EBC High School for Public Service Bushwick

1155 DEKALB AVENUE
BROOKLYN NY 11221 Map
Phone: (718) 452-3440
Website: Click here
Admissions: Educational option
Wheelchair accessible
unzoned
Principal: Shawn Brown
Neighborhood: Bushwick
District: 32
Grade range: 09 thru 12
Parent coordinator: SAMARY TRINIDAD

What's special:

New principal has respect of students and staff

The downside:

Academics have a long way to go

The InsideStats

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Our review

Founded in 1992 as a safe alternative to large, violent schools nearby, EBC High School for Public Service-Bushwick has been in a downward spiral in recent years, suffering from rapid principal turnover, friction between the administration and staff, and a declining graduation rate.

A new principal, Shawn Brown, arrived in 2011, determined to improve the school’s standing. He has the respect of students and staff, according to the Learning Environment Survey. Students feel safe and teachers say the school is orderly. Attendance is on the upswing. The building is welcoming, with a bright, beautiful, plant-filled lobby, a cafeteria that seems more like a restaurant than an institutional lunchroom, and clean bathrooms. But the academics have a long way to go.

Founded in 1992, the school was created as the result of community activism by East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC), a consortium of churches and homeowners' associations that works to rebuild communities in Brownsville, East New York, and Bushwick. [Photo is from the EBC website.] EBC lobbied for the creation of the school after two students were killed in 1991 at Thomas Jefferson High School.

At first, the school was successful, with a graduation rate that was higher than the citywide average. At a time when barely one-in-five students living in the neighborhood graduated from high school—and the city’s graduation rate hovered at 50 percent—about two-thirds of students from EBC School for Public Service graduated on time. It served as a model for the small schools created under the administration of Mayor Bloomberg, beginning 2003.

However, the school's fortunes began to decline when the Bloomberg administration started to close large, dysfunctional schools such as Jefferson and Bushwick High School, community activists say. Students who previously would have been assigned to those large schools were assigned instead to EBC High School for Public Service, and the enrollment swelled to more than 700. Although the school has always served children from low-performing middle schools, the new students had even lower levels of skills. The founding principal, Shirley Edwards, left; the school has had three principals since then. There was considerable friction between the third principal, Barnaby Spring, and staff, according to the Learning Environment Survey. The Department of Education gave the school an “F” on its progress report in 2011. When the latest principal, Brown, arrived in 2011, he had his work cut out for him.

Admissions: Educational option. (Clara Hemphill, interviews, statistics and web reports, September 2012)

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