Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Schoolmaster Shimon

Barbara Bensoussan

When Shimon Waronker brought M.S. 22 in the South Bronx — one of the most violent schools in the New York City system — from a gang-ridden F-grade institution to an A-grade academy, the media sang his praises. Now the courageous Lubavitcher chassid is running an experimental charter school, and has a revamped yeshivah system on his whiteboard.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Samuel J. Tilden High School in East Flatbush was built in 1927 and retains the gray, fortress-like look of a public institution where children are held captive to learn — or else. Today, almost a century later, the austere ambience is amplified by 21st-century technology: All who enter here must pass through metal detectors and surrender their bags for scanning. Once inside, however, the atmosphere lightens: Now we are in the hallways of a regular public school, with colorful bulletin boards and displays of students’ artwork. The mostly minority students look cheerful enough, as a culturally diverse group of teachers shepherds them from classroom to classroom. The far left wing ofTilden, however, houses a different educational creature: a charter school entitled The New American Academy. The Academy’s lottery-selected students range from kindergarten through third grade, with a higher grade added each year as the students move up. The brainchild of six principals enrolled in the Harvard Urban Superintendent doctoral program, it offers integrated instruction taught by teams of teachers who stay with the same students year by year, and has been hailed as a model for helping disadvantaged students succeed. The academy’s founder,Mr.ShimonWaronker, was one of the six original visionaries, and the only one to actually implement the group’s ideas (the others took positions as superintendents). Now in his early 40s, Waronker adds his own note of diversity toTilden: In addition to his tweed jacket and tie, he wears a yarmulke and a dark beard only beginning to show threads of gray. Raised in South America to Jewish-identified but largely nonpracticing parents, he spent time in the US Army before becoming a Lubavitcher chassid and teacher.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"