DeWitt Clinton High School is a public high school located since 1929 in The Bronx, New York, United States. Opened in 1897 in Lower Manhattan and initially operated as an all-boys school, it maintained that status for nearly 100 years. In 1983 it became co-ed. From its original building on West 13th Street in Manhattan, it moved in 1906 to its second home on 59th Street and Tenth Avenue (now the site of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice). In 1929 the school moved to its present home on Mosholu Parkway in the Bronx.
After more than a century of operations, producing a raft of accomplished alumni, in the early 21st century, DeWitt Clinton High School has faced serious problems involving student performance and security.
Clinton opened in 1897 at 60 West 13th Street at the northern end of Greenwich Village under the name of Boys High School, although this Boys High School was not related to the one in Brooklyn. This school was renamed for New York governor DeWitt Clinton in 1900.
Until a high school education became compulsory in the early 1930s, Clinton, like all other public schools in the city, had a Classics Department, where Greek and Latin were taught. Perhaps its most famous teacher was history teacher Dr. Irwin Guernsey, known to generations of students as "Doc" Guernsey. He came to Clinton in the fall of 1914 and retired in the spring of 1959, due to illness. A cripple with two "Irish" canes, he taught from the chair and won twice in his lifetime the title of Master Teacher in New York City. He was also head of the Honors Association, Arista. The History wing is named "Guernsey Hall" in his memory, and one can still see the library cart named "Doc's Special" on which he sat while students wheeled him to class during the last years of his tenure when he was sick.
The school moved to a new building on a 21-acre (85,000 m2) campus at 100 West Mosholu Parkway South and East 205th Street in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx in 1929, where it has remained. Paul Avenue, which runs to the side of the school from Mosholu Parkway to Lehman College, is named after a DeWitt Clinton High School principal, Dr. Paul. It was under this principal that the school moved to its current location in the Bronx.
In the 1930s its enrollment peaked at 12,000 and it was said to be the largest high school in the world. Enrollment by 1999 was about 4,000.
It remained the last gender-segregated public school in New York City until 1983.
In 1996, Clinton was selected by Redbook magazine as one of the five most improved schools in America. In 1999, US News and World Report designated Clinton as one of 96 outstanding schools in America.
In 1999, Geraldine Ambrosio became the first woman to hold the principal's post at the school.
The school receives government aid because of the low income status of its students. As of 2006, the school has a large Hispanic population, followed by African-Americans and Asians. Caucasians, primarily Albanians, comprise a tiny minority.
Recently, DeWitt Clinton High School has received poor evaluations from the New York City Department of Education. In the latest Progress Report (2010–11) the school received a grade of F (39.4 out of 100) with the worst marks in school environment and closing the achievement gap. The Quality Report for the academic year 2011-12 rated the school as "underdeveloped," its lowest rating. It particularly faulted the school for failing to design "engaging, rigorous and coherent curricula" and for failing to ensure that teaching was "aligned to the curriculum, engaging, and differentiated to enable all students to produce meaningful work products." In 2013, to address these issues, the city's Department of Education tapped Santiago Taveras, one of its former deputy chancellors, as the school's principal to replace the retiring Ambrosio. In November 2016, after Department of Education investigators found evidence of grade tampering, Taveras was removed as principal.
Organization-houses/small learning communities
Clinton is split into several small learning communities. They include the Macy Honors Gifted Program (internally often called the Macy House), Health Professions, Veterinary Professions, Public Service, Business Enterprise, Future Educators, Academy House, and Varsity House.
The Macy Program, begun in 1985 with funding from the Macy Foundation, attracts intelligent, hard-working children and preparing them for exceptionally selective colleges. The Macy program has been expanded to serve 1,200 students. The current Macy coordinator is Ernesta Consolazio. The Macy Honors Gifted Program in the Sciences and Humanities has its own teachers, and a nine-period day compared to the regular New York City eight-period day. The program offers Specialized and Advanced Technology (SMT) courses, Science, Math, English, Law, Government, Philosophy and Great Books. All students in the program are required to have a minimum average of 80 and not to fail any courses. When Macy students are removed from the program, they are placed in Excel, a special Macy-run program just for its kick-outs and drop-outs, before being fully demoted to the lower programs. From at least 1998 to 2002 some students went directly into the Excel program.
Advanced Macy students are invited to join the even more selective Einstein Program, which has about 50 students in each grade. This program has even more rigorous academic performance requirements. Einstein students in their junior year are required to take a College Now course for philosophy and government science, in their first and second semester, respectively. These courses allow students to earn college credits. Einstein students are automatically assigned to honors and AP classes as early as freshman year, followed by the mandatory AP United States History and AP English Language for Einstein students who make it to their junior year.
