Classroom 325 Learning & Leading in a Bronx High School By Julie Nariman

  • We don’t call parents to complain
    by Julie Nariman on October 11, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Every year, there seems to be a class that gets a bad rap-“that class,” which teachers say is tough to teach. Recently a few teachers met with me about this year’s “tough class.â€� The teacher’s solution: they wanted to invite the students’ parents into the classrooms to witness how the students were behaving. I was … Continue reading We don’t call parents to complain

  • 83 and Entropy
    by Julie Nariman on September 20, 2019 at 10:42 am

    This past August, we celebrated our school’s highest graduation rate ever: 83%.  For us, this was a triumph; the highest percentage before this point had been 74%.  Other things looked good at the end of the year, too: our 9th graders had done well on their exams, attendance increased, and suspensions went down. This school … Continue reading 83 and Entropy

  • “I no longer want to be a teacher”
    by Julie Nariman on August 16, 2019 at 11:33 am

    I was sure Sophia* was going to become a teacher. Sophia was a 12th grader who had shown a passion for teaching.   Last summer, she tutored a group of classmates in history and did a great job.  After the experience, Sophia told me she wanted to become a math teacher.  I told her to reach … Continue reading “I no longer want to be a teacher&rdquo

  • Choosing summer school
    by Julie Nariman on August 2, 2019 at 11:00 am

    I used to tell students, “Don’t plan on summer school.â€� I didn’t want kids to feel complacent during the year and figure, “Oh, well, I’ll just go to summer school if I don’t pass.â€� To create a sense of urgency, and scarcity, I’d say things like, “We might not be able to give you this … Continue reading Choosing summer schoo

  • Being the adult
    by Julie Nariman on July 19, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    As I’m hiring for the next school year, I’m starting to see a key teacher quality I hadn’t recognized before: the ability to be an adult around teenagers. This may sound obvious.  What I mean is that the teacher knows that they are the adult, and that the student is a kid who may not yet … Continue reading Being the adult

  • Just a fun class
    by Julie Nariman on June 30, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    The High School of Language and Innovation was founded in 2011, and this year was our school’s fifth graduating class, the Class of 2019. Each graduating class has been unique in its personality.  They have different quirks and different gifts.  As I planned my graduation speech, I thought, “What make this class special?” Many answers … Continue reading Just a fun class

  • The graduation finish line
    by Julie Nariman on June 10, 2019 at 10:55 am

    The path to graduation is different for every student, and so is our approach. For some kids, we race to keep up with them: they excel in every course, so we look for new opportunities and train teachers to lead advanced courses. For other kids, it’s a matter of holding their hand: we offer extra … Continue reading The graduation finish lin

  • A test and a passion for eggs
    by Julie Nariman on May 10, 2019 at 10:58 am

    Our high school is made up almost entirely of newcomer immigrant English Language Learners.  Every May we give students a required test that measures English proficiency.   The test includes a a 15 minute speaking portion, which is delivered 1:1 by a teacher.  The speaking test starts with a simple Warm Up: “A. What is your … Continue reading A test and a passion for eggs

  • We want a mascot
    by Julie Nariman on May 3, 2019 at 10:43 am

    I’m always fascinated by what gets kids excited about school. Take a 12th grade student in my school, Rebecca.*  Rebecca is known for a sweet smile and enthusiastic participation.  However, at some point this year, everything got cloudy for her: nothing in school was fun or exciting.  A few teachers told me that she might … Continue reading We want a mascot

  • Come for the pizza, stay for the math
    by Julie Nariman on April 14, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    Our students are passionate about food.  This past week, I was reminded of how that passion can actually support learning. Our school is participating in NYC’s innovative Participatory Budgeting Program for students, in which the student body is given $2000 to spend on the school, using a democratic process to propose ideas and vote on … Continue reading Come for the pizza, stay for the mat

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