Science, Technology and Research Early College High School at Erasmus

Phone: (718) 564-2540
Website: Click here
Admissions: Screened, boroughwide
Wheelchair accessible
Principal: Dr. Eric L. Blake
Neighborhood: Flatbush
District: 17
Grade range: 06 thru 12
Parent coordinator: ANESHA SLATER

What's special:

Strong college focus with homey feel.

The downside:

Lots of test prep.

Middle School Stats


High School Stats


Our review

The STAR: Science, Technology and Research Early College School at Erasmus has strong leadership, high academic standards and a good record getting kids into college. It draws from the Afro-Caribbean community of East Flatbush and most of the teachers and staff reflect the values of that community--"no nonsense" but "in your corner" at the same time. Principal Eric Blake, who is also of Caribbean descent, believes in the school so much that his own son attends. Students take courses at Brooklyn College and most graduate with 30 to 60 college credits.

Many academically challenging schools, particularly in African-American neighborhoods, have many more girls than boys. STAR, however, has roughly even numbers of boys and girls. Teachers go out of their way to provide encouragement to boys and their efforts seem to be paying off. On our visit, we saw boys contributing to class discussions and eagerly raising their hands to be recognized.

STAR was founded in 2003 with active partnerships with Brooklyn College and the City University of New York's science-oriented Gateway Institute. It focuses on preparing high school students to do college-level academics in all grades, across subject areas. Classes such as Spanish, calculus and the classics equip students for the SATs. Specially trained Brooklyn College students assist at Erasmus as paid tutors. All classrooms have two adults.

Middle school is accelerated so that students take their Regents in Algebra, Spanish and Living Environment in 7th and 8th grade. They aim to finish the rest of their Regents by the 10th grade so they are ready to take two college courses. In addition to the college courses, the school also offers Advanced Placement courses for the 10th and 11th graders. Students can expect lots of test prep for the Regents. The principal told us as much as 40 percent of the academic year is devoted to test prep.

High school students act as "buddies" to middle school students, helping them with reading. There are also "mixed" classes in subject areas like math and science that are based on student abilities, not their age. Students sometimes arrive with habits that the school quickly addresses. In one middle school class we saw a teacher correcting a student who used the phrase "shut up" in the class.

The structure in high school provides every student with a different program. Some students may start the day at STAR with their chosen academic classes or gym, and then they're off to Brooklyn College for courses or vice versa. By the time students are in the upper high school grades, they are self-motivated. We saw engaging teachers use celebrities to bring across their analogy without taking away from the subject. Students were attentive.

The school has made efforts to beef up technology. There are four labs where computer technology and graphics and online learning are offered. Students may take French, German, Chinese and Spanish. STAR joins with the other schools in Erasmus for sports teams run through PSAL. Erasmus has one of the city's top sports teams, including a rare girl's swim team. Another positive: students have lockers.

Special education: The school has very limited special education services.

College admissions: Many students attend CUNY schools and 90% are still enrolled after the first year, Blake said. Some students go to private colleges like Dartmouth and Cornell.

Admissions: Students living in Brooklyn who score level 3 and 4 may apply, and the family is interviewed. However, children scoring high level 2 may apply if they are willing to sign on to the school's college culture and the dedication required. Current middle school students have preference for the high school but must reapply. The school is near the "A" and "C" subway stops and easily accessible by bus. (Jacquie Wayans, April 2012)

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