Bracetti responds to accusations of discrimination
MBA Staff/Board of Trustees
Courtesy of Community Focus Newspaper
Mariana Bracetti was a strong, intelligent person who did not fear a challenge — especially when it came to fighting for her beloved island of Puerto Rico. That is one reason why the founding board of the Mariana Bracetti Academy (MBA) named the school after her.
The purpose of the school is to provide a high quality educational choice to families in the city who want more opportunities for their children. Naturally it is impossible to please all people, but it is clear that the academic offerings of the school have done a great job of attracting and serving Latino families. When the school opened in 2000, MBA’s population was roughly 48% Latino. As the school has grown, its Latino enrollment has increase to about 69% of the total student body.
Why is the school so popular with Latino families? The most important issue to parents is always: Will my children learn? The achievement scores for the students at Bracetti show that they have been improving their basic skills at twice the rate of students enrolled at other local public schools. It is not hard to understand why so many parents feel good about the school’s accomplishments.
Here is a table that shows how MBA compares to other schools. The first bar shows achievement gains for students in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP). The second bar shows gains for students in the other charter schools across Philadelphia. The third bar shows achievement gains for students at Bracetti. These scores illustrate the difference in the quality of education at MBA. Last September MBA could not accommodate all of the students on the long wait list to enter the school.
Achievement is not the only reason that parents love MBA. The school staff also values the culture and language of Latino families. Last year students from Mariana Bracetti Academy took first place in the Puerto Rican Week Festival Parade. That trophy was not won by accident. Students learned their dance routines from faculty members at the school who volunteered their time to rehearse with them before they marched. When parents visit the school, they are greeted by a bi-lingual staff that understands their needs.
Many of the Latino staff members at Bracetti have also enrolled their own children at the school. Staff members enroll their children at MBA because they value what the school has to offer and they appreciate the school’s safe and orderly environment. Uniforms are required at Bracetti and the school takes pride in the fact that the uniform code is enforced. In addition to the services offered to all students, last year Mariana Bracetti Academy was commended by the State of Pennsylvania for its program for working with special education students. MBA wants all students to develop to their full potential.
MBA expects parents to be equal partners in creating a positive learning atmosphere at the school. That is why the administration takes disciplinary incidents seriously. Parents are expected to do their part to insure that their children follow the disciplinary code and do not engage in dangerous behavior. If students break the behavioral rules, they will be punished. However, MBA has far fewer disciplinary incidents than other local schools and Victor Gonzalez, head of security for the school, does a great job at maintaining order in the school’s newly renovated building. The modern facility has a full gymnasium, dance facilities, and state of the art technology labs. Team sports at the school include the Bracetti Bull Dogs Basketball team which made the playoffs this year.
In addition to regular classes at the school, for the past two years students have been able to participate in Saturday school classes. These classes are offered to make sure that students will be able to understand higher level math and science concepts. The school wants to insure that its graduates will be able to gain acceptance into college. Next year the first 12th grade class will graduate from Mariana Bracetti Academy. We can’t wait to see where are students will go from here. Many of them are extremely talented and have a bright future to look forward to.
These successful students will be the ultimate proof of the great quality of the school. Next week look for a follow-up article by students of MBA. They have got a lot on their minds.