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Fall 2010, Volume 3, Number 2

CHARACTER matters Our New High School Is Becoming a Reality …and our excitement is growing. urs will be the first new high school built in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx in over three decades. And it will be the only college preparatory high school in Hunts Point. On June 1st, ground was broken on our new 31,500-square foot high school building that will be located on Hunts Point Avenue, near our current Bryant Avenue location. Hyde-Bronx’s elementary and middle schools will remain at Bryant Avenue and Hyde-Bronx high school will be the sole occupant in the new building. The building will feature two well-equipped, stateof-the-art science labs, a roof-top recreation area and an oversized, highly functional, multi-purpose room that will serve as our cafeteria, gym and lecture hall. Hyde-Bronx opened in 2006 with 193 kindergarten and sixth grade students. When we are at full capacity in 2011, we will serve nearly 1,000 students from grades K–12. “The new school building will inspire continued excellence


among our students and allow them to learn in a building designed to serve their needs, help them meet their challenges and attain their academic goals,” said Herbert B. Fixler, Chairman of Hyde-Bronx’s Board of Trustees. “The new high school has been a major goal of ours since we opened our doors four years ago. Not only will it be a key component to revitalizing the underserved Hunts Point community, but through HydeBronx’s rigorous academic program and the school’s focus on developing students’ deeper character, we will also be preparing our high school students for college… and for life.” Last, but certainly not least, we’d like to thank Civic Builders, a nonprofit developer of facilities for high-performing charter schools in New York City, as well as the Low Income Investment Fund and Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group that collaborated with Civic Builders to provide financing. Without their help our new high school could never have become a reality. n

In This Issue

A Message from Our Head of School

Our New High School Is Becoming a Reality . . . . . . . . . 1 A Message from Our Head of School . . . . . . . . . . 2 Character First . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 You Can Help . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Congratulations Everyone! . . . . . . 4 Hyde-Bronx and the Community . . . . . . . . . . 5 Some Things You Should Know About Hyde-Bronx . . . . . . 6

Character Matters is published twice yearly by the Hyde Leadership Charter School 730 Bryant Avenue Bronx, NY 10474 Telephone: (718) 991-5500 Character Matters Staff: Editor-in-Chief: Susan Marber Contributing Writers/Reporters: Jennifer Burns, Mark Fusco, Betsy Olney, Anne Taibleson, Cliff van Voorhees, Cindy Warnick Contributing Photographers: Lupita Alvarez, Debra Breganza, Alexcia Burch-Daniels Consultant: AnnaLee Wilson Design: Kaeser and Wilson Design Ltd. Hyde Leadership Charter School School Leadership Team: Joanne W. Goubourn, Executive Director Betsy Olney, Head of School Cliff van Voorhees, Chief Operating Officer Celia Sosa, Director of High School Liz Martin, Director of Middle School Ken Kern, Director of Elementary School Cindy Warnick, Director of Family Learning Center Yvonnia Wise, Director of School Culture Maureen Greco-Blois, Special Education Coordinator

Dear friends and supporters, It’s hard to ignore the buzz around education reform these days: Race to the Top, performance-based pay, Waiting for Superman. While the call for improvement is certainly not new, we are feeling the urgency more than ever. Internationally, the U.S. is losing ground: among 30 developed countries, we rank 21st in the world in science, 25th in math, and we have stagnated at 15th in college graduation rates. Within our own country, the achievement gap persists, and in our own city, students are struggling to even make it through high school; currently, 1.1 million children attend the NYC public schools, and 37% of them drop out. New York has also taken a more honest look at its own assessment measures and has responded by raising its standards. With the raising of the standards, we are more motivated than ever to further strengthen our academic program to ensure that our students are well prepared to succeed in college and in life. We have analyzed the areas in which we want to improve and are addressing them with our students. With our committed staff, families, and supporters, I have no doubt that Hyde-Bronx’s academic program will strengthen in order to ensure readiness both for college and the 21st century. The positive momentum is palpable and real. We have grown from a school of 193 students in 2006 to 727 students this year. Just a few blocks away, our brand new high school building is being constructed and is expected to open its doors to students in the fall of 2011. Two boroughs away, Hyde-Brooklyn opened its school doors this past September. As someone who started her career at the Hyde-Bath boarding campus and has been at Hyde-Bronx since its inception, it’s both inspiring and humbling to see how far the urban public effort has come. None of this could have been accomplished without the relentless commitment from our students, staff, families, Board of Trustees, and donors. Despite the state of our nation and the economic hardships that our families currently face, Hyde continues to gain strength, and I am so very grateful and appreciative to be part of this community. I feel honored and excited to be the new Head of School, and I look forward to taking on the challenges ahead! Sincerely,

“Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are, to some extent, a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it, piece by piece—by thought, choice, courage, and determination.”

Betsy Olney Head of School

Board of Trustees: Herbert B. Fixler, Board Chair Esther Alexander, Wilder D. Baker, Deborah Dumont, Herbert M. Kaplan, Jeffrey Lund, Robert F. Rosario, David M. Steadly

—H. Jackson Brown, Life’s Little Instruction Book

© 2010 Hyde Leadership Charter School 2


The Importance of Focusing on “One Thing” We continue the Hyde Family Learning Center’s series of helpful tips for parents—and frankly everyone—on character building. e all want to be the best parents we can be. In our quiet moments, sometimes we have reasons to congratulate ourselves because we saw our child be kind to a stranger, or start homework without prompting. Then we celebrate our child’s character and what we must be doing right! In other quiet moments we may worry about some of the ways we see our children acting. But mostly we hurry between jobs, school, family gatherings and activities noticing how things are going, but unable to make a plan for positive changes. One tool the Hyde Family Program recommends (and uses) is the “One Thing.” The idea behind the One Thing is that when we want to change ourselves, or even start a big project, we can easily become overwhelmed. We only see how much there is to get done, or


how complicated it will be. With the One Thing, we decide on one action we can take consistently to move toward our goal and we focus on that. Often getting started can be the hardest part; we make that easy by picking just one thing to work on. Then we usually feel successful! As an example of how you might use this to benefit your family, look at the importance of family routines. Children benefit from routines in their lives. This is true whether the child is 6 or 16. There are many distractions in our world—TVs, phones, video games— and it can be hard for children to use their time wisely. As parents, when we develop routines for dinner, homework and bedtime, it helps our children keep on track. n

If you knew you could help change a child’s life for the better, wouldn’t you do it? Your donation to Hyde-Bronx can make an enormous difference in affecting the lives of some very special children living in the poorest Congressional district in the United States. Children who may be disadvantaged, but aspire to a better life… the way we all do. Hyde-Bronx not only inspires students to work hard on their academic studies and realize the importance of a good college education, but importantly, we are providing the necessary character compass tools for our students to become responsible, ethical and contributing adults. If you believe that Hyde-Bronx students deserve the opportunity to have their minds opened to their true potential and to be prepared for success in college and in life, please offer your financial support. Whether you are in a position to contribute a lot or just a little, it will make an enormous difference. Did you know…

• Charter schools are tuition-free public schools and all children are able to apply; • Charter schools offer the flexibility to innovate and provide students with increased educational options within the public school system; • In New York City, charter schools receive $3,017 less funding per student than regular public schools? To donate

Please send your donation to: Serving the Community The Hyde/Hunts Point Youth Ambassadors, a group of 40 Hyde-Bronx students who are working to make Hunts Point a safer place for its residents, accept an award from World Vision for their service to the Hunts Point community. They are accompanied by Yvonnia Wise (far right), Hyde-Bronx’s Director of School Culture, and Ricardo Paredes (far left) from the Graham Windham Beacon After School Program.