Many Macy students are invited to MASTERS, a month-long summer program that offers many hands-on college courses emphasizing mathematics and science. These include Forensic Science, Robotics, Anatomy, Business, Consumer Chemistry and Electricity.
The school has over 40 academic and interest clubs.
The Clinton News, the school's newspaper, is written and managed by its students. However, like many other outstanding Clinton possessions, The Clinton News publishes several multi-page full color papers a year by a grant from the Christian A. Johnson Endeavour Foundation.
Another Clinton High School publication is The Magpie. Published yearly, the historic color edition of this magazine came out May 2007. This literary collection received the most attention for its association with the Harlem Renaissance.
DeWitt Clinton teams are known as the Governors; there are approximately 35 teams. Some teams which no longer exist, such as fencing and rifle. Teams for the 2007–2008 school year included:
The cricket team's formation was encouraged by the large number of South Asians.
DeWitt Clinton High School is located at 100 West Mosholu Parkway South. It dominates the entire block, excluding the ground at the south where the Bronx High School of Science is situated. Facing the main entrance of the building, Paul Avenue runs to the east and Goulden Avenue to the west. The school faces Mosholu Parkway, and has its turf field and track behind it, followed by the softball field, and then the school's baseball and grass football field, Alumni Field. It is after this point that DeWitt Clinton's territory ends, meeting that of Bronx Science.
Clinton has a small branch of Montefiore Medical Clinic within it, capable of supplying essential services to the students of the campus.
The school is located at Latitude: 40.88111 : Longitude: -73.8875
The ceiling of a hallway had a 1930s mural by Alfred Floegel called "Constellations", a part of the Federal Art Project. In 2018 the mural was painted over accidentally as part of a roof repair.
In the media
The institution was featured in A Walk Through The Bronx with David Hartman and historian Barry Lewis. In it, Hartman and Lewis take a peek at the library.
The DeWitt Clinton Chorus performed songs in the 2000 production, Finding Forrester.
A book has been written about the school: Pelisson, Gerard J., and James A. Garvey III (2009). The Castle on the Parkway: The Story of New York City's DeWitt Clinton High School and Its Extraordinary Influence on American Life. Hutch Press. ISBN 978-1-883269-30-2.
Clintonites made headlines and New York City School history in September 2005, when they walked out. The 1,500 strong walk out was a result of the installation of metal detectors.
Although they did not graduate, jazz great Fats Waller, guitarist Ace Frehley of KISS, publicist, theater critic and raconteur Irving Hoffman and comedian Tracy Morgan also attended Clinton. With the approval of the New York City Department of Education, Morgan was awarded an honorary diploma in 2003.
Visitors who have addressed Clinton assemblies include:
DeWitt Clinton High School students organized one of the largest high school walkouts in New York on September 19, 2005. The protest occurred over installation of airport-style metal detectors and x-ray scanners, which had already been installed in many other schools throughout New York City.
According to the school, it offers more Advanced Placement courses than any other school in the borough other than the Bronx High School of Science.
^ abStaff. "Richard Avedon", The Daily Telegraph, October 2, 2004. Accessed September 14, 2009. "He also edited the school magazine at DeWitt Clinton High, on which the black American writer James Baldwin was literary editor."
^Berstein, Alice. "Harlem artist Robert Blackburn remembered", The New York Beacon, October 22, 2003. Accessed September 14, 2009. "Blackburn's early work at DeWitt Clinton High School, where classmates included artists Burton Hasen, David Finn and Harold Altman, was recently exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum."
^Greenfield, Josh. "Bruce Jay Friedman Is Hanging by His Thumbs", The New York Times, January 14, 1968. Accessed September 15, 2009. "While attending DeWitt Clinton High School, Friedman became interested in writing for the first time."
^Waddles, Hank. "Bronx Banter Interview: Arnold Hano". Alex Belth Bronx Banter. September 28, 2009. Retrieved 2015-08-25. "I grew up in the Bronx and went to DeWitt Clinton High School, which is the high school at the north end of the Bronx, and we were there until I was maybe fourteen or fifteen when we moved into Manhattan. [...] So I was writing at that age, and when I went to college – I started college when I was fifteen – I was going to be a doctor."
^Staff. "Selling a Dream of Elegance and the Good Life", Time (magazine), September 1, 1986. Accessed September 15, 2009. "At DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, Lauren attended business classes but paid little attention to studies. His adolescent idols were British and American style setters: the Duke of Windsor, for example, and Katharine Hepburn, who stole the show in The Philadelphia Story with her pants-and-pearls look."
