Page 1


Spring 2010, Volume 3, Number 1

CHARACTER matters Bright, Shiny… and New New High School Building Nearly a Reality! yde Leadership Charter School (Hyde-Bronx) took a giant step forward in its short history this March when it entered into a 35-year lease for a brand new high school building. The building will be located on Hunts Point Avenue, just around the corner from the school’s current location and will host 300 students. Civic Builders, Inc. will construct the building and HydeBronx will be the sole occupant. The elementary and middle schools will remain on Bryant Avenue. Occupancy is expected as early as the 2011-12 academic year. In its three plus years of operation, Hyde-Bronx has grown from a school with two grades and 188 students, to eight grades and nearly 600 students. When the new high school building opens, Hyde-Bronx will serve almost 1,000 students in grades K through 12. ■


Volunteers Help Spruce Up Library and Hallways yde-Bronx partnered with City Year, a non-profit AmeriCorps organization, to celebrate Martin Luther King Day with a day of transformational service. Martin Luther King Jr. believed that “everybody can be great because everybody can serve,” and on March 18th more than 1,200 volunteers from all over New York came out to volunteer in schools, senior centers and daycare centers throughout the South Bronx. Over 60 volunteers, including 14 Hyde-Bronx faculty members, worked to make Hyde-Bronx into an even more inspiring learning environment. In addition to building bright blue book shelves to hold the elementary reading library, volunteers painted the five Hyde words that are at the core of Hyde’s philosophy—Courage, Integrity, Leadership, Curiosity, Concern—murals, quotes and poems throughout the building. ■


Kindergarten associate teacher Nisrine Shehadeh, 7th grade English language teacher Heather Christianson, Heather's friend Zaw Win, and Elementary Performing Arts teacher John Swader paint a Hyde-Bronx hallway.

In This Issue

A Message from Our Head of School

Bright, Shiny… and New . . . . . . . 1

Dear Friends, A miraculous thing is happening here at Hyde-Bronx. I have been working with the Hyde public school initiative for several years now and have never experienced this kind of ongoing energy and commitment. From the start, we have struggled and fought for our students. The Board of Trustees, the faculty, the staff and the families of Hyde Leadership Charter School have created a community that can beat the odds and make things happen! And for that I am so thankful and appreciative. For example, we have made our presence known in Albany as advocates for ourselves and for the national Charter School movement. We have created an outstanding science lab, where our students experience exciting hands-on learning. We have formed a Student Ambassadors group, joining young Hyde leaders with students from other schools in our building to represent the best in all of us. And perhaps most thrilling: our students will soon have the opportunity to attend a brand new high school designed just for them, with them in mind— their needs, their challenges, their academic pursuits. Our new high school building (scheduled to be open by 2011-12) will have the Hyde program at its center, with a unique design to inspire continued excellence. When I look at the children and families we serve here in Hunts Point, I see an amazing resilience and love of life. I see tenacity, strength, endurance and proven ability to move beyond the moment and go after dreams of the future. I am so proud of what has been created and accomplished here, and so grateful to be part of this community. As always, my colleagues and I recognize that our ongoing accomplishments and future plans rely on the support of our loyal donors and new friends. I cannot overstate our appreciation—especially during a time of continuing fiscal uncertainty. So let me take this opportunity to again thank our donors for helping us make such an enormous difference in the futures of some incredible children.

A Message from Our Head of School . . . . . . . . . . 2 Character First . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Parent Profile: Ana Figueroa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 News Bites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Big Step Forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 What Is A Charter School? . . . . . . 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: Liz Babyatzky, Jennifer Burns, Herb Fixler, Joanne Goubourn, Valarie Hunsinger, Betsy Olney, Zoe Roben, Cliff van Voorhees, Perry Wargo, Cindy Warnick Contributing Photographers: Lupita Alvarez, Liz Babyatzky, Herb Fixler, Christine Moloughney Consultant: AnnaLee Wilson Design: Kaeser and Wilson Design Ltd. Hyde Leadership Charter School School Leadership Team: Joanne W. Goubourn, Head of School Betsy Olney, Assistant Head of School Cliff van Voorhees, Chief Operating Officer Liz Martin, Director of Middle School Ken Kern, Director of Elementary School Katie Ruback, Assistant Director of Elementary School Cindy Warnick, Director of Family Learning Center Yvonnia Wise, Director of School Culture Maureen Greco-Blois, Special Education Coordinator Board of Trustees: Joanne W. Goubourn, Head of School Herbert B. Fixler, Board Chair Wilder D. Baker, Deborah Dumont, Herbert M. Kaplan, Jeffrey Lund, David M. Steadly, Robert F. Rosario

Joanne W. Goubourn Head of School

Who We Are 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.

