The ancient Syracuse problem-solver Archimedes would have
appreciated his namesake Archimedes Academy in the Bronx. This 6-12th grade math,
science, and technology NYC public school is run by Miriam Lazar—a
modern day mathematician, principal, education entrepreneur, author, and
problem solver. Unlike Archimedes, her tasks are a bit more difficult—and require a bit more work before shouting Eureka.
Running a successful school, getting corporate sponsorship, providing quality curriculum, with energetic teachers and the technology to back it all up, needs the right person at the helm. I doubt many can say no to "Ms. Miriam" when it comes to her kids, teachers, and school. Makes sense that kids travel from all over—some taking 3 buses, to attend there—and that the school population increases each year. Every space in the building is used. If you're looking for a school example where success breeds success, Archimedes Academy stands at the top of the list.
Archimedes has partnered with Qwizdom, IBM, and Vision Ed Inc. Its computing technology runs the playing field with IBMs, Dells, and Macs. Furthermore, the staff maintain blogs and use Google Docs with students. While it is a math, science, and technology school, educating the whole child is the ultimate goal. Students learn fencing, ballroom dancing, and are even part of NYC Golden Gloves competition. And yes, their teams compete and win robotics challenges, too.
Teachers are called by their first names—Mr. Andy, Mr. Josh and even Ms. Miriam for Principal Lazar, but in three very different classrooms, I observed respect, kindness and an excitement for learning. There's a pride of uniform, school, and participating. On my way out of one class, I dropped some equipment that I was carrying, and was immediately surrounded by helpers.
When observing a school or classroom, far beyond the technology, I look to see if kids enjoy being students there, as well as whether teachers enjoy teaching there. The Archimedes Academy answers yes to both. Whether you call it student-based, project-based, or experiential learning—it's happening at Archimedes in the Bronx. And if Principal Miriam Lazar isn't on a speakers list somewhere—she should be. What she's doing needs to be shared. View my Archimedes Visit Video.