A focus on law and opportunities for travel
Concerns about discipline and order
Bronx Leadership Academy (BLA) was founded in 1993 through the efforts of South Bronx Churches and parents. In recent years, the school has suffered from high teacher turnover, poor student attendance and a declining graduation rate, but staff are working to tighten structures so students feel safe and teachers feel supported.
The school has some nice features. Students take field trips to law firms and courtrooms, and compete in mock trial tournaments. Lawyers at O’Melveny and Myers law firm provide mentors. Some children attend law courses on Saturdays as part of a New York University program.
Each year, four students travel to places like Mali, Nepal, Haiti and Nicaragua to help build houses, said parent coordinator Mohamed Kamara. A 2010 BLA graduate, Kamala returned to join the staff of BLA because he “loved the culture of the school,” where “everyone was so caring, like a family.”
Unfortunately school surveys show there has been a downslide in safety, order and discipline in recent years. Surveys show friction between the principal and the teachers, with fewer than half the teachers saying they trust the principal. In 2018 about half the staff left.
To turn things around, the school has partnered with Phipps Neighborhoods. “They help us with attendance and putting programs together for the kids after school,” Kamara said. Cell phones are no longer allowed in class, teens must adhere to the dress code and those falling behind must stay after school for help. To improve instruction, the school hired an academic coach
“It is much better this year,” Kamala said. “Everyone is working together as a team.”
BLA is two blocks south of the Cross Bronx Expressway amid the auto repair shops of Webster Avenue. The two-story building, originally a warehouse, has narrow halls and lacks an auditorium but, happily, it also lacks a metal detector. Instead, children are greeted at the front door by the principal and members of the staff, Kamala said.
One recent graduate was awarded a full scholarship to Cornell University. Others have been accepted to Binghamton and Borough of Manhattan Community College, while some go on to join their family’s restaurant business or work in retail.
The school has a small gym but no outdoor space. Softball and soccer teams play at local ball fields, and softball is sometimes practiced after hours in hallways.
Admissions: BLA accepts students from the Bronx. In the educational option formula, it seeks a range of academic abilities. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, interview, October 2018)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
Computer ScienceNot offered in 2019-20
PhysicsNot offered in 2019-20
Advanced Foreign LanguageNot offered in 2019-20
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Bronx Leadership Academy
This program seeks to develop the critical-thinking skills of our students and expose them to issues involving ethics, justice and morality. We partner with the Justice Resource Center and law firms around the city to expand opportunities for our students to gain exposure to the legal profession (e.g., Moot Court competitions, Mock Trial competitions, law firm and court visits), and for scholarship opportunities.
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Contact & Location
1710 Webster Avenue
Bronx NY 10457
Trains: , to 174-175th Sts
Buses: Bx1, Bx11, Bx15, Bx17, Bx2, Bx32, Bx36, Bx40, Bx41, Bx41-SBS, Bx42, BxM4
Principal: Geralda Valcin
This school is in its own building.