John F. Kennedy High School (New York City)

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John F. Kennedy High School
JFK HS MH east jeh.JPG
The Marble Hill Entrance to the JFK campus.
99 Terrace View Avenue
Bronx, New York 10463
United States
Coordinates40°52′39″N 73°54′49″W / 40.87750°N 73.91361°W / 40.87750; -73.91361Coordinates: 40°52′39″N 73°54′49″W / 40.87750°N 73.91361°W / 40.87750; -73.91361
OpenedSeptember 11, 1972 (1972-09-11)[1]
Team nameKnights

John F. Kennedy High School is a former four-year comprehensive New York City public high school, located at 99 Terrace View Avenue along the border of the Spuyten Duyvil section of the Bronx and the Marble Hill neighborhood of Manhattan, near the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx.[2][3] The building currently operates as John F. Kennedy Educational Campus, housing four small public high schools and two charter high schools.[4] The campus serves grades 9–12 and is operated by the New York City Department of Education.[4]

The male sports teams' mascot is the Knight and the female's is the Flame. The school has won 37 Public Schools Athletic League championships as of 2011, including titles in basketball, football, volleyball, gymnastics, and track and field.[5][6]


John F. Kennedy Campus is located along the north-south border of the Bronx and Manhattan, the eastern half of the campus within Marble Hill, and the western half in Spuyten Duyvil, with the Hudson Line of the Metro-North Railroad and Spuyten Duyvil Creek to the south.[2][3][7] Marble Hill is politically part of Manhattan, but geographically within the Bronx.[2][8] The school was built as part of an "educational park" along with PS/MS 37 and In-Tech Academy (MS/HS 38) to the north.[2][7] The high school building was built to serve 4,000 students and is eight-stories high, but is depressed from the surrounding neighborhoods in the former creek riverbed.[2][3][7][9] Entrance to the building is via a pedestrian bridge at the fourth floor, leading east to Terrace View Avenue in Marble Hill. A second bridge on the west side of the school to Spuyten Duyvil was originally planned, but never built.[2][7][10] The other access point is at West 230th Street and Tibbett Avenue at the north end of the park,[2][7][11] leading to a first floor entrance.[9] The building features a large 22,000-volume library, several gymnasiums, and numerous industrial arts shops.[2][12][13] The building also features several escalators and elevator banks.[9] The roof of the school features solar panels, which provide five percent of the structure's electricity.[14][15] Several portable buildings are located at the north end of the building, used for security offices and extra classrooms.[9] At the south end of the campus near the shore is the athletic complex, featuring a football field circumscribed by a .25-mile (0.40 km) running track, a baseball field, and eight tennis courts. The football field was originally AstroTurf, but now consists of modern artificial turf. The baseball field is dirt and grass.[2][6][12][9]

The campus is served by the Marble Hill–225th Street subway station, and the Marble Hill Metro-North station, both located at West 225th Street and the foot of the Broadway Bridge.[16][17] The school is also served by the Bx1, Bx7, Bx9, Bx10 and Bx20 bus routes, which run along either Broadway or West 231st Street near the campus.[4][17][18]


A view of the Kennedy Campus (bottom left) and athletic fields (bottom center).

Prior to the 20th Century, the site of John F. Kennedy High School was part of the course of Spuyten Duyvil Creek which separated Manhattan and the Bronx,[7][11][3] while Marble Hill was geographically part of Manhattan.[3] Tibbett Avenue was originally the right-of-way of Tibbetts Brook, which merged with the creek at approximately West 230th Street.[11][19][20] In 1895, the Harlem River Ship Canal was dug between Marble Hill and the rest of Manhattan, and in 1914 the original creek routing was filled in.[3][8] The land was later used as a freight spur called Kingsbridge Yard by the New York Central Railroad, as part of the Spuyten Duyvil and Port Morris Railroad.[7][11][21]

In the mid-1960s, the city proposed to construct John F. Kennedy High School, as well as Harry S. Truman High School, Herbert H. Lehman High School and Adlai E. Stevenson High School in eastern Bronx, South Shore High School in Brooklyn, and August Martin High School in Queens.[22][23][24] Both Kennedy and Truman High Schools were planned as "educational parks", containing multiple schools in park settings, and integrating students from multiple areas and backgrounds to stave off de facto segregation within the school system. The Kennedy park would include two middle schools and other academic institutions including a planetarium, museum, and weather station, as well as a community center.[2][7][22][25][26] The high school and park were named after President John F. Kennedy, who resided in nearby Riverdale during his youth.[21] The school was designed to serve students in the Northwest Bronx and Upper Manhattan, relieving overcrowding at DeWitt Clinton High School and George Washington High School.[7] After several delays,[22] the site was acquired by the city via condemnation in 1968,[11] and construction began in 1969.[7] The school opened on September 11, 1972, along with Lehman High School and Tottenville High School in Staten Island.[1] The adjacent middle schools were completed at a later date.[22]

