The John V. Lindsay Wildcat Academy Charter School is an alternative high school for students who have literally or figuratively "dropped out" of traditional public schools. When students seek admission to Wildcat, they are requesting a "second chance" to achieve academic success and earn a high school diploma. Co-founded in 1992 by Amalia Betanzos and Ronald Tabano as the Wildcat Academy, an alternative public school (later converting to charter status in 2000), Wildcat's work with its unique student body is grounded in the three related themes of alternative education: (1) a strong academic focus, (2) clear expectations concerning behavior, and (3) alternative learning options.
Since its founding, Wildcat has played a critical role in the development and implementation of programs addressing the needs of disenfrancished students. Implicit in the School’s mission is the goal to provide youth struggling with a myriad of issues faced by urban teens today, with the educational and vocational skills necessary to become productive members of society. As a last opportunity school, students who have been failed by their previous school settings and whose past behaviors and life experiences have prevented them from success, are given the opportunity to overcome their issues and move forward with their lives in a community that supports high academic rigor.
Today, students are attending one of the two Wildcat campuses. The Bronx campus, located in the Hunt’s Point section of the Bronx, provides classes and services to students with less the 21 credits (freshman and sophomores). At the Manhattan campus, located in the Wall Street area, students with 21+ credits attend (juniors and seniors). All Regent’s exams are administered once the student graduates to the Manhattan campus. Wildcat also allows students to continue to audit classes until students successfully pass all Regent’s exams regardless of credits accumulated.
Wildcat's academic program demonstrates the School's commitment to educational quality and is consistent with New York State Education Law and Regulations as well as New York State learning standards and performance indicators. Like all students in New York State, Wildcat students are required to take core academic courses, pass Regents examinations and fulfill sufficient "seat time" requirements in order to earn credits. The Wildcat staff expects each student to successfully complete all graduation requirements and receive a high school diploma. All Wildcat students understand this expectation and know that the school's resources should assist them in successfully completing their high school educations.
Goals for the coming years include the development of an intensive outreach and referral program; strengthening our Internship Program to meet the needs of the 21st Century; developing a comprehensive after school program to provide academic, social, emotional, and physical support; and developing innovative ways of supporting teachers as they continue to teach creatively to further student proficiency. At graduation, almost 60% of the students chose to attend college, 10% chose the military; and 30% chose to work. Wildcat students are held to the same standards as students at other schools; however, the success students reach at adulthood have simply been through roads less well traveled than traditional students.