Green School: An Academy for Environmental Careers

Grades 9-12
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What’s Special

Collegial and supportive atmosphere

The Downside

Only beginning to raise academic standards

Our Review

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

Enrollment
244
Asian
0.8%
Black
29.9%
Hispanic
66.4%
White
1.6%
Other
1.2%
Free or reduced priced lunch
81%
Students with disabilities
23%
English language learners
34%
Male
56%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with Lyons Community School and the Brooklyn Latin School
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
59%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
85%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
48%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
72%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
18%
18% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
90%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
54%
56% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
4.4
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
94%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
100%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
94%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
76%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
63%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
88%
84% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 1 dedicated space for Visual arts
This school has 2 licensed arts teachers in Theater (part-time) and Visual arts (part-time)

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
75%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
29%
49% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
68%
70% 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?
68%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
0%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
20%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
2%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
30%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
44%
63% Citywide Average
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%
0% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
60%
65% 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?
56%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
78%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
80%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
80%
89% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
64%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Green School: An Academy for Environmental Careers
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Early College Initiative
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description

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 Technology’s 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.

Transitional Bilingual
Admissions Method: Screened: Language
Program Description

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.

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP Statistics, AP US History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Cross Country, 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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