Mott Hall V
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Mott Hall V
Mott Hall V has a calm and structured environment, modern and spacious facilities, and a well-funded college office. The school, housed in a new annex of the Monroe Educational Campus, is one of a number of schools modeled after the successful Mott Hall middle school in Harlem. It opened in 2005 with a sixth grade and graduated its first seniors in 2012.
Unlike the original Mott Hall, Mott Hall V admits students with a range of abilities. To help them start off on the right track, rising 6th and 9th graders attend summer orientation programs. Many classes have two teachers. Middle school teachers run book clubs where they read aloud to small groups of students to help boost their literacy skills, according to founding principal, Peter Oroszlany, whom students call “Mr. O”.
Teachers keep tabs on students’ social and academic concerns in small groups advisories. In grades 7 through 10, there are separate advisories for boys and girls to allow for more frank discussions on social and health concerns. In 11th grade, the focus is on college search and applications.
The school is orderly and rules are enforced. Middle school students line up quietly outside their classrooms and wait for their teacher to let them in. At lunch, students remain silent until announcements are made and then can talk for the rest of the period. “We’re strict, but our students respond with respect, not fear,” said a staff member.
Lessons are very structured and teachers spend a lot of time focusing on skills, particularly in English classes, a weak area for many students.
The highly structured lessons leaves little time for projects, though that’s starting to change, according to Oroszlany . “Our goal is to strike a better balance between structured lessons and independent work,” he said. Students in all grades are now assigned at least one big project in each subject. All science classes are taught in one of the school’s three labs, which allows for hands-on work. For instance, middle school students get to do dissections and chemical experiments, activities typically reserved for high school courses. The school also makes good use of technology and online resources. Students access websites like Learner.org and Brainpop to research topics taught in class and complete homework.
High achievers may take Regents Algebra and Living Environment in the 8th grade. High school students may take classes at Hostos Community College and Advanced Placement coursed in calculus and English. Students learn Spanish starting in the 6th grade. Mandarin is offered as an elective to high school students. Art is offered to students in all grades.
The Los Padres foundation sponsors field trips around New York City and overnight trips to Washington D.C. The school offers Regents exam prep on Saturday “so class-time focuses on learning,” said Oroszlany .
Mott Hall V shares the Monroe annex with the Cinema School and a District 75 program for students with severe disabilities. The spacious, modern facility has its own gymnasium, auditorium and cafeteria. Mott Hall V students only enter the main Monroe Campus building for sports and select after school activities. There are no metal detectors in the annex. To ensure their safety, Oroszlany personally escorts students to the local bus stop at dismissal time.
High School students can participate in Monroe Campus PSAL sports team and Mott Hall-sponsored clubs including art, yearbook and student government. Middle school students have their own sports teams and after school electives.
Special education: There are self-contained and ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) classes.
College: The school works with the College Bound Initative (CBI), sponsored by the Young Women’s Leadership Networks. CBI places full-time counselors in high-needs schools and sponsors trips to colleges, college advisory and individual support students and parents with completing college and financial aid applications.
Admissions: For middle school, priority to District 12 students. For high school, prior to continuing 8th graders and then to Bronx residents or students who attend an information session. (Laura Zingmond, September, 2012).