Leaders of Tomorrow
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An aviation program; extended day
Attendance need to improves
At Leaders of Tomorrow, students learn science and math with flight simulators--computer programs designed to make kids feel as if they are flying an airplane. They build their own robots with LEGO Robotics. Eighth-graders may take Regents earth science during the school day and algebra after school and on Saturdays
The school was established in 2016 by merging two small, low-performing middle schools that shared a building: School of Diplomacy and Globe school. The newly-formed Leaders of Tomorrow is showing promise, thanks to good leadership and the infusion of resources including support from Phipps Neighborhoods, a community organization that provides after-school activities and family support services.
We visited Leaders during its first year post-merger and found the school's new identity to be taking hold among children and staff. In classes, students often work in groups and are expected to read and write a lot as well as explain their work to their peers. For English instruction, the school uses the Teachers College Reading and Writing Program, which encourages to children to read fiction and non-fiction books of their choosing, research topics of interest and write multiple drafts before achieving a polished essay or creative piece.
Spanish instruction begins in 6th grade. Through a partnership with Stella Adler Studio, a teaching artist helps students write plays that are performed by professional actors.
Leaders continues to tackle the challenges faced by its predecessor schools: chronic absenteeism remains high and many students arrive with weak academic skills including some with limited English. Nevertheless, the school seems to be on the upswing and in classes we saw, teachers seemed adept at helping those struggling while challenging higher performing students.
Gym classes are single gender, which allows for teachers to provide small group support. When the girls are gym, teachers work with the boys and vice versa.
There's an onsite health clinic that provides medical, dental and mental health services. Several graduate students from Columbia University's School of Social Work intern at the school.
Students have an extended school day until 4pm. During the extra periods they get academic support, Regents exam prep, and participate in activities such as cooking, robotics and comics. Phipps Neighborhood runs onsite after-school activities after 4 pm.
Incoming 6th-graders participate in a two-week summer program to help them shore up skills and adjust to the transition to middle school. Students in all grades take field trips to see shows and explore the city such as visiting Manhattan's Chinatown or the holiday market in Union Square. Some visit the Morgan Library to learn bookmaking.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT and self-contained classes as well as SETSS. Students in self-contained classes join general education classes for subjects they are strong in.
ADMISSIONS: Priority to students residing in its zone, and then to District 11 students and residents and then to Bronx students and residents. The school typically has space for students outside of District 11. (Laura Zingmond, March 2017)