Our Mission The mission of Hyde-Bronx is to develop the deeper character and unique potential of each student. Using the Hyde process for Family-based Character Education, HydeBronx unites parents, teachers and students in helping each student achieve his or her best. Rigorous learning attitudes, leadership skills and good social conscience lay the foundation for each student’s success in college and fulfillment in life.

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.

© 2010 Hyde Leadership Charter School 2


Two Simple Parenting Guidelines Welcome to the first in a series of helpful tips on character development from Hyde-Bronx’s Family Learning Center. We’d like to share with you some of the many things we talk about with our students’ families. arenting is a demanding job, as Laura and Malcolm Gauld wrote in their book, The Biggest Job We’ll Ever Have: the Hyde Program for CharacterBased Education and Parenting. As parents, we hear lots of advice about how to do this job. How can we narrow down all the input to something simple? There is one broad approach everyone seems to agree on: Model the behavior and attitudes you want to see in your children. As we strengthen our own character we show our children how to strengthen theirs. Ok, but what do we actually do? Follow these top two guidelines:


1. BE TRUTHFUL To have honest children, we need to model honesty at every turn. Example: When I got to the store parking lot I saw an unpaid for pair of socks under my shopping bag. I didn't want to return to the store but I knew that my children needed to see me doing the inconvenient, but honest step of taking time to go back in and either returning or paying for the socks. I was tempted to take them or just leave them in the cart since no one had noticed them. These options came to mind not because I'm dishonest, but because I never have enough time! But... doing the right thing in that moment was important for my conscience, and also for teaching my children that we tell the truth even when it's a bother to do so. 2. BE A LEARNER Our children will have better lives if they are engaged learners, not just in the

classroom, but in all aspects of their lives. This learning happens in a number of ways. We can seek out information, for example by reading the newspaper and by asking questions. We can also be willing listeners. When I come home and see that there is a nasty mess in my kitchen, my temper immediately rises. I show my children that I’m a learner when, instead of yelling, I first take the time to listen and learn that they were trying to make play dough from a recipe they found. Now I need to teach them, and they need to learn, how to do a thorough job of cleaning up after themselves. There is a reason there are so many adages like, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” and “Practice what you preach.” Our children take in everything we do. As we work to become better people ourselves, we get the double benefit of being the role models our children deserve. ■

Try This Family Discovery Activity at Home huge February snowstorm forced the cancellation of the school’s monthly Parent Discovery program, where parents and guardians of HydeBronx students meet in small groups to work on their issues. The icy blast came right before the winter vacation so the Family Learning Center (FLC) provided families with an activity they could do together at home. The at-home assignment focused on Hyde’s five words: Courage, Curiosity, Concern, Integrity and Leadership. It asked family members to share their feelings with each other around topics such as: • You inspire me when you… • Something I’d like to know more about but have never asked you… • Of the five words, the one I think is a strength of yours is... • Something you need to work on is…


The families then talked about what they learned from the activity and the feelings expressed by each family member. Here are a few of the responses parents wrote to the FLC: “No matter what are our weaknesses and strengths, we try our best to make each other happy! But we need to communicate more.” (Kindergarten) “We experienced more love together. It was amazing.” (Kindergarten) “It was nice to sit and discuss our individual strengths and struggles.” (First grade) “One thing we learned is that people have to forgive each other.” (First grade) “One thing I learned 3

is that Ryan and I have a lot of things in common, and we were both surprised to find that out!” (Third grade) “We discovered things we didn’t know about each other…” (Sixth grade) “One thing we learned is that we should talk in private more often with no yelling or negative feelings.” (Ninth grade) “No matter how much something may hurt, it’s very important that we remain honest.” (Ninth grade) If you’d like to try this activity with your family, just send an email to and we’ll send you the activity directions. ■


