A Themed Education: Q&A with The Bronx Academy of Letters

The state of public schools in the U.S. has become a public social cause, and a topic of great debate, in recent years. The school system shaping Millennials and post-Millennials has been called broken by some, but the solutions are less clear. Some champion charter schools as the future of the education system, others suggest banning private schools, and recently emphasizing early education by making it a part of the public system, has been held up as a possible solution.

The Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters was founded in 2003 during the “small schools movement,” a period of time that larger public schools were being sized down into more manageable organizations with focused curriculums. According to the NYTimes, since 2002 NYC has closed or started a phase out of 63 public high schools, and opened 337 in their place—many of them small themed schools. Today, the movement is continued in a slightly different way, and recently some large schools have been reorganized to house several smaller themed schools all under one roof. Themed educations, schools that focus their curriculums on one particular topic, have been happening all over the country and are one of the educational forces influencing some of the next generation.

The Bronx Academy of Letters is celebrating its 10th birthday, and we were able to sit down with the school’s Executive Director Carrie Angoff and Board President Toni Bernstein, two of the Academy of Letters Advisory Board members, to hear about the obstacles that young and underprivileged Millennials and post-Millennials are facing, and how one school has been working to fix the problem over the last decade.

 

Tell us a little bit about the ethos of the school. How is it different?

Toni: At the time [it was founded], there were these giant, very…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “My favorite app is Airbnb because I like to travel on a budget.” –Female, 22, NY

Traditional entertainment brands have been tapping into online talent at an increasing rate, and Nickelodeon took advantage of the recent VidCon digital celebrity event to scout for new talent. The network, which is “exploring distributing content from online video creators via its digital brands” held a casting call at the event to find creative among the hundreds of assembled vloggers. Google says that YouTube reaches more people in the U.S. than any cable network among 18-49-year-olds. (Business Insider)

For the first time in years, and after a prolonged period of increasing obesity, American kids (and adults) are finally eating less. The number of calories that the average child in the U.S. takes in each day has fallen by 9%, and a cutback in soda drinking is a major reason behind the drop. The amount of full calorie soda the average American drinks has dropped a full 25% since the ‘90s. Obesity rates have also been reversing for younger children, “suggesting the calorie reductions are making a difference.” (NYTimes)

Going to a Millennial wedding? Bring cash, not a toaster. The generation is reportedly eschewing traditional gifts to instead request “cold, hard cash” for their nuptials. Couples are using their wedding funds for things like fun honeymoons they wouldn’t be able to afford themselves, or to start a house down payment savings. The fact that more Millennials live together before marriage and are very likely to have all the household goods they might need is a big reason behind the trend of tossing gravy boats and dishes in favor of financial gifts. (Refinery 29NYTimes)

MTV is tackling some current debates in the Millennial generation by creating content on the subject of racial bias. The generation has idealized color-blindness, but is maturing to find the approach doesn’t solve racial issues. MTV’s documentary special White People asked young white people across the country to look at their privilege and education, and the network has also launched a digital anti-bias campaign featuring content like a “Bias Cleanse” and a “snap judgment quiz.” (USA Today)

Watch out Uber, another car sharing platform is amping up their creative marketing. Taxi app Gett has partnered with Veuve Clicquot to create a champagne on-demand campaign that delivers bottles of chilled bubbly, along with two flutes, around London within 10 minutes. Gett’s marketing in the UK is a “bid to snatch market share from Uber” and the app is clearly borrowing from their competitor’s “everything on-demand” promotional strategy. (Marketing Magazine)

Quote of the Day: “I unplugged because I just wanted some me time- also wanted to see if i would be able to do it.” –Female, 32, NC

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