Brooklyn Secondary School for Collaborative Studies

An Insideschools pick
An Insideschools pick for Special Education
610 HENRY STREET
BROOKLYN NY 11231 Map
Phone: (718) 923-4700
Website: Click here
Admissions: MS: Interview; HS: priority to continuing students
Principal: Priscilla Chan
Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens
District: 15
Grade range: 6-12
Parent Coordinator: Tracey Pinkard
Humanities & Interdisciplinary

Buses: B57, B61, X12, X14, X17, X17A, X19, X3, X31, X42, X5, X8, X9

What's special:

Accepts students of all skill levels and prepares them for college

The downside:

Relaxed atmosphere and pace of instruction not for everyone

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

At Brooklyn School of Collaborative Studies, teachers encourage children to explore their own interests, to do independent research and to write the kind of long papers they'll need to do in college. The school has a good track record helping kids who may have weak academic skills persevere in middle school to prepare for high school and higher education.

The atmosphere of the school is relaxed. Students address the principal by her first name and some students wear hats or hooded sweatshirts in class. Rather than worrying about what children wear, BCS focuses on how the students treat one another. When there is a disagreement, gossip or hurt feelings, staffers lead the involved students, their families and advocates in a “restorative circle” that allows all voices to be heard. “If we do this with the little problems, the big ones don’t arise,” says Scill (short for Priscilla) Chan, who became principal of BCS in 2014 after a number of years as director of the high school.

Part of the NYC Outward Bound Schools network of Expeditionary Learning Schools, BCS offers children the chance to learn outside of traditional classrooms. In sixth and ninth grades, students go on camping trips. In eleventh grade, they may have internships at law firms, the zoo, or a local television station. Students may check the pH and oxygen levels in the Gowanus Canal to see if it can sustain life (it cannot) or research topics like eminent domain at the controversial Barclays Center sports stadium.

In the classroom, children work almost entirely in groups and practice presenting their work to upper graders and parents who act as evaluators. Instead of taking the Regents exams in high school, BCS students must complete four Performance-Based Assessment Tasks (PBATs) for which they propose a topic, conduct independent research, and write a paper which they publicly defend to a panel of faculty, peers and visiting experts. A member of the senior class said that near the end of each semester, “everyone stays after school nonstop to get it done, but by the end, it becomes a beautiful 20-30 page paper!”

Every student belongs to a "crew," an advisory group of 12 students and one teacher, which takes its name from the school’s slogan "We're all crew, not passengers." These groups meet daily for a half hour to build community and work together on the social-emotional development goals of the school.

The time BCS spends on cultivating research and teamwork skills may come at a tradeoff, though. State test scores for middle school math are far below average, which Chan attributes to the wide range of academic skills their incoming students bring. By the time they reach the upper grades, they are able to do rigorous, college-level research projects that she believes are a much better way for the students to demonstrate their mastery and potential. Chan works closely with two strong assistant principals, Amanda Boege who is the Lower Grades Director and Imani Matthews who is the Director of Student Affairs and Family Engagement to prepare them for this work and create rich learning experiences across the whole curriculum.

About 50-60 percent of the 8th graders stay for high school; those who leave have been accepted at top schools such as LaGuardia, Brooklyn Tech and Beacon. Electives include American Sign Language, LEGO Robotics, “projectiles,” paleontology, dance and a drama (with its own blackbox theatre led by a professional theater director). The school band, led by a conservatory-trained teacher, has traveled abroad to Italy and Denmark.

BCS was founded in 2001 as the upper school for Brooklyn New School and it shares a large, century-old building with that popular progressive elementary school.

Special Education: About 40 percent of students receive special education services. There is one self-contained class for children in the lower grades with high needs, but those students are mixed in with the rest of their grades for crew and electives. As those students get older, they are folded into Integrated Team Teaching classes, in which two teachers work together in a class that mixes special needs kids with those in general education. Two-thirds of the lower school classes offer ICT, but this percentage goes down in the upper grades as individualized schedules become harder to coordinate. High school students with special needs are given extra assistance with the organization and research skills required of them for their PBATs.

After School: BCS has an after school program run by the YWCA each night until 6 pm. Programming includes more LEGO Robotics, visual arts, ceramics, chorus, and step team. Other activities include a spoken word partnership with the Brooklyn Academy of Music and boatbuilding with Brooklyn Boatworks. Sports include girls’ and boys’ basketball, baseball, softball, boys’ soccer, and girls’ volleyball.

College Admissions: College counselor Josh Steckel works hard to find good matches for his students and build relationships with colleges who can look past the school’s below average SAT scores to see the value of the PBATs. He makes sure that BCS students as young as 6th grade are beginning to envision themselves as college students and lifelong learners with experiences like alumni roundtables, discussions in crew classes, and a “College Bound” ceremony where the entire school cheers on the seniors as they walk to the mailbox to submit their college applications in December. The seniors all go on at least two college visits a year; on one such visit, students spent three days and two nights at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, observing and sketching birds with college scientists. Each year BCS helps train five to eight graduate students who are on hand to offer individualized help with applications, as well as transition support for alumni who need help with financial aid forms or tying up other loose ends.

The school has a strong record of college admissions as well as college retention. Graduates have attended Colby, Skidmore, Bard, Hampshire and Cornell. Some 84 percent of BCS students who begin college are still enrolled three semesters later, a figure that is much higher than other schools with similar students. Chan attributes this to the school’s success in preparing students for the responsibility and self-direction required of them in their post-secondary work.

Admission: Middle school admission is generally limited to District 15. Prospective students are interviewed to see if they will be a good fit for the school’s collaborative learning process. For high school, priority is given to current 8th graders and then to students who attend a tour of the school.

This school received a bronze medal in US News and World Report’s 2014 Best High Schools(Nicole Mader, September 2014).

Middle InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the building with PS 146

Number of Students 679

Average Daily Attendance 87%

Uniforms? NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
3%

Black

  
40%

Hispanic

  
45%

White

  
10%

Free Lunch

  
69%

Special ed

  
33%

English Language Learners

  
7%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.31 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?

46% 49% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

75% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

97% 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?

41% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

13% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

26% 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:

NA 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

10% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 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:

13% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 18% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the building with PS 146

Number of Students 679

Average Daily Attendance 87%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
3%

Black

  
40%

Hispanic

  
45%

White

  
10%

Free Lunch

  
69%

Special ed

  
33%

English Language Learners

  
7%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.31 2.39 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


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

Middle school students reading at grade level:

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Middle school students doing math at grade level:

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Safety & vibe

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

70% 74% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

97% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

84% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

41% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2015

How many students graduated within 4 years?

89% 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

87% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

2% 9% 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?

0%

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

1%

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

0%

Are students ready for college?

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

53% 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

411
424 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 495 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

77% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

401
432 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 511 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

Is the guidance counseling helpful?

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

84% 48% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

83% 57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

48% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

56% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies

Limited Unscreened

Academics

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Robotics, Homework Help, Computer Lab, Art Shows, Art Portfolio, Art Studio, Community Service, Dance, Digital Music, Digital Video, Gay-Straight Alliance, Graphic Design, Instrumental Music and Band, Peer Mediation, Peer Tutoring, Service Learning, Poetry, Student Mentors; Current clubs include Film, Theater, Track, and Volleyball; we develop clubs to meet student interests

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Soccer

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Softball, Volleyball

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

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