This fall, the Bronx Delta School in Throggs Neck will open its doors to students for the first time.
The new public elementary school is the brain child of Principal Daniel Racic, who was recently a part of the founding team at PS 531 in the Bronx.
Racic, who taught technology, coached teachers and held other leadership positions in the school, said that being part of a new school was a turning point for him as an educator. The experience showed him how a team could create a positive school culture from the ground up,
“It was really exciting to me to be able to do something like that from scratch, to help an entirely new set of students,” said Racic.
The Bronx Delta School, which will offer classes to just pre-K and kindergarten students this year, has been in the works since March 2013.
The school is founded on the values of being purposeful, being joyous learners, and being kind, said Racic, and he’s spent the past year working to connect those ideals to specific teaching and administrative practices.
“Every step since then has been about flushing it out and making it real,” said Racic.
A key part of the school’s plan is to have students set goals each week or so, Racic said, in order for them to continually feel successful when meeting those goals. He feels that having students drive their own improvement is important.
“What I think makes a student succeed is that they get to take ownership of their learning,” said Racic.
The school will also emphasize an effective use of technology to empower students and allow them to be successful in the upper grades and beyond.
In addition to fostering academic improvement, Racic said the school will also encourage social and emotional development. Time will be set aside for teachers to specifically teach those skills, and students will set specific goals in those areas too.
“In order for students to be successful they need to strive to make improvements in social and emotional learning as well,” said Racic.
The name “Delta” comes from the delta symbol, a triangle. The three sides represent academics, social, and emotional learning, said Racic. The mathematical symbol also indicates change, which he said conveys the school’s mission.
The school itself is located in the IS 192 building on Hollywood Avenue, co-located with three other schools.
The first year, the school will comprise of one pre-K and two kindergarten classes, Racic said, which are already full, although parents may place their kids on a wait list. The school will remain small, he said, with just two classes per grade. The school will be fully enrolled with pre-K through fifth grade in Fall 2015, with a projected enrollment of 290 to 350.
The public school is non-zoned, which means students from all neighborhoods can apply, although Racic said the majority of enrolled students are from nearby neighborhoods.
For more information about the school or enrollment, visit www.bronxdelta.com.