First new charter school of its kind opens in Throggs Neck

The Bronx Arts and Science Charter School held a ribbon cutting event in celebration of their first charter in the state of New York on Thursday, December 12.

The new charter school is a part of a satellite network of iLearn Schools, with the Throggs Neck location at 925 Hutchinson Parkway, being the first in New York.

The iLearn schools have 14 other charter schools in North Jersey, but expanded to New York this year, according to the school’s director Turan Balik.

Balik also mentioned the school makes a strong effort to compile their board of trustees from the community to better understand the students and their needs. Currently, three of the five members are from the Bronx.

The approximately 42,000 square foot building features a full sized gym, two cafeterias, sports fields, an art room, computer room and 25 teacher designated parking spots.

In total, 148 children attend the kindergarten through second grade and with the grades expanding with each corresponding year until the current second graders hit the fifth grade.

The STEAM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) school is a tuition free charter school taught in a digital learning based environment.

“We believe excellent teaching combined with proper technology integration empowers all our scholars to learn and achieve at their highest potential,” Balik said.

Balik explained the iLearn schools stand on five principles:

1.Technology integration

2.STEAM based curriculum

3.Data driven

4.Coaching model and professional development

5.Positive school culture and providing opportunities for student enrichment

Veronica Ramos is a first grade teacher at the school with 16 students in her class.

Ramos has been a teaching assitant for the past five years at a charter school in Queens, but now is a lead teacher for the first time.

Ramos herself has roots in the Bronx. She attended school in Co-op City.

She sees the advantage of going to charter schools because the classes are smaller and teachers can pay better attention to each student’s individual needs.

“Its really rewarding working here,” Ramos said, “The administration is great and encouraging.”

She spoke of the variety of after school clubs, including STEM, art and cooking and tutoring is available as well.

Ramos said she takes delight in the way the school incorporates the community and has parents involved.

The school consistently holds events involving parents, such as dinners and fundraisers.

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