Frances Perkins Academy
BROOKLYN NY 11222 Map
Frances Perkins Academy
At Frances Perkins Academy, students may build a chicken coop for a rooftop farm, learn to blow glass, or help design an indoor skateboard park. [See the school's promotional video on this page.] They work with mentors from neighborhood businesses and have internships at organizations such as the Museum of Natural History, the Intrepid, the Brooklyn Public Library, E-Media, Army Recruitment Center and the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, according to the Greenpoint Gazette.
Housed in the Automotive High School, the Frances Perkins prides itself on small class sizes and hands-on projects. “Our small class size provides students personalization," Principal Jocelyn Santana told the Gazette. "One Student at a Time, One Teacher at a Time is our mantra.”
The school was one of the first in the city to become affiliated with Big Picture Learning. This 2010 video shows how the school uses real-life experiences to complement classroom lessons along with a curriculum built around student interests. Qualified juniors and seniors participate in a Learning Through Internship program two times a week.
The school, named for Franklin D. Roosevelt's first labor secretary, was designed to encourage girls to study trades like carpentry. But the school is more than 75 percent male, and there are no certifications for trades. DNAinfo reported that the school has struggled with more than just gender balance, but also with trying to get kids up to speed academically. "It’s an uphill battle," said Santana in the article.
A teacher works closely with each student to identify their interests and personalize their learning in order to promote a supportive, cohesive environment, a challenge for such a new staff. In 2011-12, nearly half the teachers had less than four years of teaching experience according to the 2011-12 Learning Environment Survey.
FPA offers Advanced Placement classes in English, French, Spanish and government, and College Now classes at CUNY's New York City College of Technology, according to the school’s website. They also have iLearnNYC online courses for credit recovery and accelerated learning.
Students pass through metal detectors to enter the building. Though they reported in the survey that they feel safe inside the building, one-third say they do not feel safe outside on school grounds. More than half of teachers reported in the same survey that gang activity is a problem at the school.
After school, there are a variety of clubs including Reading Empowerment, dance and cheerleading. Male students may participate in team sports offered at Automotive.
Special education: There are ICT classes in every subject.
Admissions: Priority to students who attend an information session. (Aryn Bloodworth, DOE statistics, November 2012)