The Bronx Charter School for Better Learning provides its students with a solid foundation for academic success, through achievement that exceeds citywide averages and meets or exceeds New York State Standards and national norms in all curriculum areas tested, especially in mathematics and language arts.
Our teaching constantly adjusts to the needs of our students, leading to independence, autonomy, responsibility, and a sustained love of learning, all of which contribute directly to high academic achievement.
The Bronx Charter School for Better Learning was founded in 2003 by experienced teachers and school administrators, each of whom had worked in schools serving low-income communities. Several of our founders gave up managerial positions and returned to the classroom to achieve a long-held goal: to demonstrate the value of an educational approach, known as the Subordination of Teaching to Learning, that can dramatically improve the school experience of any child, regardless of socio-economic background.
Almost all of our students are Hispanic and African-American, many from families that include recent immigrants from Jamaica. Over 75 percent of our students are from low-income families. We currently serve 386 students in Grades K through 5.
At the Bronx Charter School for Better Learning, we strive to create an atmosphere where each child's innate ability to learn is nurtured, protected and directed toward mastering all traditional subjects. Our pedagogy, the Subordination of Teaching to Learning, was developed by Dr. Caleb Gattegno (1911-1988). Dr. Gattegno's precise techniques and materials enable students to master new skills with minimal interference from the teacher. As a result, learning continues to be a joyous experience for the children, instead of the drudgery they might otherwise encounter in more conventional schools.
We are delighted that our students have performed so well and we look forward to continual gains. We are also thrilled that our children seem genuinely happy to be here, and that so many visitors marvel at our school's calm and friendly atmosphere.
AWAKENING THE LEARNER WITHIN
Some schools look at their students as empty vessels, waiting to be "filled-up" with words coming from a teacher standing in front of the classroom. We don't. At the Bronx Charter School for Better Learning, we know that every child comes to us already equipped with a remarkable power to learn. Our job is to nurture that power, to let it grow and develop, so it stays strong and vibrant, not only for the next lesson or the next test, but for a lifetime.
Based on the work of educator, Caleb Gattegno, our philosophy recognizes that by the age of two or three we learn to speak, perhaps life's most challenging intellectual task. And, we do so essentially by ourselves! That incredible feat pays tribute to the powerful learner within us.
The learner within us can thrive in a school environment or it can atrophy. We do not let the latter happen at our school. A school day dedicated to drilling and endless memorization can provide children with the "right answers," but they may come at a great price: a duller mind and a diminished desire to learn. When school days encourage curiosity and exploration, students stay connected to their intrinsic power to learn, along with the sheer joy that comes with such learning. Those are the days we endeavor to create.
Far from easy, our approach requires a commitment of the teacher to meet each child where he or she is at each moment. Only then can the teacher become aware of how the student is approaching the task put in front of him or her. Our teachers do not interfere with the learning process by simply supplying answers, asking overly leading questions or depriving the student of the time needed to reflect on the given challenge. Aware of their natural ability to self-teach, teachers give only what students would not be able to figure out for themselves. In that way our children become responsible for their own academic learning. Of course, they do arrive at the "right answers," but far more important, in the process they develop a better understanding and a sustained awareness of the learner within, which will serve them for the rest of their lives.