Fort Greene Preparatory Academy, MS 691

Grades 6-8

What’s Special

Fun projects like building rockets and making guacamole

The Downside

No music program; test scores need to be higher

Our Review

At Fort Greene Prep, students are valued for their curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. The small middle school, which opened in 2010, serves an ethnically, academically and geographically diverse population from through District 13. Special needs kids are integrated into all classes.

Were unusual for a small size of school, we offer a range of experiences that meet most peoples needs, said Paula Lettiere, the schools founding principal. Our goal is to expose students in middle school to as many contexts and [as much] content as possible.

Art and technology are a particular focus at the school which has an award-winning robotics team, a laptop cart in almost every classroom and SMARTboards. Fort Greene Prep has a partnership with NYC Technical College and NYU which offer technical support and help with the robotics team. Three years of art are built into the schedule with students able to choose whether to focus on technology, language arts or portfolio arts.

Students may take three years of Spanish instruction and choose from a range of electives. There is no music program, however.

Students wear a uniform of white polo shirts and khaki-colored bottoms. The uniform puts them in the mindset that its a professional environment - youre here to learn, said Lettiere.

The curriculum is inquiry-based, the principal said, meaning that students apply their learning to real life situations. For example, they built a rocket and launched it in a safe controlled place, instead of just reading a textbook about rockets. Eighth-graders prepare dishes like guacamole and create restaurants in Spanish class. There is so much excitement about the Spanish immersion course that its the most popular 8th grade elective, the principal said.

About a quarter of the students take Regents algebra and Living Environment courses but, overall, achievement is mixed. Standardized test scores are lower than the citys average but they are about average for the districts middle schools.

Kids go out into the schoolyard every day at lunchtime. We really value harnessing the natural energy that is a middle-schooler and expressing it. Getting them out in the yard every day is a way to express their energy, the principal said.

Of the first class of graduates in 2013, 95 percent got into their first choice high school, the principal said. A few went to the specialized high school, Brooklyn Tech, and others to nearby Benjamin Banneker and Bedford Academy. The most popular choices were The Harbor School and Fashion Industries, reflecting the students interest in science and art.

Parents participate in special events but are less likely to come to PTA meetings. Fort Greene Prep hosts a big cultural feast before Thanksgiving and food descends upon the building, says Assistant Principal Annette Schaffer. Entire families attend school dances and weekend trips to places like the New York Aquarium.

The school is housed on the third floor of PS 46. The two schools share an auditorium, cafeteria, library and large school yard. We have a very good professional relationship, the principal said. Its the best co-location Ive worked in. We make it work with as little tension as possible.

Special education: Full inclusion. Every section has special education students as well as students on levels 1 to 4. Its something our school does really well, said the principal. Weve been able to receive students and their families from a deficit approach of I cant and take them through a supportive community into rapid growth.

After school: Drama program with Irondale Theatre, a music ensemble, and sports including soccer, track, flat football and step.

Admissions: District 13 choice. Students who rank the school first or second on their application are interviewed, and asked to do a few tasks and talk to the staff. The school looks for students who have curiosity and aggressiveness in learning. (Pamela Wheaton, meeting with principal and assistant principal, August 2013)

About the students

Enrollment
218
Asian
2.8%
Black
61.0%
Hispanic
30.7%
White
3.7%
Other
1.8%
Free or reduced priced lunch
81%
Students with disabilities
25%
English language learners
8%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares a building with PS 46
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
103%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
92%
93% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
28%
20% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
52%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
45%
28% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
79%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
22%
43% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
5.9
6.0 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
71%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
78%
88% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
69%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
70%
72% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
95%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
63%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
71%
86% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Test scores

How many students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
9%
27% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
17%
30% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 2 dedicated spaces for Visual arts and an Auditorium
This school has 4 licensed arts teachers in Dance (part-time), Music, and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
66%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
48%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
66%
72% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Spanish, Algebra I, Living Environment
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
23%
26% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
84%
84% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Benjamin Banneker Academy, Brooklyn HS of the Arts, and HS of Sports Management
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
0%
14% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
Average math score for ICT students
1.79
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
1.89
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.89
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
1.97
2.2 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
63%
67% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
84%
88% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
81%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
81%
90% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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