Parent involvement is the key to student success. Hyde School’s distinguishing feature— Family-based Character Education—requires a commitment from parents/guardians that goes well beyond academics. As parents go after their personal best, they teach their children to do the same. Practicing the Hyde process of self discovery just as their students do, parents attend monthly parent meetings and weekend retreats.

na Figueroa, the mother of five children, moves briskly wherever she goes. It’s not that she’s in a hurry, it’s that she is eager—to meet a commitment, to connect with other people, to experience life. Born in the Bronx and raised with two younger brothers near Southern Boulevard, Figueroa remembers a happy childhood with “strict parents—very


to begin college work. Through her cousin, Figueroa met her soon-to-be husband, Jesus Gonzalez. They fell in love and quickly started a family. Their oldest daughter, Evelyn, was born in 1993, daughter Tiffani came a year later, and in 1996 twins Andrew and Emily Gonzalez, now Hyde 8th-graders, were born. The youngest child, Jennifer, was born in 2005.

Figueroa says she “knew right away” that Hyde was the right choice for her family. strict,” she says. Her parents worked hard to make ends meet and were proud of their children. “My parents were Spanish-speaking and that’s all we spoke at home. When I got to school, I had to learn English quickly. And I did.” Figueroa attended public schools in the Bronx. “Education was always important,” she says. After graduating high school in 1991, she deferred her hopes for college to help care for her ailing mother. At the same time, she started a job—“I worked at the first Foot Locker when it opened here!” she says proudly—and soon enrolled part time at Taylor Business Institute in Manhattan

With her large family, Figueroa learned to juggle family, work and education. She recalls how economic factors sometimes forced her and Jesus “to switch what we were doing.” Through the years it seemed one parent was always working and one always taking care of the kids. Figueroa also found time to complete a semester at Monroe College, and aims to earn her Business Associate and Bachelor degrees in the future. Although she is now working fulltime as a school aide and depot manager (technology) at the Urban Institute of Math, Figueroa also makes time to volunteer in her community. In addition,


she is a member of Hyde’s Parent Council, which advises the Head of School and other administrators on issues of school policy. Figueroa chose Hyde for Andrew and Emily after doing “a lot of research.” She liked the structured days, the dress code requirements, the high expectations, “but especially the parent involvement,” she says. “I really liked how things are run with the school and the parents and students together.” Having spent many years volunteering in the schools her children attended, Figueroa says she “knew right away” that Hyde was the right choice for her family. “The character part is wonderful. It has helped our family a lot. From my twins, I know I’ll always get the truth from them—the truth about how they feel and what’s going on. I also think Hyde has helped them—and all of us— see the importance of putting in your best effort.” Figueroa has been on two weekend retreats with Emily and Andrew, both retreats held at Hyde’s boarding school campus in Woodstock, CT. “The retreats were really good, and good for us,” she says. “It was such a new experience—to go away and spend quality time with the twins alone. I really learned a lot. I especially learned how to see them fully as separate individuals, not just ‘the twins.’ The retreats helped me listen to them and opened my eyes to my role in their lives.” The qualities that Figueroa is most proud to be modeling for her children include “being responsible, making good decisions and taking care of the things that are important.” She acknowledges that by her example, her children have learned “to stand up for yourself. That is so important in the world today.” Finally, for herself, Figueroa says she has learned “to step back and breathe. To speak what’s on my mind. I’m always learning from other people. That’s one reason I like the retreats and parent nights at Hyde. I get a lot out of the feedback from others.” ■ —Cindy Warnick, Family Learning Center Director

