I.S. 171 Abraham Lincoln
BROOKLYN NY 11208 Map
I.S. 171 Abraham Lincoln
MS 171 is a friendly neighborhood middle school in the diverse Cypress Hills community. Students come from many different countries including the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, China and Yemen.
Principal Indira Mota arrived in January 2014, after a 10-year period during which the school went through five principals. Her immediate task, she said, was to “change the tone and atmosphere” in the school where students have reported problems with bullying. She prides herself on having an “open door policy,” she said. “Kids are allowed to come in and talk to me.” She has earned the trust of the faculty: 90 percent of the teachers said she was a good manager on the annual school survey.
IS 171 is home to the Student Success Center pilot program, a Department of Education project which brings in counselors to train students to assist their classmates with high school admission. The intensive program has seen good results: Rather than simply choose to go to local high schools (as in past years), more and more students are now enrolling in some of the city’s top high schools, including the specialized exam schools.
In addition to advice about high school choice, the center offers counseling, high school and college fairs, college trips and youth leadership development. Ten colleges sent representatives to a college fair at the school in 2015.
Scores on state exams have been well below the city average. To help address that, teachers administer three practice exams to set a baseline before the state tests. The principal has also instituted common planning sessions for teachers and encourages them to integrate writing into most subjects.
For high-achievers there is a “top class” in 7th and 8th grade. There are no Regents classes but students may attend after-school prep sessions to prepare for U.S. History and Algebra Regents exams.
The 101-year-old building has some quirks—such as a cafeteria separated by gender—and could use a sprucing up and a paint-job in the stairwells. It is shared with Highland Park, a new small middle school.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The majority of students with special needs are enrolled in self-contained classes. On the day of our visit, students in those classrooms seemed distracted, having trouble paying attention and focusing on the planned lesson. There are also ICT classrooms.
HIGH SCHOOL ADMISSIONS: Many graduates attend nearby high schools, including Hillcrest, John Adams and Transit Tech and several small schools in the Franklin K. Lane complex. That is beginning to change since the Student Success Center opened. Many more 8th-graders have been accepted to specialized schools and screened schools in other boroughs such as Frank Sinatra, Fashion Industries, Beacon and Bard.
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. Most students come from within a 20 block radius. (Pamela Wheaton and Jacquie Wayans, June 2015)
At a glance
Number of Students 634
Average Daily Attendance 92%
INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.57 2.59 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Safety & vibe
DO STUDENTS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?70% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students say this school offers enough programs to keep them interested?84% 81% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE KIDS NICE?
How many students complain about bullying?30% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students say students at their school respect one another?59% 61% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?95% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?95% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?95% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average english class28 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?26% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE