Millennium Brooklyn H.S.

237 7 AVENUE
Phone: (718) 832-4333
Website: Click here
Admissions: Selective; priority Brooklyn
Noteworthy Special Education
Principal: Dr. Lisa Gioe
Neighborhood: Park Slope
District: 15
Grade range: 09 thru 11
Parent coordinator: STEPHANE JEAN JACQUES

What's special:

Small academically challenging and inclusive school in leafy Park Slope.

The downside:

Old building with metal detectors and some windowless classrooms.

The InsideStats


Our review

A small, selective yet inclusive high school, Millennium Brooklyn is taking best practices from the successful Millennium High School in Manhattan and replicating them in the heart of Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Opened in 2011 with a 9th grade in the John Jay building, Millennium feels like a fully–established school, with many after school clubs, sports teams shared with Millennium Manhattan, a school government, community service projects and a school store. We visited during Spirit Week, when students and teachers dressed up in wacky costumes and brought in food to share from their native cultures.

Among the successful practices the school borrowed from Millennium are a two-year bio-chemistry accelerated curriculum and a humanities program which combines English and history. The two sister schools share sports teams, including a PSAL swim team that practices in the John Jay pool.

Learning is project-based with a heavy research focus, and students actively participate in class. They do research in subjects such as anthropology, statistics, and sociology. The principal teaches a research class about scientific investigation. Each year students produce two research-based presentations and papers.

Millennium Brooklyn offers a daily advisory session with 15-16 students. Each student is assigned an advisor who is the point person for them and their parents. Advisories provide academic check-ins and teach test-taking skills. Advisors and students correspond in weekly journals about books they are reading, academics and social issues. Parents check in online with the Pupil Path system, to access their child's grades and homework assignments. Students do 2 to 3 hours of homework per night.

The student government chose the community service projects and all students must commit to one: collecting pencils for a school, or providing presents for needy families at the holidays are two examples.

School founder Lisa Gioe came from a popular District 15 middle school, MS 447, where she created an ASD Nest Program for students on the autism spectrum. She put that model in place at Millennium High School. Up to five students are mainstreamed in general education classes and receive extra small group and social skills instruction. In addition, two of the four classes on each grade combine special and general education students and are taught by two teachers.

"We are trying to be a full inclusion school," said Gioe who works side by side with Assistant Principal Lindsey Baumgarten, who was the special ed coordinator at Millennium in Manhattan. "They [special needs students] get 3's and 4's because they get the support."

John Jay is getting a much needed sprucing up, with upgraded electrical and plumbing. Still, a few of the classrooms in Millennium's space are windowless and airless. Girls even use one of them to change into gym clothes.

Most students go out to lunch on busy 7th Avenue or they go up to the building's library. If they leave, they must pass through the building's scanners on their return.

Some students and staff from the other three schools in the building protested the siting of Millennium at John Jay before the school opened. But after a few early challenges, such as teens from other schools peeking in the classroom windows, things normalized and the students see one another as peers, teachers said. The school day at Millennium Brooklyn starts and ends earlier but there are some shared after school activities with other schools such as a popular Battle Chef cooking contest and a writing club. The four school principals meet every Friday to discuss the shared facility and work out the schedule.

Admission: Selective. Students should score a level 3 or 4 on state exams and have at least an 85 average in core academic subjects. Preference goes to Brooklyn residents. In 2011 there were 1000 applications for 108 seats. (Pamela Wheaton, March 2012)

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