Lupita Alvarez Development Manager Hyde-Bronx Development Office 730 Bryant Avenue Bronx, NY 10474 or contact Lupita at 1-718-991-5500 or

CONGRATULATIONS Everyone! e are pleased to announce the promotions of Betsy Olney and Joanne Goubourn. Betsy Olney has been with HydeBronx since the school opened in 2006 and for the past four years served as Assistant Head of School. She has led the school in areas of curriculum development, instructional strategies, professional development and the hiring, supervision and evaluation of Hyde-Bronx directors and teachers. Prior to coming to Hyde-Bronx, she taught at the Hyde boarding school in Bath, Maine and completed her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership at Harvard University.


Betsy Olney (left) and Joanne Goubourn

Joanne Goubourn, who has been our Head of School, will now be Executive Director, shifting her focus to community relations, development, and public relations while continuing to supervise our Family Learning Center. She will also expand her responsibilities as Executive Director of the Hyde Foundation. Congratulations to both of these exceptional women who have been the key leaders in Hyde-Bronx’s success. A Goal Well Met: 94.7% Attendance Rate We are pleased report that the New York City Department of Education graded Hyde-Bronx “A” on our Environment for Learning. When we opened Hyde-Bronx in 2006 in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx—the poorest Congressional district in the United States—we were determined to have our students learn in a safe, disciplined, supportive environment. Our goal was to have a school where students wanted to come every day because teachers believed in them and had high expectations. A school where

classrooms and halls were safe, communication was clear, and teachers and students alike were engaged in learning. From day one we focused on developing the kind of learning environment that builds confidence, self-esteem, selfdiscipline, and a safe environment where boundaries are clearly defined. With our attendance rate average at 94.7%, clearly we have achieved our goal of being a school where students want to come and participate in learning. We are particularly pleased to have this recognized by the New York City Department of Education. Kindergarteners Express the Virtues of Character At last June’s kindergarten graduation, our small but mighty graduating students showed that they were on the road to understanding those qualities that help individuals develop their own unique potential. The kindergarteners’ bravura inaugural performance of Hyde’s Five Words expressed the foundation of Hyde’s character-based education. We’d like to share this little poem with you since these five words are the yardstick by which we at Hyde-Bronx measure success and they are meaningful whether you’re a fully grown adult or just moving on to first grade and Teacher Yasmin Jones and preparing for life. graduate Robert Dunn Jr. Courage is being brave and doing something tough. Curiosity is wanting to learn about lots of stuff. Integrity is being responsible and doing the right thing. Concern is showing others you care about their feelings. Leadership is helping others learn how to do their best. When I use these Five Words, I am a success! n


TEACHING Matters Our teachers are Hyde-Bronx’s most valuable assets, and we want to recognize just some of our faculty for their latest achievements and accomplishments.

Congratulations to… La’Shawn Martinez, Middle School reading specialist, on being selected as one of only six recipients of the prestigious 2010 NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award. Celia Sosa, who completed the Emerging Leader Fellow program at the Charter Center and in September became our new high school director. Elizabeth Babyatzky, former Hyde-Bronx sixth grade teacher, on graduating from the Teachers College Summer Principals Academy. Eduardo Calderon, Sixth grade teacher, on being accepted and starting at the Teachers College Summer Principals Academy. Laura Troy, Tenth grade mathematics teacher, on being cited as conducting the “best math lesson [the education reviewer] had ever seen!” during an official school review de-brief. Kristen Kell and Matthew Hittenmark for both being accepted into the Emerging Leader Fellow program for the 2010–11 school year. Matt Hittenmark, Athletic Director, for the outstanding job he did representing Hyde-Bronx on WNBC’s New York Nightly News with Chuck Scarborough.

Debra Breganza

HYDE-BRONX and the Community

Our City National Bank friends Carlos Archie (left) and Nicole Joseph (middle), and head of school Betsy Olney (right) bring smiles to the faces of our Hyde-Bronx students with generous gifts of books, backpacks and school supplies.

