The creation and development of the Bronx Leadership Academy high school: The involvement of the South Bronx churches

Anthony Afful-Broni, Fordham University


This study describes the creation and development of the Bronx Leadership Academy (BLA) high school by the South Bronx Churches. This small, non-zoned public high school, built in 1993 and under the jurisdiction of the Bronx Superintendent of High Schools, has already shown several signs of hope to the education system and the South Bronx. Having realized many factors that were destroying some schools especially in inner-city poor neighborhoods, the South Bronx Churches, an organization of 30 different religious congregations, have risen with the support of the New York City Board of Education to correct these unjust situations and to renew the South Bronx. Using the qualitative method and with six research questions as a guide, the researcher of this case study used interviews, observations, and other means of data gathering such as memos, newspaper clippings, and minutes of meetings to come up with the findings of the study. The findings show that although not the only good school in the Bronx, BLA has several “marks,” some of which can be found in other schools: dynamic leadership, student government, the school's family nature, the dress code, explicitly college preparatory and academic excellence, responsible citizenship, the Institute of Law and Justice, and a clean and safe atmosphere. The findings of the study confirmed much of the literature review: the importance of effective leadership, the value of collaboration and vision, and the effectiveness of small schools. But there were a few surprises: People who come highly recommended to be interviewed do not always meet the expectations; sometimes all participants stay with the data-gathering process until the end. Perhaps the most unique contribution of the study is its thesis that even in a nation that has a distinct stand on the separation of church and state, religious bodies like the South Bronx Churches, if well organized, can “come outside their walls” and directly effect changes in the public sector. This study is an addition to the too few success stories of the South Bronx; the study adds to the literature on this oftentimes neglected part of the “capital of the world,” New York City.

Subject Area

School administration|Secondary education|Religion

Recommended Citation

Afful-Broni, Anthony, "The creation and development of the Bronx Leadership Academy high school: The involvement of the South Bronx churches" (1999). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9938893.