Bronx Academy for Software Engineering (BASE)

Grades 9-12
Noteworthy
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What’s Special

Students learn computer programming; emphasis on design-thinking

The Downside

Too soon to tell; lop-sided boy-girl ratio; metal detectors

Our Review

The Bronx Academy for Software Engineering (BASE) opened in 2013 with the goal of teaching students computer programming at a high level. Students learn programming languages like Java and Python, and related skills such as web and game design.

Like its sister school, Academy for Software Engineering (AFSE), BASE was founded with the support of venture capitalist, Fred Wilson and NYU computer science professor, Evan Korth, who chairs the advisory board for both schools. BASEs active advisory board is composed of community and tech industry leaders.

All BASE students complete a 4-year computer science sequence. In 9th grade students learn about data structures and basic coding. On our visit, 9th-graders were designing advertisements for a project tied into an English unit on identity. In 10th grade, students take a semester of web design as well as a semester learning Python and Java coding languages.

In the 11th and 12th grades, students choose between two tracks: Computer programming, which will lead to a Career and Technical Education (CTE)-endorsed diploma, or web and game design. The CTE sequence in computer programming will be the more academically challenging of the two tracks, requiring students to take Advanced Placement computer programming and higher level math.

While computer programming is the schools specialty, design-thinking goes to the core of the schools mission. We see the school as a design challenge, said founding principal, Ben Grossman. A former transfer high school teacher and schools network director of achievement, Grossman believes that design methodology bolsters academic stamina in students who may have the ability but lack motivation or tolerance for frustration. It pushes kids very hard to fail well and fail often

In every class, students complete four design challenges per year. For example, 9th-graders first challenge project in Global History was to design a survival kit for primitive people. These regular challenges culminate in a capstone project in senior year where students propose and implement a project using design-thinking methodology.

Traditional science instructionliving environment, chemistry and physicsstarts in 10th grade to avoid overloading freshman grappling with the challenge of learning computer programming, BASE plans to offer language instruction beginning in the 11th grade and provide arts instruction when the school grows to capacity.

Ninth-graders who arrive with solid algebra skills can progress immediately to algebra 2, which puts them on track to take calculus before graduation. Others spend one or two years learning algebra, depending on their skill level. Geometry is not a required course, but the school offers it as an upper grade elective class. Additional math electives planned for the upper grades include statistics and discrete math.

Teachers lead small group advisories called seminars, which meet twice daily: A quick 12-minute check-in session at the start of each day, and a full period seminar that delves more deeply into a range of topics. Through a partnership with iMentor each student is matched with a mentor from the tech or related industries. Students develop strong relationships with their mentors through email correspondence and monthly mentor/mentee events at the school.

BASE uses a restorative justice approach to discipline that minimizes suspensions. Student misbehavior is addressed through mediation and conversation circles with classmates. Grossman said he doesnt mind some students dislike of conversation circles because it leads them to be proactive in quelling bad behavior. Stop it or they will make us do a circle, some students say when a classmate starts acting up, according to Grossman.

When we visited, the school was roughly 85% male. The gender imbalance reflects similar trends in the male-dominated technology industrysomething the school wants to change. To help girls feel comfortable and confident at school, BASE matches them with female mentors and offers them access to girls-only activities and internship opportunities.

The school is located in the Grace Dodge Educational Campus along with Crotona International High School, The High School for Energy and Technology and Grace Dodge High School, which is being phased out due to poor performance. Campus schools share access to an onsite medical clinic, auditorium, gym, cafeteria and newly constructed fitness and dance rooms. Students must pass through metal detectors to enter the building. BASE provides free storage for students cellphones.

There are campus-wide PSAL sports, intramural sports run by the school and well as a range of activities such as robotics, girls and boys math clubs, 3-D printing, business start-up workshops and student government.

College advisory is built into to the seminar program and includes trips to colleges. The school plans to hire a college counselor when they have their first class of 11th-graders in 2015.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has integrated co-teaching (ICT) classes and Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS).

ADMISSIONS: Limited unscreened. Priority to students who demonstrate interest by attending an open house or meeting with school representatives at a high school fair. The school hosts a girls-only open house. (Ella Colley and Laura Zingmond, October 2014)

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2016-17 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
72%
77% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
83%
85% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
35%
37% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
88%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
94%
81% Citywide Average

From 2015-16 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
1%
3% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
45%
74% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school
4.0

How do students perform academically?

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many students graduate in 4 years?
78%
77% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
50%
37% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
26%
38% Citywide Average

From 2017 NY State Graduation Outcomes

How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
0%
13% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2017-18 Demographic Snapshot

Enrollment
426
Asian
7.0%
Black
29.0%
Hispanic
59.0%
White
3.0%
Other
2.0%
Free or reduced priced lunch
70%
Students with disabilities
30%
English language learners
7%

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
88%
87% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
31%
37% Citywide Average

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
37%
59% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
67%
66% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs and Admissions

Bronx Academy for Software Engineering (BASE)
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

All BASE students take four years of computer science, learning programming languages like HTML5, Javascript, and Java. Students use Design Thinking, a human-centered problem-solving approach to solve real-world problems. Seniors do a capstone project where they use skills from across disciplines to address a problem in their community. BASE students participate in citywide hackathons sponsored by groups like Code/Interactive and Forbes, and have had internships at SCENYC, Alvin Ailey, and Gilt.

Academics

Language Courses

Italian, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Computer Science, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Statistics, AP U.S. History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball

Girls PSAL teams

Softball, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on the NYCDOE’s School Finder
NYC Department of Education: School Finder

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Location

2474 Crotona Avenue
Bronx NY 10458
Belmont (District 10)
Trains: N/A
Buses: Bx12, Bx12-SBS, Bx15, Bx17, Bx19, Bx22, Bx36, Bx9

Contact

Phone
718-733-6024
Principal
Benjamin Grossman
Parent Coordinator
Morayma Concepcion Bosq

Other Details

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the Grace Dodge Educational Campus with two other schools
Metal detectors?
Yes

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