Park Slope Collegiate
Brooklyn NY 11215
Lots of support for students, innovative math program; laudable efforts to increase diversity
Metal detectors in building
Park Slope Collegiate, a 6-12 school in theJohn Jay Complex, is a progressive school with a laid back atmosphere. Class sizes are kept small so kids get lots of attention. Instruction in all grades emphasizes group work and projects.
In September 2013, a small group of District 15 families, frustrated that the popular middle schools did not have enough seats to meet demand, enrolled their children in 6th grade at Park Slope. The decision came after months of conversations with longtime principal, Jill Bloomberg, as well as touring the school and uncovering a high quality of curriculum and solid instruction. Bloomberg, for her part, says she is deeply committed to fostering cultural and academic diversity though she is wary of letting the school flip to serve mainly white, middle class students. The schools first step toward integration was chronicled in New York Magazine.
The vibe throughout the school is relaxed. Hallways are crowded and noisy during change of classes, but we didnt observe any bad behavior. In some classes students were overly chatty during independent work and some students struggled to stay on task. We did see some interesting work on display, such as a 6th-grade science project responding in words and illustrations to the question: What is a cell like? Answers included: a school, police station, and the Game Stop store. High school students complete a lengthy, multigenre project where students produce a range of media--poems, essays, photographs, advertisements, etc.on topics of their choice, such as a plan for creating a successful business.
What the school does best is give kids lots of support. Classes in all grades run 55 minutes, longer than the typical 42-minute period, and tend to be smaller than the citywide average. Students are assigned to circles, small group advisories that emphasize community-building and conflict resolution.
Middle school students attend classes in one wing and are escorted from class to class by their teachers. They also benefit from having high school teachers on staff. What drives our middle school curriculum is high school, said Bloomberg. For instance, 6th-graders learn the periodic table of elements because the high school chemistry teacher felt that students were more prepared to handle the high school level course if they arrived with some prior knowledge of the subject.
High school students are required to take four years of each core subject: English, history, science and math. The school offers some intriguing classes, such as elective classes on Spanish film, guitar and the science of foodan interdisciplinary class that looks at nutrition, regulation of food and depiction of food in the media. Seniors fulfill their history requirement by taking semester-long courses on economics and the history of Brooklyn. There are no AP classes. The school offers calculus, though not for college credit. Spanish instruction begins in 9th grade.
An innovative math program with Hunter College targets students who pass the algebra Regents but fall short of the college-readiness score of 85. Instead of moving on to geometry, these students spend the following year boosting their algebra skills by serving as teaching assistants in an algebra class. Students then take geometry over the summer at Hunter College for free.
There are no honors classes or tracking in specific subjects. To accommodate the broad range of students, teachers offer more complex texts or challenging assignments to stronger students and offer extra support for the struggling ones.
High school students can participate in campus-wide sports teams. Middle school students have their own after school activities including sports teams and art.
College: A full-time college counselor regularly meets with every junior and senior. College essay writing is woven into the 12th-grade English curriculum. The school cultivates contacts with colleges, focusing on some small, private schools that may admit students who do not meet the grade point average and test score thresholds for CUNY and SUNY, Bloomberg said. Popular choices are Muhlenberg in Pennsylvania and Drew University in New Jersey. Several graduates have received POSSE scholarships.
Special education: The school offers integrated co-teaching (ICT) classes and SETSS.
Admissions: District 15 priority for both middle and high school.(Laura Zingmond, June 2014)
About the students
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Programs and Admissions
Students research questions they want to answer. Using current technology, they consult expert sources and review their prior knowledge. Like all researchers, they use multimedia to present their findings to panels of their peers.
For continuing 8th grade students.
Boys PSAL teams
Girls PSAL teams