High School for Public Service: Heroes of Tomorrow

Phone: (718) 756-5325
Website: Click here
Admissions: Screened, Brooklyn priority
Wheelchair accessible
Principal: Sean Rice
Neighborhood: East Flatbush
District: 17
Grade range: 09 thru 12
Parent coordinator: ERIC FERREIRA

What's special:

Strong leadership; emphasis on academic excellence and community responsibility blend well.

The downside:

Building's electrical systems need an upgrade.

The InsideStats



Our review

High School for Public Service/Heroes for Tomorrow is a Brooklyn gem, posting top graduation rates while also preparing a higher than average percentage of graduates for college-level work.

The combination of public service and strong academics has been a winning one at Public Service, which has been led by Benjamin Shuldiner since its founding in 2003.

Although the school accepts students who score a Level 2 or higher on state exams, many students arrive performing at grade level and there are fewer students who require special education services than at most schools.

"This school has great leadership and staff," said a New Visions official who provides support to the school. "There's not a lot of turnover, and they are very committed to the vision of public service combined with academic excellence."

Students enter either the medical or legal academy at the school. The law section, which features a mock-trial program, is run by an attorney, while a teacher-physician oversees the medical section. Students there participate in internships at hospitals, including SUNY Downstate Medical Center, located just a block from the school.

Strong leadership and low teacher turnover has led to a consistent academic structure. All students have to complete two projects in each class. The projects, called "mastery work," are evaluated according to expectations that are spelled out in detail, and students may revise their work for an improved grade. Each course also has an exam at the conclusion of every marking period. As students advance, they are expected to write longer essays and conduct their own research.

The school does a thorough job of incorporating public service into the academic curriculum and academic skills into the public service program. In addition to taking traditional courses, students must enroll in classes about community service, leadership, and ethics. They also complete 50 hours of community service each year. At first, they sign up to work with established volunteer programs, but by their junior year they are expected to create their own projects.

Student interest has given rise to an environmental emphasis in these projects and some coursework. A 10,000 square-foot garden was built by community partners in front of the Wingate campus, and is tended by students.

School officials report a good working relationship between the five schools that share the building but say that the heating and air conditioning systems could use an upgrade.

There is a College Now program connected to Brooklyn College, and several AP courses are offered.

College admissions: There is a strong emphasis on college enrollment. Many students go to two and four-year CUNY schools. Some go out of state, including a handful to Ivy League schools.

Afterschool: Students participate in a range of campus wide sports teams and an array of social and academic clubs. Tutoring is also available.

Admissions: Students must score at least a Level 2 on state math and ELA exams and have a 75 average in core middle school subjects. Priority goes to Brooklyn students. (Meredith Kolodner, web reports & interviews, September 2012)

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