I.S. 98 Bay Academy
BROOKLYN NY 11235 Map
I.S. 98 Bay Academy
JANUARY 2009 UPDATE: Admissions to Bay Academy is no longer open to students throughout the city. Only District 21 students may apply.
2004 REVIEW: The Bay Academy for Arts & Sciences was founded in 1995 as a way for the district to build on the enormous success of Mark Twain's gifted-and-talented program. Enrollment has climbed considerably in recent years as the school's reputation has spread, and the school draws children from across Brooklyn.
Built in the 1960s, the building has a prison-like exterior of gray concrete. But it has a cheerful, brightly lit entry hall, and the classrooms are bright and attractive, with plain white plaster walls and lots of children's work displayed. There is an interior courtyard with stone paving and a greenhouse filled with plants.
Although Bay Academy is a bit more relaxed and less competitive than Mark Twain, it's still a no-nonsense school, where order is taken seriously, and little slack is given to slackers. Two 7th-graders we talked to said they typically have two tests a week and a few hours of homework each night.
Much of the teaching is by the book, with an emphasis on textbooks and worksheets to prepare children for standardized tests. But the staff also makes use of the school's location by the bay, and teachers often take their classes to the beach to study ecology and to the aquarium in Coney Island to study marine biology. Children also attend classes at the Poconos Environment Education Center.
Foreign languages and the arts are among the school's strengths. Spanish, Italian, and French are offered. Children display their art in the school's own gallery. There are three music rooms - two choral and one instrumental - a dance studio, and three art rooms. The school stresses social development as well as academic achievement, offering, for example, five or six dances a year. Principal Marian Nagler believes academics shouldn't crowd out all other aspects of a child's life. "Let children be children," she said, herself the mother of seven grown children. Tiny problems are nipped in the bud in a mock law court, where students reprimand each other for infractions such as cutting class or chewing gum.
The school houses two self-contained special education classes for children with learning disabilities. Nagler clearly feels she is principal for all the children in the school?not just the gifted?and she is just as proud of the children in special education.
The admissions procedure for the gifted-and-talented classes at the Bay Academy is the same as that for Mark Twain and Boody. Parents attend an open house and fill out an application in November. Exams and auditions are held at Mark Twain in January. Children must take tests for two "talents." (Deborah Apsel, for a more detailed profile see New York City's Best Public Middle Schools, 2004)