The Bronx Institute at Lehman College

 The Bronx Institute at Lehman College 


 Our Mission and Vision

Professor Herminio Martinez explains the vision of The Bronx Institute at Lehman College as being, "to foster and promote equity and excellence in the education and learning of Bronx students K-20, by engaging parents, teachers, school leaders, college administrators, and community organizations in developing, supporting, and promoting high quality programs. Through collaborations with other academic institutions, community groups and organizations, The Bronx Institute’s programs will increase educational opportunities and positively impact the future of Bronx youth."

The mission of The Bronx Institute is to further research relevant to the improvement of education and the quality of life in The Bronx and to provide a forum to discuss, analyze, and identify potential solutions to the contemporary social, political, cultural, and economic challenges facing The Bronx community as well as other urban areas. Our efforts are focused primarily on providing services in three areas: youth development, professional development, and research and policy.

  A History of The Bronx Institute
 Formation and Development - Shaping a New Mission and Vision

The Bronx Institute at Lehman College was established on September 24, 1981, by the Committee on Academic Policy, Program, and Research of the Board of Trustees of the City University of New York (CUNY). While the Board did not require the Institute to pursue specific projects, it expected that the Institute’s “cultural, educational, and research encouraging research into the history of The Bronx and by increasing communication between the College and Bronx residents, will serve not only the academic community but also the larger residential community as well.” This broad and flexible mission, which embraced scholarship and community service, empowered the Institute to harness Lehman’s considerable academic strengths to serve the borough’s changing needs.

The Institute's initial projects aimed to capture the history of The Bronx through oral history interviews and photographs, to organize and curate exhibits open to the community, to create a permanent archive for the histories, and to develop and teach interdisciplinary college courses on the history of The Bronx. Student volunteers worked alongside a small staff to conduct the interviews. An enthusiastic community on and off campus provided an appreciative audience for the Institute’s many exhibits, slide shows, undergraduate courses, lectures, conferences, and publications. From 1981 to 1998, the Institute recorded over 400 hours of oral history interviews, collected 8,000 contemporary and vintage images, and amassed a large collection of rare books and documents donated by individuals and community organizations. These archives are stored in the Special Collections Division of the Leonard Lief Library. Later projects included a series of well-attended public policy conferences on the shortage of affordable housing, homelessness, and the rising number of high school dropouts.

The Executive Director since 1998, Professor Herminio Martinez (Middle and High School Education) provided the Institute with a new vision: to promote equity and excellence in the education and learning of students K-16 by involving administrators, teachers, parents and the students themselves in high quality programs that support and enhance the educational opportunities of the students. As a community resource, the Institute is committed to act in cooperation with other academic institutions and community organizations to develop joint projects that enrich the educational experience of all Bronx students. He observed that public schools were in dire need of support, that promising students were not fulfilling their potential, and that many students dropped out of high school or did not attend college. Improving educational outcomes was critical to the future of Lehman College, the community colleges, and the borough. The Institute addressed these needs through scholarship, academic conferences, professional development programs, and out-of-school academic enrichment.

Shortly after his arrival at Lehman, Professor Martinez established the LUPI (Latino Urban Policy Initiative) to analyze the educational needs of Latino students and the historical, political, economic, and social forces that shape them. The LUPI reported on the prospects of charter schools to improve equity and excellence for Latino students; Puerto Rican children’s developing conceptualization of themselves in The Bronx; the Latino educational crisis; and the history of Latino immigration to the United States. Collectively, the reports articulated potential new directions and missions for the Institute over the next decade. The Institute established itself as a nationally and internationally recognized authority on Latino education by hosting, co-sponsoring, and participating in conferences and symposia on Mexican immigrants in New York City, bilingual education, new immigration in The Bronx, and Hispanic education. Professional development programs, such as Teaching English Language Learners (TELL) and Innovative Teaching for English Language Learners (INTELL) trained hundreds of teachers in The Bronx to work with English Language Learners (ELLs). The Lehman College Spanish Language Bilingual Education Technical Assistance Center (SBETAC) provided expertise to parents, educators, school administrators, and community groups on teaching math, reading, and writing to ELLs. SBETAC also partnered with New York State’s Education Department to establish 387 Spanish classroom libraries, a city-wide Spanish Spelling Bee, and a Spanish Literature Symposium.

Professor Martinez developed a holistic approach to improving educational outcomes—one that directly engaged students, teachers, parents, and school administrators in programs fostering technological fluency, academic rigor, test preparation, and college planning. To bridge the digital divide, the Institute has been distributing thousands of laptops. To increase the number of Latinos and African Americans in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) professions, the Institute created innovative and rigorous math and science programs and established partnerships with leading cultural, scientific, and academic institutions. Recent examples include the internship programs at Wave Hill public garden, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Bronx Zoo. 2010, the Institute collaborated with Vassar College to provide eighth- and eleventh-grade students with a faculty-led workshop introducing them to acoustical physics and a private tour of the campus. The Institute has awarded scholarships to students to attend summer school at Harvard, Brown, Columbia, and The Johns Hopkins University. A partnership with the Experiment for International Living has allowed students to travel and study in Europe, South America, and Asia. All of the Institute’s programs are designed to prepare students academically, socially, and emotionally for college.

