Brownsville Collegiate Charter School

364 SACKMAN STREET
BROOKLYN NY 11212 Map
Phone: (718) 636-0370
Website: Click here
Admissions: Lottery. Priority to District 23.
charter
Principal: Jessica Simmons
Neighborhood: Brownsville
District: 23
Grade range: 05 thru 10

What's special:

Stellar math scores on state tests; emphasis on college-readiness

The downside:

Some classrooms lack excitement; highly-structured atmosphere not for everyone

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Brownsville Collegiate, sharing space at PS 150, is an Uncommon Schools charter, part of a group of elementary and middle schools and a high school. Uncommon Schools share core values and daily practices that emphasize structure, academic rigor (double periods of math and English daily), appropriate “professional and achieving” behavior, and college preparation. All classes are named for their teachers’ alma maters, and students in the 8th grade take an end-of-year trip that includes visits to college campuses.

Uncommon Schools have two school leaders: a principal and a director of operations. At Brownsville Collegiate, NYC-public-school grad and Operations Director Jeannemarie Hendershot partners with Principal Jessica Simmons. Both are Teach for America alums.

Some of the teaching we observed was outstanding, including a history lesson that used a facsimile of an original Civil War document to open a conversation on slavery and the ethics of selling people, and an English lesson that clearly broke down the basic elements of writing a short responsive essay. In one class, the teacher struck a competitive chord, urging children taking notes from a document reader to “Write as fast as I am. Come on, keep up! Stay on your toes, this is easy!”

The school is a highly conditioned, disciplined environment: One pattern of handclaps draws a class's attention; another sequence of finger snaps shows that students are ready for their next task, for example. These cues are modeled by teachers from day one and (most important) practiced in every classroom in the school. The highly codified rules and behavior underpin how students turn a military-sharp about-face (on cue in a single-file hallway lineup) to how teachers manage their students, with repetitive chanting and elaborate handclaps and snaps to show that a teacher’s directions have been heard. Discipline is strict but not highly punitive, with a focus on rewarding good behavior. The school uses the MAPP (mindful, achieving, professional, prepared) system of discipline motivation. Students, who wear neat, conservative uniforms, earn merits and can redeem them for prizes at the “merit store” or earn privileges like dinner with school staff. Academic progress reports students receive every two weeks track discipline merits and demerits.

Many students seemed subdued in classrooms that were largely barren of student-made work or art, books, or other nonessential learning materials, like math manipulatives and art supplies. Most classes are set up in traditional rows, with teachers up at the front delivering the lessons. Most classes have 22 students. Students are grouped based on similar abilities in 5th and 6th grades, Hendershot said, but classes are more mixed in the upper grades. Some students are required to attend after-school tutoring and Saturday school.. Even with the extra help, about 30 percent of the 5th and 6th graders were held back, and about half of the retained 6th graders elected to leave the school rather than repeat the grade, Hendershot said.

A wide range of arts and sports enrichments—from drumming and printmaking to digital urban design, basketball, and step/double dutch—are offered three days a week, for four nine-week sessions each year.

Brownsville Collegiate students go on to Uncommon Collegiate Charter High School, which is limited to students who graduated from 8th grade at Brownsville Collegiate and Bed Stuy Collegiate

Special Education: Three special-ed teachers help support students with IEPs. Some students, who had their IEPs changed in order to attend the school, have elected to leave, but most have stayed since the school first opened, Hendershot said. There are no Collaborative Team Teaching or separate special education classes.

 Admissions: The school admits students via a lottery, with two-thirds of students coming from the immediate neighborhood, including the Seth Low and VanDyke houses. Preference goes to children in District 23. (Helen Zelon, April 2011)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the PS 150 building

Number of Students 341

Average Daily Attendance 97%

Uniforms? NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
1%

Black

  
84%

Hispanic

  
14%

White

  
1%

Free Lunch

  
82%

Special ed

  
15%

English Language Learners

  
2%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.73 2.80 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


1 = Far below grade level 2 = Below grade level 3 = At grade level 4 = Above grade level

Safety & vibe

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

51% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students say this school offers enough programs to keep them interested?

56% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE KIDS NICE?

How many students complain about bullying?

71% 71% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students say students at their school respect one another?

60% 56% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?

89% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

89% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

95% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

NA 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students are chronically absent?

NA 25% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam

40% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ela exam

19% 25% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 science exam

NA 51% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS Prep

How many 8th graders pass high school regents exams?

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass the algebra regents:

87% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass a science regents:

89% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How do graduates do in 9th grade?

Percent who pass all their classes freshman year:

6% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:

13% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

13% 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:

0% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

0% 4% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:

7% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

4% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

NA 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

NA 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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