Bronx Charter School for Excellence
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Longer school day; well-equipped building
Suspension rate higher than average
Founded in 2004, Bronx Charter School for Excellence offers a longer school day, firm discipline and two teachers in most classrooms. It accepts only a small percentage of its applicants and has a long waiting list. Test scores are above the citywide average including for students with disabilities. The attendance rate is excellent.
In the early grades, lessons feature projects and hands-on science experiments. Students study writing for about one hour a day and reading for two. Former principal Charlene Reid, who is now CEO of the network, has been quoted in news interviews saying most kindergartners are reading by November.
Teachers use math programs based on the rigorous Singapore Math approach; Eureka Math in grades K-4 and Math in Focus in grades 5-8, according to the SUNY charter school renewal report. In this approach, students study mathematical concepts using a three-step process: concrete, pictorial and abstract. In other words, a young child would progress from counting real objects, to using pictures and numbers on paper, to solving problems in their head.
The middle school starts in 5th grade and the school day runs from about 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. All students study Spanish and get daily physical education. An increasing number of 8th-graders take and pass high school level Regents exams in Living Environment, Algebra 1, Geometry and U.S. History and/or Government.
Many teachers are new to the teaching profession but the SUNY Report says they get lots of support from school leaders. The newer teachers struggle more with discipline, which can range from timeouts and calls to parents to detention or suspensions. The suspension rate is above the citywide average.
Bronx Excellence is housed in a renovated building in Parkchester and features a well-equipped science lab, computer lab, and gymnasium with basketball hoops and bleachers. It boasts a teaching kitchen and an outdoor terrace off the cafeteria. Classrooms have a wide selection of books and other resources such as laptops and SmartBoards, according to the SUNY Report. The middle school has a music room with instruments. Glass walls in the corridors make hallways feel more open, according to the CTA Architects website.
Bronx 1 encourages students to take part in scholarship opportunities for underserved Black and LatinX populations, for example, at Google Code Next, Einstein Enrichment Program, or STEM and Politics, a two-week college immersion program in partnership with Colgate University.
Eighth-graders are encouraged to take the specialized high school exam and apply to other selective public schools as well as parochial and private schools. In recent years graduates were accepted into top high schools such as Stuyvesant, Bard Early College, The Lawrenceville School and Fordham Preparatory School. Alumni are invited to events and are offered assistance with college admissions.
The school serves fewer students with disabilities than other area schools, according to the SUNY report, and has not reached its goal in this area.
Sports include a Brazilian form of martial arts called Capoeira, Tae Kwon Do, yoga, basketball, soccer and more. Students may join band, glee club, robotics and other enrichment activities.
Bronx 1 is the model for four additional Bronx Excellence schools in Morris Park, Wakefield and Tremont.
ADMISSIONS: Admission is by a lottery that takes place in April. See the website for more information. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, May 2020)Read more