HELP CHANGE LIVES As Hyde-Bronx continues to expand, we face growing fundraising needs. We started our 2009-10 campaign from a place of gratitude for the many contributions and grants Hyde-Bronx received over its first three years from individuals, foundations, corporations and governmental agencies. We are reapproaching our current supporters with confidence as we ask them to renew their contributions. That confidence comes from the conviction that we are showing them a great return on their investments. Recognizing the school's growing needs, we are making every effort to identify new supporters to fund our after-school and weekend learning programs, our student enrichment programs, our after-school music lessons, our thriving athletics program and our student and parent retreats. With reduced state and city funding, these vital programs are at risk of being cut, whereas they need to be expanded in line with our expanding student population. Beyond programmatic needs, we must secure funding for furniture, fixtures and equipment for the new Hyde-Bronx high school building that will hopefully open its doors for the 2011-12 academic year. Hyde-Bronx heavily depends on funding from New York State to cover our basic program costs. Unfortunately, the State has had to reduce its support in 2009-10, leaving Hyde-Bronx $500,000 behind what the law designated for our support. We now face further anticipated State budget cuts. We ask everyone who believes in the mission of Hyde-Bronx to offer your financial support and to reach out to others who may be in a position to help Hyde-Bronx. You can make a real difference in children’s futures! Please send donations to: Lupita Alvarez, Development Office Hyde Leadership Charter School 730 Bryant Avenue, Bronx, NY 10474 Checks should be made out to: Hyde Leadership Charter School. If you have any questions, contact Lupita Alvarez at or call 1-718-991-5500. ■

NEWSBites Passing with Flying Colors! Congratulations to our 9th graders (and their amazing teachers) for doing so well on the Integrated Algebra Regents exam. Of those who took the winter exam, 84% passed! Our goal for the spring exam is that 100% of 9th graders will pass. Stay tuned! Mind Expansion Some of our middle-school scholars are thirsty for even more challenges and that is exactly what Hyde-Bronx’s afterschool enrichment program is providing. Our advanced learners are engaging in a series of high-level multi-curricular projects each week designed to push them above their grade level, provide them with a greater breadth of learning and encourage them to think critically and strategically. Projects included… • Operation Egg Drop where student teams used recyclable materials from the community to create a safety vehicle for an egg which was then dropped from six feet. All unbroken eggs were winners. • Invent and Sell where students researched the national invention and

marketing process and came up with an invention. Without funds, they developed it, presented their product, marketed it to other students and staff and entered national competitions. • Photo-Voice where students were given digital cameras to capture images around the Hunts Point community and used the photos to document essays which talked to the unique potential of our community and the things they saw around them. 9th Grade Podcasts Online! Since the 1950s, NPR has invited Americans to write essays about their personal life philosophies and share them with others. Our 9th graders put a tremendous amount of effort into examining their own beliefs and expressing them in a meaningful way. Check it out on A Blogger in Our Midst Be sure to catch what education expert and Hyde-Bronx board member Deborah Dumont has to say about important educational issues on her new blog on ■

Big Step Forward hank you donors! With your contributions, Hyde-Bronx was able to open a beautiful new working science lab this year for our middle and high school students. International studies have shown that U.S. students fall behind other countries in science after the fourth grade and this is especially true among disadvantaged populations. Our new lab will give our budding scientists an opportunity to have hands-on experience with testing and gathering data in earth science, biology and physical science. Students will also learn to function in a lab setting where biological, soil and geological materials are tested and analyzed. With the increased need for more and better scientists, we anticipate this new lab will motivate a number of our



students to consider majoring in one of the sciences in college and moving on to a career in this important area. Thanks again for all your help in making this possible. ■

What Is a Charter School? operate under a performance contract. They are freed from a bit of the red tape and bureaucracy in exchange for rigorous accountability for student achievement. While this is a good thing, the state funding that charter schools receive is limited to less than 80% of what regular public schools receive per student, and a charter school is expected to fund any additional needs from donations. Charter schools offer the flexibility to innovate and provide students with

increased educational options within the public school system. In the case of Hyde-Bronx, in addition to a rigorous academic program, students are exposed to the Hyde Family-based Character Education culture. Hyde’s primary mission is to prepare students for college and for life by helping them to learn, embrace, and adopt a Character Compass that will guide them throughout their lives. â–

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

n New York, charter schools are state chartered, tuition-free public schools which receive funding from the local Department of Education and are open to all students. However, there are some major differences versus traditional public schools. Charter schools usually have specific organizing themes and/or educational philosophies that distinguish them from traditional public schools. Charter schools are governed by an independent board of trustees and


Character Matters Spring 2010  

CM Spring 2010

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you