Students and teachers feel safe and respected
Lots of kids don’t graduate on time; metal detectors
The International School for Liberal Arts (ISLA) is a safe, well-run 6th−12th grade school designed to offer Spanish-speaking teens a gentle transition to English. When they first arrive, children are taught mostly in Spanish. More English is offered each month, and the goal is for the children to be fluent in English as soon as possible.
Children enter the school throughout the year. Some are newly arrived in the country. Many face challenges; in some cases, their families do not have a fixed, regular or adequate night residence, according to the yearly plan. “We constantly get new students,” said principal Francine Cruz, adding that the children are “eager to do the best they can and help their families.” The school is safe and orderly, according to school surveys, and most teachers would recommend it to other families. A special education teacher said, “Kids come in with a strong moral foundation.”
The attendance rate is good. “The big challenge,” Cruz said, “is that [the students are] learning the language and meeting their graduation requirements” at the same time.
Most children enter with low reading and math skills. Some have had interrupted formal education. The school divides instruction into beginning, intermediate and advanced groups so children can progress at a comfortable pace, Cruz said.
Montefiore Hospital provides medical, social, educational and mental health services. ISLA offers English classes and social support to parents.
After school, Kingsbridge Heights Community Center (KHCC) serves a hot meal and provides activities for middle school kids until 7:30 pm, following ISLA's academic tutoring program. KHCC classes include robotics, dance, drama and photography.
The school has an art teacher and various resident artists, including one who taught Flamenco dance, and a theater program artist, according to the arts in schools report. Children take trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Jewish Museum.
About three-quarters of ISLA students graduate on time, a number that is low but inching up, according to Cruz, but most students are not prepared to do college-level work. ISLA has options for high-achievers, including advanced placement courses in biology, calculus and Spanish, and college classes.
Most parents want their children to stay nearby for college and work, Cruz said, but the school tries to broaden horizons by taking kids to visit colleges in Albany, New York, while also supporting graduates who plan to work or join the military. Cruz said the staff inform students about areas of job growth, such as in home health care and nursing.
Founded in 2005, ISLA is one of five small schools housed in the Walton Educational Campus. The other schools in the building are: Discovery, Kingsbridge International, Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music and the High School for Teaching and the Professions. The building has metal detectors.
Sports teams are campus-wide. The schools share three gymnasiums. Children may earn their lifeguard certificate in the building’s pool.
ADMISSIONS: Only open to NYC residents whose home language is Spanish. Children take a language test at 1 Fordham Plaza, the principal said. (Lydie Raschka, June 2018)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
Advanced Foreign Language
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
MusicNot offered in 2019-20
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
International School for Liberal Arts
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Spanish Literature and Culture, AP Drawing
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