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Bronx Charter School for Excellence awarded National Blue Ribbon

Bronx Times

The Bronx Charter School for Excellence has certainly lived up to its name.

Atop the Parkchester school flutters a National Blue Ribbon flag, a unique award recently given to them by the U.S. Department of Education.

With a branch in Morris Park, it is the first Bronx charter school to receive such an honorary status.

Blue Ribbons recognize powerhouse schools like BCSE, a kindergarten through eighth grade institution that opened in 2004.

Education officials honored BCSE in the category of “Exemplary High Performing Schools”.

The school proudly claims the longest waiting list in the New York City public school system, with a whopping 3,000 students hoping to get in through the lottery system.

Parents have shed tears learning their child made it into the school. They’ve also shed tears when they haven’t.

“This is the first charter school in the Bronx ever to represent a Blue Ribbon.” said a proud Charlene Reid, doubling as principal for the 5th through 8th grade class and Head of School, overseeing its day-to-day operations.

For the past 30 years, the federal government has honored the nation’s most successful schools with the status, which education officials see as “a trademark for excellence.”

“These awards show that when we expect success, our students will perform at high levels,” said School Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

Education officials spent ten months reviewing BCSE’s five-year history after the state Education Department nominated the school.

The school’s message is increasing literacy rates for students, said elementary school principal Aleisha Burgos.

“Literacy is our foundation,” Burgos said.

The school is split between two buildings – one in Parkchester at 1960 Benedict Avenue, the other in Morris Park at 1804 Holland Avenue, with a total student body of 580.

In its initial year, BSCE opened with Kindergarten and fifth grade, adding a grade every year until capping it in eighth grade.

On top of its rigorous math and reading programs, the school has been successful in keeping its art and gym classes.

Principal Burgos has also introduced students to “16 Habits of Mind”, a critical thinking list developed by Art Costa and Bena Kallick.

Along with striving for accuracy and precision, the list also promotes “creating, imagining, and innovating” as another method to success.

A Nov. 12 awards ceremony will take place in Washington D.C., with 219 public and 50 private schools recognized.

Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or dcruz@cnglocal.com.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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