In April 1982, Kennedy formed a joint arts program called "Urban Arts" with the private-Fieldston School in Riverdale.[27] That year, a mural was created on the south side of the building facing the athletic fields. This mural has since been removed.[21] Beginning in September 1982, Kennedy High School hosted the Phoenix House academy to educate former drug addicts.[28] By this time the high school was overcrowded, housing nearly 5,500 students.[29] In 1985, Kennedy was among 72 city public high schools whose performance was considered deficient.[13][30] By 1995, less than 25 percent of seniors at the school graduated.[31] The school also suffered increasing crime and gang-related activity.[32] In 2002, the school began utilizing metal detectors, following a fatal stabbing outside the school in August of that year.[32][33][34]

Beginning in fall 2002, smaller high schools were established within the JFK campus, co-existing with Kennedy High School.[9][35][36] Marble Hill High School was opened in September 2002.[35][36] The Bronx School of Law and Finance and Bronx Theatre High School were opened in September 2003.[35][36] The Bronx School for Law & Finance was opened in September 2004.[36] The enrollment of John F. Kennedy High School began shrinking in 2004 as the small schools grew, with a target cap of 2,500 students.[35] Results from the 2010-11 NYC School Survey[37] were abysmally low. Over half of students who took the survey reported that their peers did not respect teachers or other students; over 70 percent of teachers reported the same;[38] meanwhile the school became increasingly plagued by crime and poor academic results. In late 2010, the Department of Education decided to shut John F. Kennedy by eliminating one grade per year until it graduated its last class in 2014.[39][32][40][6] Crucial to the decision to close the school was the DOE’s assertion that the school was under performing, earning an overall D on its 2009-10 progress report, with a F grade for student performance. According to the DOE, four-year graduation rate at Kennedy High School was 46%, as opposed to a 63% average for the city.[39][40][41] JFK High School graduated its final class in June 2014.[42]

In mid-2014, solar panels were installed on the roof of the building.[14][15]

On August 20, 2015, a gas explosion occurred at 8:10 pm, damaging the 4th, 5th, and 6th floors and injuring 3 workers who were at the time repairing the science lab on the sixth floor.[43]

Current schools[edit]

Six specialty schools – four established in 2004 and two in 2011 – are co-located on the JFK campus:

