There are 12 district and 9 charter schools opening in the Bronx this fall, with each offering a different structure and specialty emphasis. They offer a clean slate for incoming students with several schools in the borough closing or phasing out. The degree of difference between them is stark as they cater to very specific interests and career aspirations. For example, three career and technical schools have closed in the Bronx, and the gap is being filled by the new School for Tourism and Hospitality opening on the Jane Addams campus. According to principal David Martin, students will be able earn front desk supervisor certifications from the American Hotel and Lodging Institute.
"After doing research, (my team and I) realized that tourism and hospitality salaries in the industry will increase by 16% by 2014, which is more than any other industry combined," said Martin, a former teacher who holds an MBA in international business. "We will have incredible partnerships that really allow students not only to experience the industry deeply, but move them beyond high school to post-secondary learning."
The schools don't just target vocational careers; however, one of the new schools allows its students to run an entertainment company.
Another district school is the Bronx Compass High School, which encourages students to run "BX Dragon Entertainment."
According to its description, "Whether you are an aspiring entertainer or you plan to be a doctor someday, you will enjoy working with your classmates as a singer/director/DJ/photographer."
If this seems at odds with the traditional subjects on which education is focused, there are also two New Visions schools in the mix — one for math and science and another for the humanities.
At least two more of the new schools will focus on high-needs students. Children's Aid College Prep Charter school in Morrisania will be run by the Children's Aid Society and cater to 300 kindergarten through fifth grade students from households on welfare. Roads Charter School II, also in Morrisania will serve students between the ages of 15 and 17 who are undercredited.
Corinne Lestch from Daily News reports that one of the new charters, Tech International Charter School, uses the same building as a previous charter school that failed after only eight months.
Co-founder Adjowah Scott said residents were concerned this school might fail as well, but partner Steve Bergen is confident.
"We've gotten much more community support in the last five months," he said.