Partnering with Our Community Hyde-Bronx has continued to cultivate crucial partnerships with community organizations in an effort to strengthen our campaign for change in Hunts Point. The Point, a prominent local center where Bronx youth can develop academically, civically and artistically, is one such partner. With the intent of underscoring the need for a bigger anti-violence campaign in our community, a group of our 10th grade students presented their poetry and personal narratives to community members on November 12th at the Point’s theater. Our thanks to 10th grade English teacher Mark Fusco for organizing this critically important effort. Another of our community partners, Iridescent, is new to Hunts Point and focuses on generating interest in science by making cutting edge technology uniquely exciting. This winter, a group of our third to seventh grade students and their parents will start a one-month weekly evening session featuring handson, interactive lessons in the Iridescent Science Studio. Taught by engineers and scientists who are coached in making complex scientific concepts engaging and fun, students and their parents will learn about momentum by riding around a track in bumper cars and about magnetism and waves by understanding how these principles make an MRI machine work. Wow!

The New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund board of trustees with our own Anne Taibleson, Development Director (second from left) and Lupita Alvarez, Development Manager (middle), accepting a grant for Hyde-Bronx’s Family Learning Center.

A Million Thanks to Our City National Friends! A group of City National Bank employees have bestowed valuable gifts upon the students of Hyde-Bronx. Thanks to our City National Bank friends, Hyde-Bronx students are the happy recipients of hundreds of books, dictionaries, backpacks and an assortment of school supplies. City National Bank is headquartered in California with branch offices all over the United States, including midtown Manhattan. The Bank has been great supporters of our Hyde-Bronx students and we are honored to be a part of the City National family. Hyde-Bronx Awarded Grant for Family Learning Center For the second year in a row, the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund has awarded Hyde-Bronx a grant to further its important academic and character-building work. The gift was made to fund one of the Family Learning Center’s weekend off-campus Family Retreats. Anne Taibleson, Hyde-Bronx’s Director of Development, and Lupita Alvarez, Development Officer, attended the Grant Award Ceremony on September 21. Members of the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund Board of Trustees were on hand to present the awards, and it was a happy day for Hyde-Bronx and many of our neighborhood partners. 5

Athletic Director Matthew Hittenmark on NBC News Chosen from thousands of New York City public school teachers, Hyde-Bronx’s very own Matt Hittenmark appeared on New York Nightly News with Chuck Scarborough on September 27th. Matt participated in an informal debate with a fellow teacher from a local Bronx public school, and because of his enthusiasm and expert “testimony” he was a great representative and advocate of HydeBronx and its major focus of character development for all our students.

The occasion was NBC’s week-long “Education Nation” Summit, with education experts from all over the country discussing the challenges, potential solutions, and innovations spanning today’s education landscape. Participants included Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education; Joel Klein, former Commissioner of the New York City Schools; and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Matt was in excellent company, and received rave reviews for his impressive television news debut. n

Some Things You Should Know About Hyde-Bronx


Halloween Parade Hyde-Bronx’s elementary school trick or treaters, including third grade teachers Yasmin Jones and Melanie Symister, celebrate the Halloween holiday.



REGISTER YOUR E-MAIL NOW All you have to do is go to, register your e-mail and we’ll keep you up to date on Hyde-Bronx happenings. The link is found under “Spotlight News” on the right hand side of the home page.



According to the Department of Education School Survey, 99% of our parents were satisfied/highly satisfied with the education their children received at Hyde-Bronx. Teacher turnover is well below most other NYC public schools. Average attendance for all grades is 94.7%. Hyde-Bronx offers nineteen afterschool sport programs. Since our inception in 2006, we’ve operated on a fiscally sound basis. Our new high school building is scheduled to open in 2011!

Hyde Leadership Charter School 730 Bryant Avenue Bronx, NY 10474 (718) 991-5500


We currently serve children in kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth grades and are on-track to offer grades K-12 in just two more years.



As Hyde-Bronx starts its fifth year, we have 727 students.

Hyde Leadership Charter School (Hyde-Bronx) is the fifth Hyde school, founded on Joseph Gauld’s premise that character development and active family involvement are essential components in teaching children to become responsible, ethical and successful human beings. Our school prides itself on nurturing socially responsible leaders through character development, academic rigor, and family renewal.


Character Matters Fall 2010  

CM Fall 2010