education teachers. Their strategy is to engage students with creative lessons, mostly in Integrated Co-teaching (formerly Collaborative Team Teaching or CTT) classes. For example, the teaching team in a history class will demonstrate the Hindu principle of transformation through film clips from Beauty and the Beast.
Admission: There are no admissions requirements. Priority goes to students who attend an information session. (Lydie Raschka, October 2010)
About the students
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Programs and Admissions
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP English Language and Composition, AP Environmental Science, AP U.S. Government and Politics
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Indoor Track, Rugby, Soccer, Wrestling
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Golf, Outdoor Track, Rugby, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams
Bronx NY 10451