Interview with Arnette Crocker, Principal, Young Women’s
newly opened Young Women’s Leadership School,
modeled on its successful predecessor in Harlem and
founded by Ann Tisch, is a public, single gender school
in the Bronx. Ed.
Describe the philosophy underlying the Young Women’s
Arnette Crocker: The
mission of The Young Women’s Leadership School, Bronx
Campus (TYWLS, Bronx) is to create a community of lifelong
learners. TYWLS, Bronx is committed to nurturing the intellectual
curiosity and creativity of young women, and to address
their developmental needs. The school community will cultivate
dynamic, participatory learning, enabling students to experience
great success at many levels, especially in the fields
of math, science, and technology. These future scholars
will be exposed to a rigorous, college preparatory curriculum
that will encourage them to achieve their
personal best. TYWLS,
Bronx will work collaboratively with families to instill
in students a sense of community and ethical principles of
behavior. TYWLS, Bronx students are expected to attend college
and become the leaders of tomorrow.
TYWLS, Bronx is a part
of a nationwide network of single-gender schools started
by The Young Women’s
Leadership Foundation (YWL Foundation).
EU: What are the criteria for admission?
Ms. Crocker: Girls
apply to the school via the Middle School Admissions process.
Interested girls are invited to one of a series of open houses
to determine whether the school is right for them. A percentage
of the girls are recommended for acceptance, by TYWLS Recruitment
Committee. The remaining percentage is determined via a lottery
system implemented by the Regional Learning Center (RLC).
EU: How was the geographical area in the Bronx
Ms. Crocker: The
former superintendent of Bronx High Schools, Dr. Norman Wechsler,
approached Ann Tisch to negotiate the opening of an all boys
and an all girls’ school within the Bronx high school
district. When the districts were converted into regions
the new regional superintendent, Laura Rodriquez, embraced
and supported this effort.
EU: What were some of the challenges in setting
up the school?
Ms. Crocker: The greatest challenge
in setting up the school was preparing the space for the first day of school.
EU: How is funding provided?
Ms. Crocker: The
school is funded by the Department of Education, The Young
Women’s Leadership Foundation, and the Gates
EU: What grades are included? How many students
in the school? Student to teacher ratio? Average number of
students per class?
Ms. Crocker: The
school is a uniform dress school designed for grades 7 through
12. The school opened its doors with grade 7 and four teachers.
The student- teacher ratio is 25 to 1. The
average number of students per class is 25.
EU: What are the plans for incorporating technology
into the curriculum?
Ms. Crocker: The theme of the school is leadership through math,
science and technology. The school has a computer lab and
each girl is scheduled for a technology class. Teachers use
the computer lab to enhance class projects through internet research.
Students use the computer lab to enhance writing skills.
Students will use technology to develop their end of the
year portfolio presentations.
EU: Are you accountable to the Dept of Education
as well as the board of the school?
there a plan for independent study? Plans for extracurricular
and arts education?
Ms. Crocker: There
are plans for independent study through the class projects
and portfolio presentations. There
are also plans for extracurricular and arts education through
our after school and Saturday Enrichment programs.
EU: What is your vision for the future?
Ms. Crocker: The vision of TYWLS,
Bronx is to replicate TYWLS of East Harlem, which has been
proven effective. For the past three years, 100 percent of
the graduates of TYWLS of East Harlem have been accepted into
four-year colleges. TYWLS
of East Harlem was rated the best school in NYC for admitting
middle school students who were below grade level and enabling
them to graduate on time. Our vision is to bring a similar
type of educational opportunity to young women in the Bronx.#