I.S. 211 John Wilson
BROOKLYN NY 11236 Map
I.S. 211 John Wilson
A strong focus on discipline, and an emphasis on improving test scores, characterizes IS 211 which serves a largely Caribbean-West Indian population in Canarsie.
The school has three screened academies: Communication Arts, Cultural Arts and Business. Admission to the academies is based on student interest and talent. There is also an ASTRAL Program for gifted and talented students based on state test scores. Students in ASTRAL will receive additional instruction in academics (advance classes such as math A prep, Spanish proficiency Regents, advanced literature and Earth science Regents), technology, foreign language and the arts.
Communication Arts Academy is focused on print and broadcast journalism, and social studies. Cultural Arts is for teens who like music, drama, dance and art. Business and Technology is geared toward business operations and structures. There is a student government and a debate club.
In this economically diverse neighborhood some students live in housing projects, others in single or two-family homes; some have more exposure to the world beyond the block than others. Trips to museums and colleges, and a community service requirement, are part of a strategy to give all students new experiences.
Principal Carolyn James [pictured above with students in a school photo] was with the school for seven years as assistant principal and mentored by her predecessor Buffie Simmons-Peart before taking the helm in 2011, according to an article in the Carnasie Courier.
"When I was 14, I helped out at a daycare and I also did a lot with youths as a youth advisor when I was involved with the church," she was quoted as saying in the article. "I just love taking care of and helping children."
James and her staff have overcome a variety of challenges including the relocation of many students to Tilden High School following Hurricane Sandy (they have since returned), serving increased numbers of children with special needs, and giving up some of their space in 2013 to Leadership Prep 4 Charter School due to declining enrollment.
Annual surveys show that academics at IS 211 are on par with the citywide average, but some students complain of bullying and disrespect among students.
John Wilson has a step team, a cheerleading team, football, volleyball and basketball. Many students attend Saturday Academy or an after school program aimed at boosting reading and writing skills, and preparing for state tests. Regents classes are offered in Earth science, French, algebra and Spanish.
Most graduates attend nearby high schools including Madison or the new smaller schools in the Canarsie High School building. A few go to specialized schools.
Special education: There are self-contained classes, and Integrated Co-Teaching classrooms in which students with special needs learn alongside their general education peers with two teachers, one of whom is certified to teach special education.
Admissions: Zoned middle school; students in the selective Astral program apply and are assigned though the district office based on NYS exams; students in the learning academies are screened based on test scores and a writing sample. (Lydie Raschka, online reports and school data, April 2014)