With support from Lehman College President Ricardo R. Fernández, the Institute has expanded its academic enrichment programs to serve more grade levels and diverse student populations. Developed and implemented by Lehman faculty and distinguished educators from public and private schools, drawing strength from a broad array of prominent partners, and nationally recognized for their academic quality, they constitute one of the largest efforts to improve education in the history of the borough.

Academic Enrichment Programs
 ENLACE (Engaging Latino Communities for Education)

ENLACE is a two-year rigorous academic cohort program that provides high achieving Latino students with advanced academic enrichment in mathematics and science. ENLACE gives students the skills and experiences needed to gain acceptance to specialized pre-college programs; to graduate from high school with honors and advanced New York State Regents High School diplomas; to prepare for and be accepted at academically prominent public and private universities; and to become leaders in high-technology industries where Latinos are habitually underrepresented. ENLACE has attained national recognition and extensive interest from foundations, college presidents, and legislators to replicate its forward-thinking work in preparing Latino students for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers. Current cohorts include Junior ENLACE (7th and 8th grade), ENLACE Prep Academy (9th and 10th grade), and ENLACE Latino Collegiate Society (11th and 12th grade). ENLACE is currently funded by generous grants from the Edwin Gould Foundation, the New York Life Foundation, and the Toyota USA Foundation.

Students who completed the ENLACE program in 2005-2006 entered the following colleges: (1) Private colleges and universities outside of New York State: North Carolina A&T, Hobart and Williams Smith, Brandeis, Babson, Wesleyan; (2) Public universities out of New York State: UMass Amherst; (3) State University of New York colleges: SUNY Purchase, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY University at Buffalo, SUNY Albany, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Stonybrook; (4) Private colleges and universities in New York City: Manhattan and Fordham; (5) Private colleges and universities outside of New York City: Dominican College of Blauvelt and University at Buffalo; and (6) City University of New York colleges: Hunter and Lehman. The first cohort of ENLACE secured in excess of $5,000,000 in competitive college scholarships.

Students who completed the ENLACE program in 2010-2011 entered the following colleges: (1) Public universities in New York City: Lehman College, City College of New York, Hunter College, John Jay College, York College; (2) Private colleges and universities outside of New York State: Boston College, Connecticut College, Emerson College, Grinnell College, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Wesleyan University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; (3) Private colleges and universities in New York City: Fordham University, Pace University; (4) Private colleges and universities outside of New York City: Cornell University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Marist College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Syracuse University; and (5) Public colleges and universities in New York State: SUNY at Albany, SUNY Binghamton, SUNY at Buffalo, SUNY Oswego. The average SAT score for the ENLACE class of 2011 is 1610.

 GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs)

GEAR UP aims to improve students’ academic achievement and to prepare them to enter and succeed in college. In concert with the public schools in which it operates, GEAR UP creates a college bound culture by coordinating student services and informing families about post secondary education. Student services include New York State Regents, PSAT, and SAT test prep; summer enrichment programs, Saturday academies, college credit courses, web design, college awareness workshops, homework help, college tours, home laptop computers, mentoring, and student leadership programs. Parent workshops include computer technology training, high school graduation requirements, college admissions, financial aid and scholarships, and campus tours. The Institute currently has three GEAR UP cohorts: Bronx GEAR UP; South Bronx GEAR UP; and GEAR UP Network, which serve over 8,500 students in scores of Bronx public schools.

The first cohort (GEAR UP '99) was one of only six programs distinguished by The Washington Center for Best Practices. Congressman Chaka Fatta, a leading proponent of GEAR UP, organized the center to salute strong programs worthy of recognition. Recently, hundreds of students in this cohort celebrated their graduation from dozens of public and private colleges and universities. Among the many colleges and universities from which they graduated are CUNY (Lehman, Hunter, and John Jay Colleges); SUNY (Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Delhi, Old Westbury, Oswego, and Stony Brook); Boston College; Fordham University; Hobart and William Smith Colleges; Macalester College; Manhattanville College; MIT; Morgan State University; College of Mount Saint Vincent; Nyack College; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Syracuse University; and University of Vermont.

 CAE (Center for Academic Excellence)

CAE has prepared talented middle school students from The Bronx to succeed in high school honors classes and in specialized high schools. Students are supported year-round with out-of-school advanced academic enrichment in mathematics, science, and the humanities; standardized test prep; and information about applying to and choosing a high school appropriate to their abilities and interests. CAE has worked closely with students to improve writing and critical thinking skills essential for success in high school and college. CAE has also prepared students for acceptance into specialized high schools and other unique learning programs such as the Center for Talented Youth at The Johns Hopkins University.

© The Bronx Institute. 2009. All rights reserved.
Updated: August 30, 2012