High expectations and inspiring atmosphere
No Latin program in middle school due to difficulty finding qualified teacher
Bronx Latin sets high expectations for students and has clear organization among staff. Even though most students enter 6th grade with poor academic skills, nearly 60 percent stay for high school and rougly 90 percent of seniors graduate on time. The school is chock-full of inspiring teaching and rigorous academics in this historically poor community. Bronx Latin shares the old IS 158 building with Bronx Career and College Prep and Dr. Richard Izquierdo Health and Science Charter School.
Annette Fiorentino took the helm as principal in 2012 and has worked to bolster academics. Initially, many confuse “Latin” with “Latino” when interested in this school, said a staffer, yet students do study Latin here, and read works of classical literature in Humanities classes and develop strong vocabulary and grammar structure. However, when we visited, the middle school Latin program was on pause due to lack of a Latin teacher. We saw a 7th grade class engaged in a Socratic Seminar style discussion, in which teens learn to listen and share opinions following formal rules of debate. The school has five advanced placement courses: English Literature, Environmental Science, Spanish, Statistics and U.S. History. All 8th graders take Algebra and Living Environment.
The atmosphere is mostly one of harmony, with the exception of the occasional hallway straggler or young man who has to be reminded to remove his hat or hood. Classroom instruction was lively and engaging on our visit. Sixth graders comfortably discussed the effects of gravity and elaborated on various hypotheses posed by classmates in a science class. “This is a real advancement,” said Fiorentino, “Many of our students come in with little to no science education.” In a 7th-grade science class, a teacher handed out tweezers, clothespins and spoons to mimic the beaks of birds, and gave teens cups to represent birds’ stomachs. The materials were distributed along with birdseed for an experiment in which students had to determine which beak would be the most successful and why.
Bronx Latin has forged a partnership with the College Bound Initiative, which allows for a full time college counselor and plenty of college trips. College-advising here begins as early as middle school; on the day of our visit, these students began writing their college application essays. They also discuss college during their daily advisory period. A board in the hall features all the teachers and the colleges they attended, with a star by those who were first in their families to go to college, including Fiorentino. “This helps students see that it is possible,” she said. The school received over 5 million dollars in scholarships in 2016, a crucial number for students who believe college isn’t an affordable option. Former students that are now teachers at Bronx Latin are good role models for students, and urge them to stick with AP courses, and not drop out of school due to financial and other demands of life.
The high school portion of Bronx Latin has maintained high marks for college readiness from the Department of Education, above the citywide average. High school students attend a West Point mentoring program, which allows them, in turn, to mentor middle school students.
Bronx Latin offers electives including art, music, debate and writing. In high school, students can participate in baseball, basketball, co-ed soccer, softball and girls' volleyball. The middle school offers basketball and co-ed flag football.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers self-contained classes and SETTS in middle school and Integrated Co-Teaching classes for both middle and high school students.
ADMISSIONS: District 12 choice for middle school. For high school, students must attend an open house and show interest in school to receive preference. (Jacqueline Wayans, October 2017)
About the students
About the school
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About the leadership
About the teachers
Are students prepared for high school?
How many graduate?
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How does this school serve English Language Learners?
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Programs and Admissions
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Calculus AB, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Environmental Science, AP Spanish, AP U.S. History
Boys PSAL teams
Girls PSAL teams
Bronx NY 10456
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Bronx, NY 10456
Bronx, NY 10456