2019 Blackboard Award Honoree: Family Life Academy Charter School 2

Photo by Andrew Schwartz

Family Life Academy Charter School 2
Principal Kathy Ortiz-Herscher
Grades K-6
296 East 140th Street, Bronx

Award: Outstanding School

Describe your school’s core educational philosophy.

We are a community-grown charter school that is centered on the whole child. Family connection, health and wellness, and affirming human values are key tenets of our school community. We are clear that high test scores matter, but happy, emotionally healthy scholars matter more and take top priority. At the heart of our work, we believe that curriculum and instruction should be interdisciplinary, culturally relevant, and driven by inquiry filled with opportunities to engage in discourse, social advocacy, and fun! Yes, for us, fun matters!

Tell us about a few of the school’s achievements or distinguishing programs.

We offer Violin Studio (an after school program that teaches violin using the Suzuki Method of instruction), as well as Music Program and School Chorus (every year we host two recitals that showcase our students’ strong vocal skills), ukulele and guitar instruction in grades 4-6, and Drumming Circle (this group, started by one student who has taught almost 30 students how to drum, performs weekly for the entire school).

What’s new?

This school year students are taking the lead in creating and building their own clubs. Students are using their recess time and gathering after school to explore dance, writing slick raps, and even creating a music demo. Part of our vision is that students are self-empowered and we are seeing this, each and every day.

What do you love about your school?

What I appreciate most about my school is the deep commitment everyone shares in ensuring high-quality schooling for black and brown children. Every member of this school; teachers, teacher assistants, custodial staff, and school aides, all share the same mission, and that is to create a generation that is compassionate, brilliant, and called to do good for others. Here, we are leveling the playing field for some of New York’s neediest children by providing them with a private school caliber education in an environment that feels like love! Every time someone walks into our school, they all say, they can feel LOVE; it is evident in everything we do. So this is why I love, love, love my school.