New American Academy Principal Shimon Waronker plans to open a trilingual elementary school in Brooklyn this September and the news has the whole city talking. Some of the discussions are about Waronker’s past achievements in New York schools, while other talks focus on the model of school that is planned on.
In an article carried by the New York Post, education reporter Yoav Gonan, the story about Waronker’s new school emerges.
Waronker, a Spanish-speaking Hasidic Jew who earned his stripes turning around one of the city’s most violent middle schools in The Bronx, will open a trilingual elementary school in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in September. The kids will all graduate fluent in Spanish and French, in addition to English.
The innovative public school will put 60 kids in a classroom with four teachers, who will stay with those same students from kindergarten all the way through fifth grade
Waronker, who hopes to open as many as 50 replications of the school by 2012 if the model takes off, believes the unusual set-up will help build deep relationships among teachers and students and will allow instructors to target their lessons to kids’ specific learning styles.
Many NYC residents are familiar with Rabbi Waronker’s work and his success in taking a failing school in a tough neighborhood, Junior High School 22, in the South Bronx, and turning it around. Waronker, a member of the Chabad-Lubavitch sect of Hasidic Judaism, is a former intelligence officer in the United State Army. The school he took over, Junior High School 22, was listed as one of the 12 most violent in New York, with active gangs, attacks, drug use and alcohol on campus.
The future of Waronker’s new school and its very progressive methods of group teaching to an essentially large student body with multiple teachers in open classrooms.