Lyons Community School

Grades 6-12
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What’s Special

Intense focus on students social and emotional well-being

The Downside

High rates of chronic absenteeism

Our Review

Lyons Community School provides a caring, informal and engaging environment for students who might get lost in a more traditional school. The combined middle and high school offers small classes, frequent class trips and practical projects such as woodworking to keep students engaged and attending school.

Principal Taeko Onishi, who co-founded the school with program director Jody Madell in 2007, dishes out high-fives and hugs to students. Onishi's desk is in a large open office that doubles as the staffroom. Students call Onishi and all the other staff by their first names. Lyons has low staff turnover and teachers say people work together and trust each other. Most teachers look forward to work and would recommend the school to parents, according to the 2013-2014 School Survey. Lyons is a PROSE school, which means the school has flexible union contracts that support innovative programs.

Lyons is a part of the Performance Standards Consortium, which uses performance-based assessments in place of Regents exams. Students pick topics from their classes for independent research or experiments. For example, science students built a miniature model of a green roof after months of research on things like soil and the types of plants best-adapted to the local climate.

Many students come to Lyons academically behind their peers. To address this, Lyons has an intense focus on teaching kids to read difficult texts. All students have half an hour of independent reading each morning and the school has small group support for struggling students. Classroom libraries are organized according to reading level difficulty rather than topic, and students are encouraged to challenge themselves when choosing books to read.

Lyons has high rates of chronic absenteeism, but the school offers a range of programs to engage students who might be on the verge of dropping out. "We will do anything it takes to connect," Onishi said. For example, on our visit seven struggling students were participating in a program called "The Dig." Every morning they take classes with two of the school's best teachers. In the afternoons, they do Urban Workshop, completing hands-on, practical projects like building benches for a local park. After-school activities also provide some great opportunities for Lyons students. On our visit we saw a poster that students had developed exploring different perspectives on what to do with land controlled by the city public housing authority (the school is surrounded by the massive Williamsburg Houses development).

A key part of student engagement is the school's field studies program. Students in grades 6 through 9 go on weekly excursions, such as to the Brooklyn Museum to study ancient Egypt. Onishi estimated that students go to The Metropolitan Museum of Art 50 times between 6th and 9th grades. Students in 10th to 12th grades may continue these field studies or take an elective at the school, including sculpture, painting, art history, zoology, business and baking, robotics and furniture design.

To tackle discipline problems, Lyons uses Restorative Justice, which frames all student behavior in terms of community responsibility. If a student misbehaves, it is addressed through conversation circles and reflections to identify what harm has been done and who was harmed by it. Students then take actions to directly repair this harm. Discipline issues are often referred to the "justice panel," a group of students who determine the consequences of an action after questioning the offending student and other witnesses.

Lyons shares the old IS 49 building, including its gym, cafeteria and outdoor playground, with the Green School and Brooklyn Latin. Lyons students may participate in campus-wide PSAL sports. Clubs include music, chess, dance and anime. A gender-neutral bathroom is provided to ensure students questioning their sexual identities feel comfortable.

Special education: Lyons has integrated co-teaching (ICT) classes in every grade and dedicates a lot of time to students' social and emotional development through advisories and other initiatives.

Admissions: Priority to District 14 students. Continuing 8th-grade students take priority for the high school, and more than two-thirds of middle school students continue on. For the remaining seats, admission is limited, unscreened and open to all New York City residents, with preference given to those who attend an information session. Lyons accepts transfer students in 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades. (Ella Colley, November 2014)

About the students

Enrollment
516
Asian
1.4%
Black
36.8%
Hispanic
59.3%
White
2.5%
Other
0.0%
Free or reduced priced lunch
88%
Students with disabilities
25%
English language learners
12%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with the Brooklyn Latin School and the Green School
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
84%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
83%
90% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
49%
27% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
71%
74% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
28%
22% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
83%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
39%
48% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
9.0
5.8 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
91%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
84%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
96%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
70%
70% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
80%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
96%
83% 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?
2%
30% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
11%
35% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 4 dedicated spaces for Dance, Visual arts, and an Auditorium
This school has 3 licensed arts teachers in Dance and Music

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
66%
68% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
42%
52% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
69%
68% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
0%
38% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
74%
87% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Lyons Community School
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
65%
83% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
0%
13% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
13%
4% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
10%
38% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
17%
48% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
37%
71% 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%
7% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
80%
65% 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
1.7
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
1.69
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.72
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
1.92
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
1.94
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
49%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
91%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
95%
89% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
91%
87% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
50%
67% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Lyons Community School
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

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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