THE BRONX - Fourteen new schools are opening this year, and while transfer schools and charter schools may not seem out of the ordinary, one new Bronx school takes a whole new approach to education.

Students at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation will be able to use the Bronx Zoo as their classroom. Sixth-graders will have the opportunity to head to the zoo and see the animals pictured in their textbooks up close.

Students will study typical subjects such as science, math and English. However, zoo educators believe kids will get a taste of something new by learning at the zoo.

?Even though they?ve grown up here, they haven?t had the opportunity to get in touch with nature,? Don Lisowy, curator of education at the Bronx Zoo, said.

Another new Bronx school is the Bronx Community High School. Teacher meetings are underway as the finishing touches are put in place at the new school. Bronx Community is a transfer school, which means that students who have left other high schools may enter with varying credit requirements.

Carl C. Ichan Charter School North is keeping teachers busy with workshops before school starts. Teachers are polishing their own skills with professional development workshops that keep them learning and help them ask more probing questions.

The Department of Education points to graduation rates and performance data as success for the new small schools. They say they will continue to open them for the 2008 school year to give Bronx parents and students more good choices about where to receive an education. The DOE hopes to replace larger failing schools with the new, smaller schools.