Green School: An Academy for Environmental Careers
Brooklyn NY 11206
Collegial and supportive atmosphere
Only beginning to raise academic standards
The Green School lives up to its focus on social, economic and environmental justice by encouraging students to critically engage with the world around them. Student voice is enhanced through a variety of leadership opportunities, including a fairness committee that helps design discipline policies. Several community partners connect students with their Bushwick neighborhood through public art, community gardening and internships. The school shares the former IS 49 building with Lyons Community School and Brooklyn Latin.
Before taking the helm in 2012, Principal Cara Tait was a founding English language arts teacher at the school. Under her leadership, the school has incorporated more project-based assessments and increased the emphasis on college prep. Students prepare two portfolios of their writing each year and present them in front of a panel of teachers and peers. Seniors do research projects comparing two books; the projects culminate in lively roundtable debates and prepare students for the type of textual critical analysis required at the college level.
Despite such efforts to raise academic standards, however, the coursework we observed did not demand a high level of rigor. Students were consistently engaged in their work and on-task, but most classes were seated in rows and guided entirely by the teachers, with the exception of one English language arts class designed for recent immigrants. Its teacher pre-recorded her own lessons so students could watch them on iPads and complete the assignments in small groups or at their own pace. Many classrooms were half-full, a result of declining enrollment as well as poor attendance.
The schools three-year math sequence uses the Carnegie Learning Integrated Math curriculum that weaves together concepts from algebra, statistics and geometry in each years work. In science, two years are spent preparing students for the living environment Regents exam. Class projects include working in the local community garden and also raising live trout and releasing them at an upstate trout hatchery. Juniors all take a pre-Advanced Placement environmental science course, in which we observed several students practicing basic concepts such as latitude and longitude. About a third of the students go on to take one of the five AP courses the school offers, but the most recent School Quality Guide indicates that none passed any AP exam with a score of 3 or above.
The school offers many opportunities for student leadership. Students can apply to become teaching assistants, for which they receive training in professional skills and are paid in green dollars that they can spend at the student store or on class trips. Older students also work as peer mediators in the schools restorative justice practices, help at high school fairs as student ambassadors, and work in pairs as leaders of the 9th-grade advisory classes.
The school recently won a competitive grant to participate in the Department of Educations Community Schools Initiative. The grant will give them extra resources to deepen their existing partnership with the nonprofit St. Nicks Alliance, which runs a community center next door and already provides gym space to the Green School. Starting in 2015, St. Nicks will place three staff members at the Green School to provide internship coordination, enhance opportunities for field work throughout the curriculum, and provide social services to students and their families. The school offers only one PSAL sport, boys wrestling, but students can join clubs for basketball, cheerleading, running, soccer, volleyball and weight-training. Arts electives include photography (taught by a professional photographer), drama and dance.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: Around 17 percent of students are over-age and under-credited, 24 percent have special needs and 18 percent are English language learners. In response to a significant increase in English language learners over the past three years, the school now offers a transitional bilingual program of math, science and social studies courses in English and Spanish. Students with special needs receive either ICT (integrated-co-teaching) services or pull-out sessions for small-group tutoring.
COLLEGE ADMISSIONS: All seniors take a college prep class that meets every day and is co-taught by one of the schools two college counselors. The course requires that all seniors apply to the CUNY system, but only 41 percent of the schools graduates enrolled in a post-secondary institution within 18 months after graduation, according to the most recent School Quality Guide.
ADMISSIONS: Prospective students can apply through general admission or one of two selective admissions programs. The Early College Initiative (a project of CUNY) offers an accelerated Regents curriculum in 9th and 10th grades followed by College Now classes at City Tech. This accelerated schedule allows students to receive up to 18 college credits while still in high school, and students can receive support from Green School teachers on their college work if they need it. About 30 students are accepted into the Early College Initiative each year, which screens applicants based on grade point average, test scores and attendance in middle school. Prospective students can also apply for one of 20 seats in the transitional bilingual program which screens for Spanish language ability and attendance. (Nicole Mader, December 2014)
About the students
About the school
Is this school safe?
About the leadership
About the teachers
How many graduate?
Are students prepared for college?
How does this school serve English Language Learners?
How does this school serve students with disabilities?
Programs and Admissions
Ninth grade students take extra English classes in prepara on to score above a 75 on the ELA Regents as freshmen, qualifying them to participate in the New York College of Technologys CUNY College Now program. From 10th through 12th grade, students have the opportunity to complete up to 18 fully-funded college credits and internship placements off-campus while participating in AP courses on the Green School campus.
We simultaneously develop students English and Spanish language skills through courses in Spanish literature, bilingual mathematics, English taught by native speakers, and through a project-based, interdisciplinary program emphasizing bilingual speaking and writing.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP Statistics, AP US History
Boys PSAL teams
Girls PSAL teams
Cross Country, Volleyball