AMY Northwest prepares students to excel

Eighth-graders Amber Wilson and Kayla Garcia in art class. -- PHOTO BY ABDUL R. SULAYMAN/TRIBUNE CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER

One of the newest gems to the Roxborough area is Academy for the Middle Years (AMY) Northwest Middle School. AMY moved from Mt. Airy into the historic Levering building, which closed its elementary school in June. While the school has moved to a new location, the school values remain the same as they continue to prepare students to enter high school through its vigorous academic program.

“Our greatest accomplishment is that our kids go on to the best high schools in the district,” said Principal Marco Zanoni. “The kids here take their academics and programs very seriously. We have staff and teachers with excellent credentials, who really are the backbone of the school.

“We just want to prepare our students to be socially responsible and academically successful as they encounter challenges in school and beyond. We will continue to provide the students with the educational skills and tools necessary to be productive and engaged citizens. The early stages of preparing for their future starts here.”

AMY Northwest formed 33 years ago and is a magnet, application-only middle school. The school provides multiple opportunities for test preparation and enrichment through the PSSA, Terra Nova Saturday Academies, and parent test preparation workshops.

“This is my second year being at AMY and it’s a really good school,” said eighth-grader Amber Wilson. “This school has so many different programs. As far as academics, the course load can be challenging, but that’s not a bad thing because they are preparing us for high school. I’ve learn so many things while I’ve been here.”

In addition to the core curriculum and extra-curricular activities, AMY has numerous programs including instrumental music instruction, the Mentally Gifted Program, Writing Matters Program, and Emerging Scholars Coursework. The school also offers art, yearbook, and computer technology.


“In addition to academics, the various programs is what makes this school so unique,” said eighth-grader Kayla Garcia. “I play the flute, so I use to participate in the music program. While in the program, I learned so much about music itself. I really like the art class and we’re also having more talent shoes.

“What made me want to come to AMY was the academics and various programs they offer hear. This is a good school, which is preparing me go a go to a good high school and college. They’ve helped shape my future on so many levels.”

Forty students at AMY participate in the Delphi After School Art Museum Club. The club takes place at the Philadelphia Art Museum. The students are divided into two groups, where they do a project with two teaching artists.

“My students currently have their art work at the museum,” said art teacher Lydia Lim. “Right now, we’re working on a clay project and we’re also doing a community mural project, so the students are coming up with some great ideas. My classes and the art club are very hands-on. I just want to give my students various opportunities.

“I want them to be inspired and have an appreciation for art. I know they’re not all going to end up as artists and designers. I just want them to be inspired, use their creativity, and understand the concept behind art itself.”

Sixth-grader Le’najah Coleman has not only excelled academically at AMY, but she also does a lot outside of AMY. Coleman has been a cheerleader since five-years-old. She currently cheers for the Oak Lane Wildcats. The team recently won first place in nationals in Florida.

“The whole experience was wonderful; I was so excited,” Coleman said. “We competed with two other teams that were really good. We’ve been to Florida before, but we never came in first place. I did have to miss a couple days at school, but I still had to do my schoolwork while I was down there.

“Everyone at AMY has been so supportive of everything that I’ve done. I really like this school. The principals and teacher want to see you succeed. I’m looking forward to all the different things I will learn at this school.”

Other points of pride at AMY include achieving AYP status in PSSA testing for the last eight consecutive years, the Finley Recreation Center Essay contest winner (2011), and the Northwest Region 24 Challenge champions grades sixth and seventh and Platinum division. Last Year, the school was number one in the city and commonwealth for the “First in Math” program. They also finished number two in the whole nation for the program.

“I really like AMY,” said seventh-grader Tiy-Janae Jones. “Even though the distance is far with the recent move, the school is so good that I wanted to continue to attend. Everyone is nice and they make sure we receive the best education that will prepare us for our later years.

“AMY is a challenging school, so you have to be on your game when you come here. All the students who goes here wants to succeed, reach their full potential, and do something with their life. I want to be a pediatrician when I get older. AMY is already helping me prepare for my future.”

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