Brooklyn Academy High School
Brooklyn NY 11216
Caring staff knows each student by name
Students struggle with attendance and motivation
Together with its community-based partner CAMBA, Brooklyn Academy High School offers a nurturing program with high standards for students who have struggled in a traditional setting. We are looking to fill a need for students who have been alienated, says guidance counselor Marsha Osgood. We have a team of people reaching out constantly to focus on attendance or whatever issue a student is struggling with. The staff, says, Osgood, is special. "Everyone knows students' names and we keep on them."
The school shares facilities with Bedford Stuyvesant Preparatory School, Uncommon Collegiate Charter High School and a GED program. All are housed in the historic Boys High School building, a 100-year old landmarked brick building in the heart of Bedford Stuyvesant. Everyone entering the building must pass through a metal detector. There is no uniform, but hats are not allowed and if a student is dressed inappropriately, the staff will speak up. The academic offerings are basic, says Assistant Principal Adam Gerstein, but the school does offer one or two less common classes such as forensics and biography.The school has both MAC and PC labs, SMARTBoards in each classroom and a science lab for hands-on work, including dissections.
The only downside to the program according to administrators is that students dont always take advantage of the many opportunities available. "Our day to to day challenge is to try to push the students to push themselves more," says Gerstein. "Its a major change for them to come to school on a regular basis. We have to say thats great, but thats not enough."To make the transition easier the school provides all new students with free supplies including backpacks, paper, pencils and binders.
Internship Coordinator Antonia McNeil works hard to team up students with organizations that interest them. Through CAMBA's Learning to Work programshe places nearly half of all students in paid internships each year at various sites such as libraries, daycare facilities and veterinary offices. Students who need extra academic help can participate in evening tutorials, Saturday Regents prep classes, mentoring and college collaboratives. Brooklyn Academy also makes an extracurricular effort with bowling, basketball, volleyball, art clubs and leadership for those who want more than a barebones transfer school experience. Partnerships with Alvin Ailey, New York University, Medgar Evars College and Atlantic Theater Company, to name a few, give students a regular flow of activities.
Gerstein and Principal Charon Hall (a former math teacher) believe that a stronger focus on incentives is the key to helping students do well. After graduation, students who do not go on to two-year colleges or CUNY right away continue to prepare for higher education through a program called GEAR UP, while others receive real job training through Co-op Tech. Brooklyn Academy received high marks on the 2011/12 DOE Progress Report for post-secondary success, receiving 9.2 points out of 10 for college and career readiness.
Special education: Out of 160 students, 20-30 have IEPs, says Gerstein. The school has a SETTS teacher and makes other accomodations as needed.
Admissions: The school accepts students 16-and-a-half and older with a minimum of 10 credits who have passed at least one Regents exam. Occasional exceptions are made. Students and parents should contact the school to arrange an interview. (Aimee Sabo, June 2013, interviews and Web reports)