  • Bronx Engineering and Technology Academy[44]
  • Bronx School of Law and Finance[45]
  • Bronx Theatre High School[46]
  • Marble Hill High School for International Studies[47]
  • New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math and Science[48]
  • New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities[49]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b Buder, Leonard (September 11, 1972). "SCHOOLS OPENING TODAY WITH FORCE OF SECURITY AIDES". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Buder, Leonard (June 26, 1966). "Now 'Educational Parks'" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Burks, Edward C. (December 17, 1971). "Divided Marble Hill Now Leaning Toward 'Partition'". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "2016 New York City High School Directory" (PDF). New York City Department of Education. 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  5. ^ Rhoden, William C. (June 7, 1985). "FIRM HAND GUIDES KENNEDY TO THE TOP". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Sugarman, Raphael (July 13, 2011). "Looking back on 40 years of winning athletics at JFK". Riverdale Press. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "City Will Start New High School: Project Is First Phase in Kennedy Educational Park" (PDF). The New York Times. April 20, 1969. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  8. ^ a b "What's in a Name: While Marble Hill's Origins Are Clear, Its Present Status is Up for Debate". NY1. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Kurgan, Laura (August 2003). "Claiming Space for Small Schools: A report on the New Century Schools, The Bronx, New York, 2002–2003" (PDF). Princeton University School of Architecture. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  10. ^ Andelman, David A. (April 5, 1971). "Neighborhoods: Between the Duyvil and the Bronx". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d e "TIBBETT GARDENS: PHASE 1A ARCHAEOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT REPORT" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, Historical Perspectives. January 30, 1987. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  12. ^ a b Corwin, Sylvia K. (June 11, 2014). "First JFK principal Bob Mastruzzi dies". Riverdale Press. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  13. ^ a b Corwin, Sylvia (1991). "Art as a Tool for Learning United States History" (PDF). National Arts Education Research Center, New York University. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  14. ^ a b Bergin, Brigid (September 29, 2014). "Solar Schools: NYC Invests $28M in Rooftop Panels". WNYC (AM). Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  15. ^ a b Rajamani, Maya (October 1, 2014). "Mayor lauds solar panels at JFK campus". Riverdale Press. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  16. ^ "Subway Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 18, 2018. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Riverdale" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2018. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  18. ^ "Bronx Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. September 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  19. ^ Renner, James (September 2005). "Johnson Ironworks Factory". Washington Heights & Inwood Online. Archived from the original on November 8, 2009. Retrieved January 15, 2010.
  20. ^ Sergey Kadinsky (7 March 2016). Hidden Waters of New York City: A History and Guide to 101 Forgotten Lakes, Ponds, Creeks, and Streams in the Five Boroughs. Countryman Press. pp. 58–59, 247–249. ISBN 978-1-58157-566-8. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  21. ^ a b c Bill Twomey; Thomas X. Casey (2 May 2011). "4". Northwest Bronx. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4396-3930-6. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  22. ^ a b c d Buder, Leonard (September 11, 1971). "First Unit in 'Educational Park' System to Open Monday". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  23. ^ Knowles, Clayton (February 1, 1965). "Wagner Seeking 27 New Schools In Works Budget" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  24. ^ "Education" (PDF). The New York Times. October 11, 1965. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  25. ^ Wolff, Max (January 1970). "Educational Park Development in the United States, 1969: A Survey of Current Development Plans with a List of Reports and References on the Educational Park" (PDF). Center for Urban Education. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  26. ^ Buder, Leonard (June 6, 1966). "City Schools Ask A Record Outlay For Construction" (PDF). The New York Times. pp. 1, 44. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  27. ^ Noble, Anne R. (April 25, 1982). "NARROWING THE PUBLIC-PRIVATE SCHOOL GULF". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  28. ^ Williams, Lena (September 19, 1982). "CLASSES RESUME AT PHOENIX HOUSE". The New York Times. Yorktown Heights, New York. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  29. ^ Buder, Leonard (August 29, 1982). "If you're thinking of living in:; RIVERDALE". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  30. ^ Rohter, Larry (November 28, 1985). "CITY LISTS HIGH SCHOOLS RATED DEFICIENT BY STATE". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  31. ^ "JFK graduates few students, Croton site is floated". Riverdale Press. 1995. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  32. ^ a b c Dowling, Nikki (December 8, 2010). "City wants to phase out John F. Kennedy High School". Riverdale Press. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  33. ^ Gootman, Elissa (February 4, 2004). "Metal Detectors and Pep Rallies: Revival of a Bronx High School". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  34. ^ Feuer, Alan; Polgreen, Lydia (August 9, 2002). "Teenager Slain Outside School In the Bronx". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  35. ^ a b c d "Sharing Space: Rethinking the Implementation of Small High School Reform in New York City" (PDF). New York City Council. August 2005. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  36. ^ a b c d Kurgan, Laura (November 2005). "From Large School Buildings to Small School Campuses: Orchestrating the Shift" (PDF). New Visions for Public Schools. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  37. ^
  38. ^ Inside Schools,
  39. ^ a b "EDUCATIONAL IMPACT STATEMENT: The Proposed Phase-out of John F. Kennedy High School (10X475)" (PDF). New York City Department of Education. December 20, 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  40. ^ a b Feeny, Michael. "John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx one of dozen schools Dept. of Ed has targeted for closure" New York Daily News (December 6, 2010)
  41. ^ "Kennedy High School will close". Bronx Times. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  42. ^ Rajamani, Maya (June 26, 2014). "Brawl breaks out at JFK's last graduation". Riverdale Press. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  43. ^ "Gas explosion at NYC high school leaves several injured". New York Post. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  44. ^ "Bronx Engineering and Technology Academy". New York City Department of Education. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  45. ^ "Bronx School of Law and Finance". New York City Department of Education. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  46. ^ "Bronx Theatre High School". New York City Department of Education. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  47. ^ "Marble Hill High School for International Studies". New York City Department of Education. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  48. ^ "New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math and Science".
  49. ^ "New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities".

External links[edit]