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

  • Honking towards graduation
    by Julie Nariman on February 1, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Zamir* was a 12th grade student, originally from Albania.  He had come to New York with his older sister when he was in the 10th grade, and hadn’t seen his parents for almost 3 years.  His sister did her best to support him, but didn’t seem prepared to manage a teenage boy.  She also had … Continue reading Honking towards graduation

  • “5, 4, 3, 2, 1”
    by Julie Nariman on January 6, 2020 at 11:24 am

    In most high schools, something very dramatic happens every 45 to 60 minutes: students transition from one class to another.  A school that seems peaceful and quiet while everyone is in class, suddenly erupts as hundreds of teenagers are in the hallway. When my school first opened in 2011 with 90 students and 4 classrooms, … Continue reading “5, 4, 3, 2, 1”

  • Why I love 9th graders
    by Julie Nariman on November 16, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    I love 9th graders; this week, I experienced again why. Periodically, I visit every classroom to deliver a quick “check inâ€� or important message.  My visits can be to remind students of an expectation (“Let’s keep our cafeteria cleanâ€�), say “Thank youâ€� for an exemplary behavior, or reinforce a value we’re teaching, like persevering through … Continue reading Why I love 9th graders

  • 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”

  • 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 school

  • 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 line

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