Posts tagged "Harry S. Truman High School"
November 30, 2012
At Harry S. Truman High School, juniors in an honors English class arrange their desks in concentric circles to discuss Marxist and feminist theory in the American literary canon.
At Central Park East High School, students taking the Mt. Sinai Careers course develop research projects on the health sciences while interning in hospital departments like pediatrics, orthopedics, and Mt. Sinai’s morgue.
And at East Side Community School, seniors compare ancient Greek tragedies.
The courses are as challenging as any Advanced Placement class, their teachers say: To pass, students must demonstrate not only deep knowledge but also the kind of critical thinking required for success in college. But last year, when the Department of Education moved toward giving high schools credit in their annual letter grade for exposing students to college-level work, the courses did not count.
This year, they are among 52 courses in city high schools to get the department’s “college and career preparatory” stamp of approval, meaning that students who pass them typically stay in college after many ill-prepared students drop out. (more…)
July 9, 2012
On a muggy August afternoon last year, nearly 75 Bronx students could be found playing orchestra instruments to the tune of Duke Ellington’s C Jam Blues in the auditorium of M.S. 223.
They were gathered to mark the close of three weeks of arts, music, and math instruction they received through the school’s first summer “bridge” program. M.S. 223 is one of dozens of city middle and high schools to invite to incoming students for summer classes meant to immerse them in school culture and prevent them from forgetting what they learned the previous year.
“Summer bridge is important because we think of our model as a year-round school,” said Rashid Davis, principal of Brooklyn’s nascent Pathways in Technology Early College High School. “That way we’re not dealing with that summer learning loss than can go from two to four months of material, especially for high-poverty students. We can’t expect them to magically come in here with the skills they need.”
Indeed, researchers have pegged students’ regression — known as the “summer slide” — at the equivalent of two months of school or more. City officials recognize the challenge: This summer, the Department of Education is piloting a small program in the South Bronx for students who are struggling but not failing.
But the funding for that program, Summer Quest, comes from private donors. Public funds, for the most part, are earmarked only for the thousands of students across the city who are required to attend summer school because of low test scores or poor grades.
That means schools that develop programs for incoming students who aren’t already in trouble are on their own to scrounge up funding. (more…)
July 6, 2012
Nasser is the principal of Harry S. Truman High School, one of the Bronx’s few remaining comprehensive high schools. Each fall, she requires new freshmen to take diagnostic exams that test their math and writing skills.
The students’ results rarely correlate with their scores on the state’s eighth-grade reading and math tests, Nasser said.
The tests are just one component of Nasser’s strategy for helping Truman’s teachers to understand their students’ needs by the end of the first week of ninth-grade. She also collects reams of data from the city about each student’s performance and attendance records and compares them to the diagnostics’ results.
Nasser said the early efforts have been key to keeping Truman above water even as other large Bronx high schools have struggled to stay afloat with many students entering below grade level. Truman regularly pulls B’s on its city progress reports and has a four-year graduation rate that’s right around the city average.
The school-wide diagnostic exams, which Truman’s math and English teachers create, accomplish on a vast scale what many teachers do at the beginning of the year: assess their students’ skills, so they don’t waste time teaching material that students already know or can’t handle.
By making the assessments consistent for every incoming student, Nasser said she can get a clearer picture of the class as a whole — how students stack up against each other, and how skill gaps vary by middle school. Some schools, she said, routinely send students whose scores seem to be inflated. (more…)
April 4, 2012
Harry S. Truman High School Principal Sana Nasser started making college preparation a priority long before the city began sounding the alarm about poor college readiness rates. She has encouraged students at her large Bronx school to take college level courses at the nearby Mercy College campus, and invited alumni enrolled in college to meet with current students.
But when the city assessed her efforts in its first release of data measuring how schools are preparing students for college academics, Truman fell short of the city’s already dismally low averages in all three college readiness categories. Just ten percent of Truman’s students scored high enough on advanced standardized tests to be considered “college prepared,” according to the city’s rubric.
So Nasser is trying a different approach. She has joined with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and administrators from Mercy College to create a college readiness initiative that target all students and offer the strongest ones a chance to earn a two-year associates degree by the time they graduate from high school.
“I believe some of you can do high school in two years and take college courses,” she told an assembly of honors students in grades nine through twelve seated in the school’s spiffy, first-floor IMAX theater. (more…)
April 5, 2011
Custodians defrauded the city out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by listing “no-show” custodial employees on their payrolls at two Bronx high schools.
A report released today by Special Commissioner of Investigation Robert Condon details how custodians at Harry Truman High School and the Theodore Roosevelt Educational Campus kept employees on the school’s custodial payrolls during hours when they were not working. Some of these same employees were put to work doing construction and maintenance work on another custodian’s private properties and paid with school funds.
The report finds that custodians Trifon Radef and Nicanor Fernandez put at least four people on the payrolls of Truman and Roosevelt who were paid for hours they never worked. The report calls them “ghost employees” and recommends that the six men no longer be allowed to work for the city’s Department of Education. It also calls on the DOE to examine its policy of allowing custodians to hold multiple jobs at different schools.
“The current system allowed multiple individuals to be paid over many years although they never appeared for work,” the report states. “It is unacceptable that one or more supervisors did not question their whereabouts and uncover this scheme.” (more…)