Young Women's Leadership School of Brooklyn (TYWLS)
Brooklyn NY 11206
An ambitious yet supportive program for girls
Rules and regulations will not appeal to some students
The Young Women's Leadership School (TWYLS) of Brooklyn offers a demanding college prep curriculum in a traditional setting where rules are strictly enforced. This all-girls school, opened in 2008, will add a class each year until it serves grades 6-12.
Classes are quiet and orderly and the girls seem relaxed and friendly. Girls must wear uniforms and cellphones are forbidden. Founding Principal Talana Bradley says she has no tolerance for misbehavior and we saw no discipline problems during our two-hour visit. "We don't have time to argue about things that are not going to change," she says. If the discipline and single-sex education "don't appeal to you," she adds, TYWLS "is not for you."
One of five Young Women's Leadership schools in the city, the Brooklyn school aims to encourage girls from low-income families to explore and excel. All 7th and 8th graders study Latin, and students may choose to continue it in high school. Eighth graders may take two Regents level courses, algebra and living environment. For now, arts are offered largely in after school programs, although Bradley hopes that will change as the school grows.
Students told us they appreciate the school's approach. "I used to play and not do my homework," one 9th grader said, but that changed after she came to TYWLS. Many said they enjoyed the mix of students and the teachers and, to some extent, the absence of boys. Teachers seem to be supportive.
Beyond academics, TYWLS stresses the overall development of girls. Some wear T-shirts emblazoned "Girls Rule." In 2011, the school marked the United Nations' International Year of the Girl with guest speakers and events. "We want them to dream big" and to leave the school "as advocates for themselves," Bradley said.
Test prep is important, as a recent YouTube video illustrates. Report cards describe students strengths and weaknesses as well as their grades. At so-called leadership conferences, students meet with their parent and an adviser to review their progress toward meeting various goals they have set for themselves.
The expectation is that all students will attend college. Ninth graders visit campuses and, starting with 11th grade, students have a full-time college counselor. On the day of our visit, he met with 10th graders, telling them what they could expect and how they might behave at an upcoming college fair. "You dont want to seem rude or ghetto," one girl said. The job, says Bradley, is not just to get the students into college but to find a good match. The school graduates its first class in 2015.
TYWLS was housed in William Gaynor Junior High School building on the edge of Williamsburg at the time of our visit, but the Department of Education announced plans to move it to PS 147 in 2013.
Special ed: TYWLS has team teaching classes and support for students with disabilities but no self-contained classes.
Admissions: Screened for all grades. The school seeks students and families who understand the school's approach and want to be there. (Gail Robinson, November 2012)
About the students
About the school
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About the leadership
About the teachers
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Programs and Admissions
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Biology, AP Computer Science, AP English, AP Psychology
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Indoor Track, Soccer
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Fencing, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball