“In the context of the neighborhood schools and its cohort of schools, Morris Academy feels like another world.”
Morris Academy opens early — breakfast is provided, along with before-class tutoring. It’s open until 6:30, as well as on some Saturdays and during the summer. Students can choose among clubs for chess players, step-team dancers and bloggers. The robotics team competes with high schools nationwide. During lunchtime and after school, tutors offer one-on-one help to struggling students. An in-house clinic provides medical, dental and psychological services.Community school funds enabled Mr. Mazzaroppi to deliver the emotional support that battle-scarred children badly need — recruiting a squadron of social workers, training teachers to counsel students and teaching older students how to mentor their younger classmates. “Our problem wasn’t lack of an academic strategy but our inability to answer students’ pleas for help,” he says. Now, remarkably, Morris Academy students are more likely than their peers citywide to say they feel safe in school and believe that their teachers care about them.