Bronx Charter School for the Arts Elementary School
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Healthy mix of academics and arts programs
No gymnasium or outdoor yard
Bronx Charter School for the Arts (Bronx Arts) is a small school that delivers on its name, offering children a healthy mix of arts and academics. Children study theater, dance, music and visual art during the school day and have additional options such as band, drums and capoeira after school. Most students stay at Bronx Arts for middle school, traveling to a separate, nearby location for grades 6-8.
All students take art classes twice each day. During our visit, the school's dedciated rooms for music, theater, visual arts and dance were filled each period. We saw students playing the recorder in music, writing scenes of a play in theater, sketching in art and doing movement exercises to music in dance.
Representation is a priority too. Classes are named after artists of color and are well-stocked with books written by and about persons of color.
Consistency and attention to detail are very much the school’s strength. Classes in all grades start each day with a similar routine: Greeting the teacher, morning meeting and group activity. Teachers pause often—whether they are reading to students or delivering a lesson—to check for understanding. In a 4th grade class, students wrapped up a math lesson by completing an “exit ticket”— answering a few questions an on sheet of paper that they handed in to the teacher to demonstrate they mastered the skill taught.
There is a lot of emphasis on fundamentals, such as phonics in the early grades. In a 2nd grade class, students did a quick morning math activity on place values before transitioning to a phonics lesson where they recited in unison a range of vowel sounds. “I need high energy,” the teacher announced. The teacher then spelled out a few words such as “disrupt” and then asked students to recite the word, and state how many syllables and vowels it has.
The school adopted the Teachers College Reading and Writing program in the younger grades with plans to expand to all grades. The program encourages students to read a wide array of books of their choosing and at their skill level as well as write and revise multiple drafts of work on a variety of topics.
Teachers use the Achievement First Navigator program for math, which places an emphasis on conceptual learning. Students work through math stories in addition to lots of drilling of basic skills.
Beginning in 4th grade students have two teachers: one for math and science and the other for English and social studies. Children travel between two rooms for instruction. The idea is that students will learn more deeply if taught by a teacher who specializes in those subjects.
A parent said that Fridays are special. That’s when the entire school, including family members gather for announcements, celebrations and performances by students and visiting artists.
Children arrive at 7:45 to eat breakfast in their classrooms. Morning meeting starts at 8 am and the regular school day runs until 3:30. Families may pay a fee for more arts programs at The Point CDC, which picks kids up at the school. Another after-school pick-up option is Casita Maria Center for the Arts.
There is a fulltime nurse and social worker on staff.
Suspensions run higher than the citywide average though the school is taking steps to minimize them. For instance, if a student is distracted in class, they may step outside the room with a staff member for a chat or a quick activity such as hopping along a path of colorful shapes and letters painted on the hallway floor.
A downside: there is no gymnasium or outdoor yard. Kids play outside on a blocked-off street. On poor weather days, the cafeteria is divided in half by a curtain. In one half students play, while in the other half they eat.
ADMISSIONS: By lottery. The application can be found on the school's website. (Laura Zingmond, February 2020)Read more
Is this school safe and well-run?
From 2018-19 NYC School Survey
From 2017-18 NY State Report Card
How do students perform academically?
From 2019 State ELA+Math Results Summary
Who does this school serve?
From 2019-20 Demographic Snapshot
From 2018-19 School Quality Guide
How does this school serve special populations?
From 2019 State ELA+Math Results Summary
Contact & Location
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Bronx, NY 10474