Benjamin Banneker Academy

An Insideschools pick
71-77 CLINTON AVENUE
BROOKLYN NY 11205 Map
Phone: (718) 797-3702
Website: Click here
Admissions: Selective; priority to District 13, 14, 15, & 16
Principal: Deonca Renee
Neighborhood: Fort Greene/ Clinton Hill
District: 13
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: Terrell Tuggle
Humanities & Interdisciplinary
Health Professions
Engineering
Communications
Wheelchair Accessible

Buses: B38, B48, B54, B57, B62, B67, B69

What's special:

Challenging academics & welcoming environment in Africa-themed school

The downside:

Some classes lack spark

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Benjamin Banneker is an academically challenging school with an African theme and a warm, supportive environment.

Students arrive at the school performing at a high level and are accepted into one of four programs – humanities, media communication, pre-engineering or pre-medicine. Many lessons we observed were creative and encouraged student participation. African and African-American themes are interwoven with a traditional curriculum.

A sense of community pervades the school. Students, staff and administrators smile and say good morning as they pass in the hallways. Class changes are relaxed and orderly. Students feel safe and respected. "If I stopped a senior in the hall and asked, he would probably help me," said a 9th grader, with a hint of wonder.

Still, some of the classrooms lacked the energy and participation you would expect in such a selective school. An A.P. teacher animatedly related a lesson while two students dozed with their heads on their desks. The heads came up, however, as soon as they saw the principal. Attendance, 89% for the 2010-2011 school year, is lower than at other selective schools although at the beginning of the 2011-2012 year, it had come up to over 90%.

Deonca Renee is the third principal since Banneker opened in 2003. She did her student teaching at the school, became a math teacher, and moved up to assistant principal after going through the Leadership Academy. She has an informal and warm approach and greeted many students by name.

Although the school has grown much larger than its leadership would like, Renee said that students with different backgrounds and interests are still able to find their place. "We still have that feeling of every child belongs," she said.

The mostly black staff emphasizes African-American artists, scientists and writers while also teaching the standard curriculum. Students go on trips to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and to an African country. "It's not to separate them from anyone," Renee explained, while emphasizing that students of all races were welcome. "It's about knowing what their ancestors went through and their value in the world and in the community."

Students said they appreciated the fact that they were given a good measure of freedom as long as they kept their grades up. They described discipline as fair, although teachers reported a decline of order and discipline on the 2011 Environmental Survey.

The former factory building has some constraints: there is no auditorium where the whole school can gather, the cafeteria holds 250 students forcing four lunch periods and the gym holds a maximum of 400 standing.

Importance is given to the arts as well as academics. Students can earn an Advanced Regents degree in dance. The art studio is a light airy space decorated with student work. A mock television studio located in the basement allows students to learn video making and participate in a citywide film festival, which Banneker students have won several times.

A very active kinship association takes the place of a parent association and organizes town hall meetings, health events and community meals for kids in the throes of Regents preparation on Saturdays.

College admissions: The school has a guidance counselor devoted solely to college counseling. Alumnae come in to talk with students, and the school helps out with scholarship applications and arranges college tours. Many students go to SUNY schools, such as Albany, Buffalo and Stonybrook. Historically black colleges are also popular, such as Howard, Morehouse and Spelman. Some student get into elite colleges such as Princeton and Brown, but financial barriers often compel them to attend less pricey schools, the principal said.

Admissions: Students must have an 80 average and score 3 or 4 on state reading and math exams, although some exceptions are made. Residents of Districts 13, 14, 15, and 16 have priority. There are many more applicants than seats. (Meredith Kolodner, January 2012)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 907

Average Daily Attendance 90%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
4%

Black

  
86%

Hispanic

  
9%

White

  
0%

Free Lunch

  
54%

Special ed

  
4%

English Language Learners

  
0%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.95 2.80 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


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

Safety & vibe

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

29 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

52% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

75% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

How many students say they feel safe in hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?

83% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

65% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

27% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many students graduated within 4 years?

95% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

96% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many students graduated within 4 years?

95% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates earned an advanced regents diploma within 4 years?

18% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

96% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

1% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

College prep

Does this school offer a college preparatory curriculum?

How many students took an AP or IB class and scored at least a "3" on the AP exam or a "4" on the IB exam?

22%

How Many Students took a College Course and Got a "C" or Higher?

11%

How many students passed a Regents exam for algebra 2, physics or chemistry?

49%

Are students ready for college?

How many students graduated in four years with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?

61% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

474
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

80% 62% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

476
425 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 514 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

Is the guidance counseling helpful?

How many students say that this school provides helpful counseling on college or job-seeking?

68% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

100% 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

80% 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students with disabilities spend most of the day with non-disabled peers?

65% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say students with disabilities are included in all activities?

89% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

58% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Priority to Districts 13, 14, 15 and 16 students or residents
  2. Then to Brooklyn students or residents
  3. Then to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

Humanities

Screened

For students interested in all facets of learning; extensive literary, writing, and research courses to sample; interdisciplinary curriculum that includes technology, humanities, and social sciences.

Selection Criteria

  • English (80-100) , Social Studies (80-100)
  • Math Levels: Levels 3-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: Levels 3-4

There may be additional selection criteria, see the High School Directory for more information

Media Communication

Screened

A hands-on approach to understanding mass media, opportunities to develop career skills in video production, journalism, media arts, and technology, with internships in various media outlets.

Selection Criteria

  • English (80-100) , Social Studies (80-100)
  • Math Levels: Levels 3-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: Levels 3-4

There may be additional selection criteria, see the High School Directory for more information

Pre-Engineering

Screened

Training related to the field of engineering; courses in math and science and the requirement of maintaining an 80 or above average in these areas.

Selection Criteria

  • Math (80-100) , Science (80-100)
  • Math Levels: Levels 3-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: Levels 3-4

There may be additional selection criteria, see the High School Directory for more information

Pre-Medicine

Screened

An introduction to the health professions; intense courses in math and science with the requirement of maintaining an 80 or above average in these areas; and exposure to various opportunities in the medical field.

Selection Criteria

  • Math (80-100) , Science (80-100)
  • Math Levels: Levels 3-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: Levels 3-4

There may be additional selection criteria, see the High School Directory for more information

Academics

AP COURSES: Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, Psychology, Statistics, United States History, World History

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: 90's Club, Africa Tours, African Dance Team, African Drumming, After-school Tutoring, Architecture, Banneker Sisters United, Banneker Brothers United, Benjamin Banneker Musical Chorus Group, Book Club, Chess, Construction and Engineering (ACE) Program, Crocheting and Knitting, Debate Team, Doctors of Tomorrow, Katrina Relief and Recovery Project, Latino Dance Group, Literary Guild, LIU Charles Evans Innis Scholars Program and Work Hard/Play Hard, Manhood Training, Math Club, National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Jr., Nurange Dance Company, Peer Mediation and Conflict Resolution, Peer Tutoring, Savvy Mentoring, Sign Language, Sisters Inspiring Sisters to Success (SISTS) Mentoring Program, Step Team, Student Government, The After-school Corporation (TASC), Video Production (AV Squad), Vocational and Technical Education Act (VATEA) Engineering Program, Warrior Scholars, Young Men’s Group, Young Poets Society, Zawadi Art Ensemble

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball & JV Basketball, Bowling, Double Dutch, Fencing, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Volleyball

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

Other schools sports: Intramural Basketball, Equestrian Team, Flag Football, Martial Arts, Track Team

Source: High school directory

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