Gotham Collaborative High School
Work-study internships; students tend chickens on school farm.
The freedom may be too much for some students.
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2017: Bronx Guild changed its name to Gotham Collaborative High School.
The vision: Treat high school students like adults.
The reality: Bronx Guild students spend two or three days a week at internships off campus. On the other days, teachers help them develop in-class projects based on their interests.
For example, a student researched the effects of cigarette advertising and, through his internship at a local community center, petitioned neighborhood bodegas to move tobacco ads to be less prominent to childrens eyes.
Students may have internships at child care centers, at an architectural firm, or even in the school garden and farm, which has a beehive and chickens.
Students have a lot of freedom and Guild has an informal, relaxed atmosphere to match. Teachers go by their first names and often form close bonds with kids and their families, says Founding Principal Sam Decker.
Incoming freshman are placed in a crew of about 18 students with one teacher, or crew leader, and that group remains together all four years. On our visit, we saw kids delving into traditional high school topics like the expansion of the Roman Empire in social studies and Pride and Prejudice in English.
Classes are small. The school has a counseling staff including a dedicated college counselor who encourages students to leave the Bronx for college. Success is mixed: about half of the students go on to college (mostly CUNYs and SUNYs) and another 30% to vocational or trade school, Decker said.
Students we met relished the independence the school offers. They get to leave early, at 1 p.m., on Wednesdays, and one junior said that extra time allowed him to hold down a part-time job (in addition to his school-arranged internship at a daycare center). Once students pass an oral presentation and show sufficient academic achievement in 10th grade, they may leave campus for lunch for the rest of their high school career. But the freedom may be too much for some students: during our visit we saw students constantly interrupt the teacher in one class and also heard some cursing.
The four-year graduation rate is in line with the city average but many students need remediation when they get to college.
Bronx Guild is housed in the Stevenson Educational Complex(formerly Adlai E. Stevenson High School). Students must pass through metal detectors to enter the building. Most students and teachers reported that they felt safe at the school on the 2011 Learning Environment Survey and, during our visit, we found the school safe and welcoming.
All students may participate in campus-wide sports teams and after school programs.
Special education: Nearly one third of the students have special education needs. Special education students are integrated into general education classes and also participate in the internship programs.
Admissions: Limited unscreened. (Anna Schneider, January 2012)
About the students
About the school
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About the leadership
About the teachers
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Programs and Admissions
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Physics, AP U.S. History
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Football, Outdoor Track, Soccer
Girls PSAL teams
Badminton, Basketball, Indoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball