Green School: An Academy for Environmental Careers

Phone: (718) 599-1207
Website: Click here
Admissions: Citywide
Principal: CARA TAIT
Neighborhood: Williamsburg/ Greenpoint
District: 14
Grade range: 09 thru 12

What's special:

Environmental and social justice theme

The downside:

Low attendance rates

The InsideStats


Our review

At the Green School, students may paint a mural about climate change [see photo from school website] or go on a school-wide camping trip. In recent years, the school has expanded its theme of environmental sustainability to include personal and cultural preservation.

The school faces some challenges. The attendance is poor and the graduation rate is below the city average.  The school doors are open to all, and the low graduation rates may reflect the school’s large population of students with special needs. One in five students receive special education services and one in ten students is overage.

The school has gone through changes. Founding principal Karali Pitzele left and was replaced by Cara Tait in January 2012. Tait is moving the school from its original alternative model to become a more traditional school, but the details are still in flux. “We’re definitely moving to a much more traditional model and really trying to up the academic rigor so that students are better prepared to move onto post-secondary,” Dorita James, the school’s coordinator of special education, said in a telephone interview.

James says the school plans to maintain its half-day per week internship program, even though it didn’t pan out for most students in 2012. “The internships are a major component of the school that we don’t want to lose,” James said.

Unfortunately, there are some discipline problems. There are some complaints of fights, and one-third of the students responding to the 2012 Learning Environment Survey said teachers are not treated with respect. 

The school has adopted a restorative justice model to teach children to mediate low-level conflicts themselves, James said. Freshmen have biweekly classes in student mediation and a couple upperclassmen serve as conflict mediators, James said.

Kids may leave the Green School for lunch. The school does not have metal detectors but school security officers conduct bimonthly random searches, a teacher, Stephanie Samuel, told us at the high school fair. Students are not required to wear uniforms. They are allowed to have cell phones in the building but not in class. Some students have access to lockers but not all.

The Green School is on the second floor of the IS 49 building, shared with several other high schools. The schools share club sports after-school.

Special education: The school offers team-taught classes with two teachers, one of whom is certified in special education certified. It also offers Special Education Teacher Support Services for extra help in small groups either in or outside the classroom. Special education students may participate in the school’s internship program, said James.

College: The school has a full-time college counselor.

Admissions: Limited unscreened. (Anna Schneider, compiled from DOE data, the school’s website, and interviews with school staff, November 2012)

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