John Dewey High School

50 AVENUE X
BROOKLYN NY 11223 Map
Phone: (718) 373-6400
Website: Click here
Admissions: Priority to District 21 residents/ed opt
Principal: Connie Hamilton
Neighborhood: Gravesend
District: 21
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: KRISTINE GATTUSO
Humanities & Interdisciplinary
Performing Arts
Science & Math
Health Professions
Law & Government
Culinary Arts
ESL Focus

Buses: B1, B4, B64, B82, X28, X38

What's special:

Some good facilities; loyal alumni

The downside:

Tagged as a failing school by the city; uncertain future

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Once viewed as a beacon for progressive education in New York City, John Dewey has had a rough time in the last decade, culminating the city's efforts to shut Dewey and reopen it with a new name and a majority of new staff in September 2012. Legal action stopped that, so Dewey will keep the Dewey name and much of its faculty for the time being. Beyond that, though, much remains uncertain.

Established in 1969 as a pioneering school where students would take increased responsibility for their own education, Dewey boasts a spacious campus, performing arts facilities and rooms designed to encourage group work and independent study, all hallmarks of the Dewey model.

By most accounts, the essence of what made Dewey Dewey has eroded over the years, owing to budget cuts, staff changes and a different student body. Since the advent of metal detectors and other security measures, students have had limited use of the grassy grounds, and many of its facilities have gone largely unused.

On a 2007 visit, Insideschools found scant evidence of the school's progressive origins, with traditional classes, little student art and a lack of materials. While Dewey once accepted only students who chose it -- and its approach -- the closing of nearby Lafayette High School and other large schools sent many students with no particular interest in Dewey to the Gravesend school. Security and discipline problems increased, and the graduation rate declined. By the 2011-12 school year, fewer than 2,200 students attended a building designed to hold 2,800.

In 2010-11, Dewey was identified as a persistently low-achieving school, to the shock of those who remembered its halcyon days. It turned up on the chopping block in 2012 when the Bloomberg administration moved to close 24 schools, replace half their staffs, institute some program changes and reopen them with new names in September 2012. An arbitrator and the state Supreme Court blocked that move, meaning Dewey has survived----for now.

What the future holds, though, remains unclear. As it tried to shut Dewey, the Department of Education removed longtime--and frequently criticized--Principal Barry Fried. Many praised interim Principal Kathleen Elvin for showing leadership and improving discipline. [However, Elvin was removed from the school in 2015 because of a grade fixing scandal. The schools chancellor replaced her with Connie Hamilton, who had been principal of Kingsborough Early College School.] The school, which long prided itself on having no competitive teams, has recently introduced interscholastic sports. Some Dewey supporters point to the fact that it posts a college rate readiness well above the city average. Student safety and security appear to have improved substantially, according to Learning Environment Surveys.

Dewey continues to have strong supporters, including active and vocal alumni -- it recently won praise from graduate Spike Lee. Some students laud it for having committed teachers who provide them with needed individual attention. They also say that, even with its curtailed program, Dewey provides opportunities for students to pursue their own interests. It has offered a wide variety of classes, including Advanced Placement courses and classes on subjects including film, photography, Holocaust Studies and marine science.

The school now faces multiple challenges. By many accounts the upheavals at Dewey have divided the staff. Dewey, like the other so-called turnaround schools, did not appear in the 2012 directory provided to 8th graders applying to high schools; instead the directory has the name of the Departments of Education’s planned new school, now abandoned, Shorefront High School of Arts and Sciences at John Dewey Campus. Middle school students and their families may be reluctant to apply to a school that, fairly or unfairly, has been marked as failing. This could send more low-performing students to Dewey, making it harder for the school to thrive.

Special education: Dewey offers self-contained classes, team teaching and support services. It has also provides some special programs, including one in culinary education, and offers services to help students with IEPs select and apply for college and career education programs.

Admissions: Varies by program. The school has both screened programs and educational option programs designed to serve a range of abilities. (Gail Robinson, August 2012; updated June 2015)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Number of Students 2225

Average Daily Attendance 87%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? Yes

Students at this school

Asian

  
33%

Black

  
31%

Hispanic

  
21%

White

  
13%

Free Lunch

  
77%

Special ed

  
13%

English Language Learners

  
19%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.46 2.39 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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

82% 74% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

88% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

75% 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?

24% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2015

How many students graduated within 4 years?

70% 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

23% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

83% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

3% 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?

22%

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

35%

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

36%

Are students ready for college?

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

40% 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

418
424 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 495 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

68% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

512
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?

39% 48% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

48% 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

Bilingual Chinese (Mandarin) College Preparatory Program

Screened: Language

Extended Day program with two semesters that provides students with a wide range of program selections, taught in Bilingual Chinese (Mandarin).

The Academy of Fine and Performing Arts

Ed. Opt.

Students will experience an exciting program in Theater Arts, which will include performance courses, such as Acting, Scene Study, and Playwriting. Technical courses include costume design, stage craft, and set design. The Dance component of this program will include courses in traditional and modern dance, jazz, interpretive dance, and choreography.

The Academy of Law and Justice

Ed. Opt.

This is an opportunity for students interested in law and exploring the struggle for justice and human rights. Program electives focus on the criminal justice system. Through our affiliation with the Justice Resource Center and Facing History & Ourselves, students visit criminal and juvenile court, work with lawyers and politicians, and participate in moot court, mock trial, and Model UN competitions. Students will also have the opportunity to take part in NYUÎês High School Law Institute.

Pre-Med and Health Academy

Screened

This program equips students with the knowledge, skills, and competencies for success in college pre-med programs. This four-year math-science program culminates in internships at various medical facilities. Students take advanced placement courses in biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physiology and participate in Health Occupation Students of America. Students graduate with their CPR certification and at least two other certification courses offered by the American Red Cross.

Selection Criteria

  • English (Scores 65-100) , Math (Scores 65-100) , Science (Scores 65-100) , Social Studies (Scores 65-100)
  • Math Levels: Levels 1.8-4.5 ; English Language Arts Levels: Levels 1.9-4.5

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

The Academy for Business and Tourism/Hospitality

Ed. Opt.

This program provides students with management theories and operational talents in partnership with National Academy of Finance and Virtual Enterprise, Inc. Students are exposed to hands on, practical experiences beginning in the 9th grade and culminating with internships prior to senior year. Graduates will have the opportunity to leave with one or more certificates related to their specialty area.

STEM Academy

Screened

The STEM Academy provides students with a rigorous college preparatory curriculum with opportunities to explore the disciplines of computer science, engineering, and robotics. Courses will prepare students for colleges, career paths, and more. With significant opportunities for hands-on learning, students will gain fluency with the design process. STEM Academy students will be able to complete a number of college-level classes and are expected to apply their skills beyond the classroom.

Selection Criteria

  • English (Scores 65-100) , Math (Scores 70-100) , Science (Scores 69-100) , Social Studies (Scores 65-100)
  • Math Levels: Levels 1.9-4.5 ; English Language Arts Levels: Levels 1.9-4.5

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

Academics

AP COURSES: AP Art History, AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP Chinese, AP Computer Science, AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics, AP Psychology, AP Spanish, AP Statistics, AP US History, AP World History

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Anime, Asian-American, ASPIRA, Book Worms, Ceramics, Cheer, Rock, Council For Unity, Fashion, Health Occupations, MOUSE Squad, Space Science, Hispanic Leadership Internships, Dance, Enviro-Horticulture, Foreign Languages, Honor Society, Hebrew, Junior Achievement, Key Club, Marine Science, Math, Modeling, Multicultural Club, Peer Mediation, Model Congress, Robotics, Student Organization/Leadership, Theater & Performing Arts, Theatre Development Fund, Arts

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Badminton, Basketball, Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis, Wrestling

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Badminton, Basketball, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball

Other schools sports: We also offer a variety of after-school sports such as Intramural Soccer, Flag Football, Volleyball, Basketball and Badminton, Boys and Girls Basketball

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

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