Bedford Academy High School

Grades 9-12
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

High academic expectations and support, committed staff

The Downside

Building is too small

Our Review

College flags are the first things one sees when entering Bedford Academy, and they set the tone for the academically demanding, tight-knit school community. The building is spotless, and it's clear from the smiles and greetings that staff membersfrom the principal to the safety agentknow every student.

Staff and students work hard. Most students attend after-school tutoring four days a week, and they are expected to come to school for two hours on Saturdays. "We have to kick them out sometimes," said longtime parent coordinator Pamela Tate. Students told us that there is a lot of competition. Teachers work long hours too, often staying into the evening. "You think you've given your all," said one teacher, "and then you give a little more." "Teachers care a lot," said one student. Another added, "Teachers care too much."

The toughness is matched with a sense of family and responsibility. "If you're not prepared, then we've failed, and we're not in the business of failure," said Principal Adofo Muhammad, previously a teacher and assistant principal at Benjamin Banneker Academy and principal of JHS 258 and IS 143 before coming to Bedford in 2011. Students sit in his office during their lunch period to catch up on their studies. He teaches three classes, including a leadership class for male students whom he describes as "at-promise," not "at-risk." "We want them to be critical thinkers and leaders," Muhammad said.

Freshmen start in July with an intensive English, math and living environment preparation course. Students take most Regents exams in 9th grade. All students are expected to receive advanced Regents diplomas, and about half do within four years, well above the city average. The school offers nine AP courses, and all students must take four years of science and math. Electives include classes like black studies and sociology.

The small size of the building creates a challenge for programmingabout 40 percent of students on the school survey said there weren't enough activities and classes to keep them interested. The school has some clubs (such as chess, newspaper and yearbook committee), but students told us they would like more. "We have never been that school. Our focus is college preparedness," said Steve Burrell, a guidance counselor, who handles college admissions.

Every student must apply to one city school, a state school and a private college. Students have been admitted to elite schools such as Harvard, Brown, Barnard and Cornell. Penn State is a favorite, and many attend Wells College, Bapson, Howard, Hampton, Spelman, Lincoln or Delaware State.

The parent coordinator, who hugs and greets most students by name, is described as the "glue" that helps parents stay connected to the school. A member of the founding team, she acts as nurse, counselor and community liaison. Parents are very involved. They can access their kids' homework assignments and quiz scores online, and often exchange cell phone numbers with the staff. "The parents are on it," said one teacher.

Students may play sports and participate in clubs only if they have an average above 80. One basketball player said it was hard to maintain this average with training after school and on weekends. When we visited in 2011, a star basketball player whose grades dropped three points below the mandatory cut-off had been benched during the semi-finals in 2011 and watched his team fall three points shy of the title. "He didn't take care of his business, so he didn't play," said Robert Phelps, who is both coach and dean. "We didn't have that problem with him the next year."

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There is one special education teacher who provides SETSS (Special Education Teacher Support Services), mainly supporting students in class.

ADMISSIONS: Screened, with priority to students who live in District 13, and then Brooklyn. Students apply to one of two programstechnology and health professions. They must score at least a 2 on state ELA and math exams and have an average of 75 for the technology program and 80 for health professions. Exceptions are made, however, and family commitment to the school's rigorous demands is very important, the principal said. Interviews are also considered. In 2015 there were more than 5,000 applications for 89 seats. (Meredith Kolodner, April 2012; updated by Ella Colley, April 2015)

About the students

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

About the school

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
Metal detectors?
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average


Average daily attendance
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
37% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
85% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
57% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
80% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
86% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 1 dedicated space for Music
This school has 1 licensed art teacher in Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
54% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
71% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
63% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
68% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
90% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description

Courses in fundamental and advanced technology; opportunities for our students to work with and learn from school partners in education and specialists in the field.

Health Professions
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description

Introduction to health professions. In addition to required and advanced courses, students have opportunities to work and learn in state-of-the-art labs and facilities.


Language Courses


Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP Music Theory, AP US History


Boys PSAL teams


Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on the NYCDOE’s School Finder
NYC Department of Education: School Finder

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1119 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11216
Bedford-Stuyvesant (District 13)
Trains: A to Nostrand Ave; C, S to Franklin Ave; G to Bedford-Nostrand Aves
Buses: B25, B26, B38, B43, B44, B44-SBS, B48, B49, B52


Adofo Muhammad
Parent Coordinator
Pamela Tate