I.S. 228 David A. Boody

Phone: (718) 375-7635
Website: Click here
Admissions: neighborhood school/exam or audition for talent
Wheelchair accessible
specialized arts
Neighborhood: Flatlands/ Gravesend
District: 21
Grade range: 06 thru 08
Parent coordinator: GINA POGGI

What's special:

Bilingual programs in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and Russian; strong Magnet program

The downside:

Increasingly crowded, some academic classes lack spark

The InsideStats



Our review

David A. Boody is a popular school in a residential area of Gravesend with a good multi-ethnic mix of students. The school offers zoned and magnet programs, as well as dual language programs in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and Russian.

Boody's Magnet program draws students from all over Brooklyn and is especially strong in music. There are nine magnets: computer, art, athletics, dance, science, music, vocal musical theater, creative writing, and chess. Music has a jazz band, a concert band, a string orchestra and a winds ensemble. In 2008 and 2010, they performed at Carnegie Hall.

Principal Dominick D'Angelo, whose first career was in business, is a big proponent of technology. Laptops are available throughout the school, and teachers make such frequent use of SMART Boards that Director of Instruction Scott Herman was almost apologetic when one teacher was not using his (apparently it was broken).

In 2010, Boody adopted the School of One program for almost all math students, knocking down walls and reconfiguring much of the second floor to accommodate it. The program combines teacher instructions with work on computers, small group work and an online five-question assessment every day. Students move on to the next topic only if they pass that assessment.

Launched as a pilot program under former Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and once hailed by Time magazine as the wave of the future, School of One was introduced in five New York City schools. Since then results have been mixed, and at least two have abandoned it. D'Angelo, though, is very enthusiastic, saying it has boosted scores at Boody and that he would like to see the approach expanded to science. A teacher who has been in the program since it was introduced, told us it helps children learn from one another and talk amongst themselves about math.

Honors students follow an accelerated math program culminating in the integrated algebra Regents. Science Magnet students take the living environment Regents in the 8th grade, and all advanced 8th-graders also take the Earth science Regents.

All three dual language programs include both native speakers of Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and Russian in each program and students fluent in English whose families want them to gain proficiency in the other language. As a result, the classes tend to be divided along ethnic lines, and we heard some students slipping into their stronger language when they thought no one was listening. These offerings have boosted school enrollment substantially in the past several years.

Boody provides strong support to English language learners not in the dual language program, including small classes and one-on-one help. In one class we visited, students were read words and then asked to move to one side of the room or the other depending on whether the word indicated similarity or contrast.

Aside from technology, classes were mostly conventional, with lots of small group work and students generally focused on the task at hand. A 6th-grade class reviewed part of a microscope. An 8th-grade class discussed what the late Rep. Shirley Chisholm meant when she proclaimed herself "unbought and unbossed." After trying to create its own English curriculum aligned with the Common Core standards, IS 228 now uses Expeditionary Learning and Writing Matters for language arts

The school stresses professional development for its staff, with a full-time English coach and technical director, as well as outside consultants. Herman said teachers support and instruct each other in a system he likens to what hospitals do with their medical residents.

With double blocks of English and math, students move around less than they do at many middle schools, keeping class change fairly calm. In general students give the school high marks for its environment, with 92 percent saying they feel safe throughout the building. The school has a very active anti-bullying program.

About 20 to 25 percent of students go on to specialized high schools and others such as Edward R. Murrow, Midwood, Leon M Goldstein High School for the Sciences, Fort Hamilton and James Madison.

Special education: The school offers team teaching classes and has one self-contained program at each grade for students with more serious disabilities.

Admission: Students are admitted in three ways. Those in the zone are automatically eligible. District 21 students not in the zone are admitted based on their score on a test for one of the Magnet programs: art, athletics, chess, computer/math, creative writing/journalism, dance, music, science and vocal music. Dual language programs are open to children from throughout Brooklyn, based on language proficiency and interest. (Gail Robinson, March 2014)

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