J.H.S. 50 John D. Wells

183 SOUTH 3 STREET
BROOKLYN NY 11211 Map
Phone: (718) 387-4184
Website: Click here
Admissions: neighborhood school
Principal: Benjamin Honoroff
Neighborhood: Williamsburg
District: 14
Grade range: 6-8
Parent Coordinator: JAHAIRA RODRIGUEZ
Unzoned

What's special:

Strong leadership; top-notch debate program; longer school day

The downside:

School is moving in right direction, but still has a ways to go

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

MS 50 is a calm, friendly school that’s gaining momentum thanks to an impressive debate program, strong leadership, and support from community organizations like El Puente, which offers after school activities and family support services.

On our visit, children seemed relaxed and engaged; teachers were enthusiastic and spoke to students in a conversational voice. Students wear uniforms of a blue top and either black or khaki pants and every child is given a free sweatshirt and a few tops with the school logo.

Kids learn how to debate not only in English class, but in other classes as well. In English, they research a weekly debate topic—such as single sex education—develop and present their arguments and offer feedback to their peers. In math, kids solve problems involving relevant statistics; in science, they read about and discuss gender differences and similarities; in social studies, they discuss the ethics of single sex education, including the issue of transgender students. Students who participate on the debate team, which has won city-wide tournaments, tackle topics on a more sophisticated level, but everyone in the school learns the basics.

In 2014 MS 50 became part of the city’s Renewal and Community Schools programs, which provides extra funding, support and oversight to low performing schools. While the school suffered from poor academic performance and declining enrollment in recent years, it seems to be on the upswing.

It is hard to overstate the positive impact that Principal Ben Honoroff, a former teacher, assistant principal and debate coach at ACORN Community High School, has had since his arrival in June 2015. Sixth grade enrollment has doubled, attendance is up and chronic absenteeism (students absent more than 10 percent of the school year) is down. Honoroff and staff overhauled the curriculum and he gets high marks from parents, teachers and students based on their responses to the NYC School Survey. Honoroff was also a coach for the Middle School Quality Initiative (MSQI), assisting participating schools, including MS 50, with the implementation of the MSQI programs aimed at boosting literacy skills in middle school students.

Even with its progress, MS 50 continues to face the challenge of serving some very needy children, including some who arrive mid-year with limited English or with interrupted education. But in the classes we saw, teachers were adept at helping those struggling to read while challenging students who were high performing.

To bolster math achievement, Honoroff and teachers adopted the Big Ideas program, which encourages children to understand concepts while gaining computational accuracy.

MS 50 students have an extended school day until 4pm. During the extra periods students engage in activities such as debate class, drama, video game design, mural painting, robotics, crocheting (“popular and very therapeutic,” said Honoroff) salsa dancing, academic prep gardening and chess. El Puente oversees free after-school activities that run until 6 pm.

The school occupies three floors of an early, 20th century red brick building that is shares with Success Academy Williamsburg.

Students in all grades have a weekly, small group advisory with a teacher where they discuss a range of school and age-related issues. Staff members visit each incoming 6th-grader at home before the start of school. In the fall, Honoroff meets with each 8th-grader individually to discuss high school options.

In addition to a full-time guidance counselor and social worker, the Puerto Rican Family Institute provides counseling to families in need.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: In addition to SETTS there are ICT and self-contained classes for special needs students only. The school has a transitional bilingual program for native Spanish speakers.

ADMISSIONS: Priority to District 14 students and residents. The school has room for students from other parts of Brooklyn. (Laura Zingmond, January 2017)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares a building with Success Academy Williamsburg Charter School

Number of Students 198

Average Daily Attendance 92%

Uniforms? NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
1%

Black

  
14%

Hispanic

  
82%

White

  
3%

Free Lunch

  
83%

Special ed

  
34%

English Language Learners

  
21%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: NA 2.59 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?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE KIDS NICE?

How many students complain about bullying?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

45% 49% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

90% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

90% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

NA 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students are chronically absent?

31% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

7% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

22% hi 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS Prep

How many 8th graders pass high school regents exams?

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

0% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How do graduates do in 9th grade?

Percent who pass all their classes freshman year:

NA NA 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 state math exam:

0% 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

7% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

8% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

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

4% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

21% 18% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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