Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice
Modern facility, courses in law and government, lots of extra curricular activities
No dedicated college advisor; no outdoor yard for recess
Bronx School for Law, Government & Justice (LGJ) is a combined middle and high school that seeks to introduce students careers in law or government. It’s located next to the criminal courthouse, where students often visit as part of mentoring programs with judges and lawyers and more than a dozen law firms and companies (including several News Corp. divisions) offer internships.
Inside the entrance to the modern facility a wall is overflowing with many years worth of debate and civic award plaques. The school building features a mock court room, modern science and Mac-equipped computer labs, a large cafeteria plus a full-size indoor gym and fitness center (each grade takes PE three days a week), but the campus has no auditorium or outdoor yard. The middle school is housed on the 1st and 2nd and floors, while high school classes occupy the 3rd and 4th floors.
Classroom assignments often have a legal flavor in high school. One English class we observed drilled students on how to make claims and counter-claims. Forensic science is a required course. Debate is a popular after-school club and the source of virtually all the trophies in the display case, as well as favorable press. However, middle school classes focus on academic strength with double periods, limiting exposure to youth court observation and Law Day activities.
By the end of 8th grade, most students earn high school credit by taking and passing the Regents exams in subjects such as algebra, United States history or earth science. For algebra, students are selectedt o take the Regents bays on their performance on assessments and their overall average in the the course.
In addition to core academic classes, 6th-graders have technology, 7th-graders have drama and visual art and 8th-graders have health and Spanish.
Instruction is fairly tradition with teachers leading most of the lessons, though they do incorporated time for student discussions. Whether reading Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry in their English class or The Jungle in United States History, students demonstrated good understanding of the books.
Classes we visited appeared orderly and polite and teachers find ways to reinforce good behavior. For instance students snap their fingers to acknowledge correct answers by the classmates. We also saw one student discussing a classroom behavior challenge with one of the teachers outside of class. “What are your options? What can you do instead,” asked the teacher. When the student returned to class and the annoyance continued, he chose to move to another seat so that he could focus.
In addition to its popular debate program, LGJ offers many after-school activities such as cooking, arts & crafts and basketball through the Bronx Institute at Lehman College The school has varsity basketball, baseball, volleyball and softball teams. Academic support is also available after school for both students who can handle accelerated studies as well as those who need extra help.
The school day starts at 8:15 am with a mandatory meeting for high schoolers held in the cafeteria and middle schoolers in the gym.
Students in every grade go on college trips. Through a grant from NYGEAR UP, students from Lehman College work with high school students on their college applications as well as help them stay on track for college. There is no dedicated college counselor; instead, guidance counselors provide assistance to students. Most graduates attend CUNY and SUNY schools and some go on to private and out-of-state colleges.
Some graduates eventually return to LGJ. At least 4 alumni are teachers at the school.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: LGJ has self-contained and ICT (integrated co-teaching)) classes, as well as SETSS support services. Principal Johanie Hernandez, who was the AP at LGJ for 10 years, leads the English language learner (ELL) department., working with teachers to plan lessons and target student needs. English as a new language (ENL) teachers work with students in their classrooms, on a pullout basis, after school and on Saturdays.
ADMISSIONS: For middle school, top priority to students and residents of District 9 who attend an open house. Decisions are also based on a review of grades, state test scores, record of attendance, completion of an interview and writing exercise. For high school, priority to Bronx students and residents who attend an open house. High school decisions are also based on an interview and completion of a writing exercise. Roughly 90 percent of middle school students stay for high school. (Jacqueline Wayans November 2017)
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Programs and Admissions
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP English Language and Composition, AP U.S. Government and Politics
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Indoor Track
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Cross Country, Outdoor Track, Softball, Volleyball
Bronx NY 10451
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