Popular leader is raising academic expectations
Below average attendance and graduation rates
Kingsbridge International High School serves students are new to this country and learning to speak English, including many who have had their educations interrupted because of poverty or war. Most speak Spanish, Arabic or Russian.
Principal William Gagstetter, who took the helm in 2017, has a friendly rapport with students and has worked to improve the school’s culture and tone. He has quickly earned the staff’s respect, according to school surveys.
He hired new guidance counselors, a social worker and a staffer to lead “Restorative Justice,” a procedure to help kids work out problems peacefully, without yelling or suspension.
“We strategically share cultures,” Gagstetter said mentioning a Ramadan celebration, in which kids invite a friend who does not celebrate Ramadan. After one such event, a non-Muslim boy fasted in solidarity with his Muslim friend.
Children get to know New York City through trips to Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and many other locations. They may take college classes at Lehman College and Monroe whether they are documented or undocumented immigrants.
The school offers Advanced Placement classes in psychology, statistics and English language arts, and kids may take AP Spanish and other AP classes by walking to other schools in the building. “It’s a struggle but kids are excited,” the principal said, of the harder classes.
Teens practice the English language in front of their friends, by discussing events in the newspaper or sharing a recipe from their home country. The school has adopted the Teaching Excellence in Adult Literacy (TEAL) program to provide more guidance and structure for writing.
The principal acknowledged the school still has a long way to go. “We have an immigrant high-risk population,” he said. Some children face enormous challenges, living with friends or relatives while families live far away, he said, or being the only child to speak their language at school. Some are illiterate in their home language; about a dozen have reading levels below 2nd grade.
The school population fluctuates a lot (two new students were admitted the day before our visit in May). About half the children graduate on time and go to college but few are ready for college-level work. Many children miss more than 18 days of school.
Still, the principal was pleased with progress in his short time there. “There is a sense of pride, a sense of resurgence,” he said. “The kids want to learn, to be engaged.”
Kingsbridge has a five-week long summer program focused on boosting math and reading skills, in addition to activities like softball and swimming. After school clubs include robotics, swimming, baseball and academics.
Kingsbridge shares the Walton Educational Campus with Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music, Discovery High School (where Gagstetter was formerly assistant principal), High School for Teaching and the Professions, and International School of Liberal Arts. All students must pass through metal detectors at the entrance.
ADMISSIONS: Open only to New York City residents who have lived in the United States four years or fewer at the time of admission to high school and whose home language is not English. (Lydie Raschka, May 2018)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
CalculusNot offered in 2019-20
Computer ScienceNot offered in 2019-20
PhysicsNot offered in 2019-20
Advanced Foreign Language
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Kingsbridge International High School
New arrivals to the United States (within the last four years) will receive a well-rounded education with English Language development as the focus in all classes. Coursework will prepare students to be successful in college and beyond, training students to work collaboratively with their peers in a hands-on approach to learning.
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP Psychology, AP Computer Science Principles, AP English Language and Composition, AP Statistics
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Handball, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Bowling, Softball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Volleyball
Contact & Location
2780 Reservoir Avenue
Bronx NY 10468
Trains: to Kingsbridge Rd
Buses: Bx1, Bx10, Bx12, Bx12-SBS, Bx2, Bx22, Bx26, Bx28, Bx3, Bx32, Bx34, Bx38, Bx9, BxM3, BxM4
This school shares the Walton Educational Campus with four other schools