Allan Franklin Arbus (February 15, 1918 – April 19, 2013) was an American actor and photographer and the husband of photographer Diane Arbus. He is known for his role as psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Freedman (Major) on the CBS television series M*A*S*H.
Barney Sedran (born Sedransky; nicknamed "Mighty Mite"; January 28, 1891 – January 14, 1964) was an American professional basketball player in the 1910s and 1920s who is in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Benjamin "Ben" Auerbach (March 1, 1919 – June 18, 1993) was an early American professional basketball player in the American Basketball League. He had a standout college career for New York University. Despite the shared surname, Ben Auerbach is not related to the Hall of Fame coach Red Auerbach.
Engel Manuel Beltré (born November 1, 1989) is a Dominican professional baseball outfielder who is currently a free agent. Beltré briefly lived in New York City, attending DeWitt Clinton High School in 2003. As a child, he was a devoted Yankees fan.
"Gil Cates" redirects here. For the article about Gilbert Cates' son who was born in 1969, see Gil Cates Jr.Gilbert “Gil” Cates (né Katz;June 6, 1934 – October 31, 2011), was an American film director and television producer, director of the Geffen Playhouse, and founding dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Cates is most known for having produced the Academy Awards telecast a record 14 times between 1990 and 2008.
Harold M. "Babe" White was an All-American football player for Syracuse University. He played at the guard position for Syracuse from 1913-1916. A native of New York, White attended DeWitt Clinton High School. At 6 feet, 6 inches in height and 273 pounds, White was the largest American football player of his time. He was selected as a first-team All-American in 1915. He was also selected as the captain of the 1916 Syracuse football team.
Irving Warren Jaffee (September 15, 1906 in New York City – March 20, 1981 in San Diego, California) was an American speed skater who won two gold medals at the 1932 Winter Olympics, becoming the most successful athlete there along with his compatriot Jack Shea.
Juan Carlos Pérez (born November 13, 1986) is a Dominican professional baseball outfielder for the Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League. Pérez attended DeWitt Clinton High School in New York City. Not chosen in the Major League Baseball Draft, he attended Western Oklahoma State College.
Ricky Brad Sobers (born January 15, 1953) is a former professional basketball player who spent eleven seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
A 6'3" guard born in the Bronx, New York, Sobers attended DeWitt Clinton High School in New York City, the College of Southern Idaho, and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas before being selecting by the Phoenix Suns with the 16th pick of the 1975 NBA draft. Sobers played two seasons for the Suns. In the 1976 Finals, Sobers was a key player in "the greatest game ever played" in NBA history. In 1977, he joined the Indiana Pacers, with whom he averaged a career best 18.2 points per game during the 1977–78 NBA season.
Sobers also played with the Chicago Bulls, Washington Bullets, and Seattle SuperSonics before retiring in 1986. He compiled 10,902 points and 3,525 assists in his career.
Ronald Michael Behagen (born January 19, 1951) is a retired American basketball player.
A 6'9" center from DeWitt Clinton High School in New York City, Behagen played basketball in junior college and at the University of Minnesota during the early 1970s. One of his teammates was future Baseball Hall-of-Famer Dave Winfield. After his college career ended in 1973, Behagen was drafted by the Kentucky Colonels in the 1973 American Basketball Association draft and by the Kansas City Kings in the first round of the 1973 NBA draft.Behagen played seven seasons of professional basketball in the NBA as a member of the Kansas City Kings, New Orleans Jazz, Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, and Washington Bullets and in Italy for Antonini Siena. He received NBA All-Rookie Team honors in 1974. In his NBA career, he averaged 10.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
Steven Bernard "Steve" Sheppard (born March 21, 1954) is a retired American basketball player from New York City, who was nicknamed "Bear".
A 6'6" forward from the University of Maryland, Sheppard participated on the United States national basketball team which won a gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics. Sheppard was then selected by the Chicago Bulls as the eighth pick in the second round of the 1977 NBA Draft. In two NBA seasons (1977–1979) with the Bulls and Detroit Pistons, Sheppard scored 367 points and grabbed 178 rebounds.
William Axt (April 19, 1888 – February 13, 1959) was an American composer of nearly two hundred film scores.
Born in New York City, Axt graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in The Bronx and studied at the National Conservatory of Music of America. He served as an assistant conductor for the Hammerstein Grand Opera Company and was the musical director for the Capitol Theatre in Manhattan before joining the music department at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1929. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Chicago in 1922.Axt retired from the film industry to raise cattle and breed horses in Laytonville, California. He died in Ukiah, California.
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