Millennium Brooklyn HS
Brooklyn NY 11215
Academically challenging and inclusive school with a strong emphasis on research
Millennium Brooklyn is a small, selective school with strong academics and a friendly vibe. The school takes pride in its inclusive culture that welcomes students from diverse backgrounds as well as those with special needs. It opened in 2011 with the mission of taking the successful practices of the original Millennium High School in Manhattan and replicating them in the heart of Park Slope. Since then, Millennium Brooklyn has established its own identity and has become a strong option for students across Brooklyn.
Group work is a staple of instruction at the school and it’s common to hear the chatter of students working together in class, whether they’re on a five-minute task or a project that will take several days to complete. Teachers in all subjects emphasize writing and find creative ways to help students understand concepts. In Advanced Placement environmental science, students compile highly detailed outlines of each chapter they read in their textbook —a very useful skill for college. In trigonometry, a project named after the popular “transformer” toy helps students understand how to build new functions from existing ones.
The school’s strong research curriculum was designed from scratch by its staff and founding principal Lisa Gioe, who also founded the highly successful MS 447, The Math & Science Exploratory School. [Kevin Conway, a founding teacher at Millennium Brooklyn and the assistant principal of instruction became principal in 2016.] All 9th-graders at Millennium Brooklyn take a class in quantitative methods where they learn how to do field research and conduct controlled experiments such as testing different approaches to cleaning up water contaminated by an oil spill. In 10th grade, students study qualitative methods such as designing surveys, running focus groups and presenting data on a range of topics. For instance, students begin by producing a “where I’m from” video and then branch out from there to examine societal issues.
“These classes have the luxury of no (standardized) test over their heads, so you can engage kids in exploration,” said Gioe, who explained that the research classes help make up for the deficits in science skills that many kids arrive with in 9th grade.
In the upper grades, students deepen their research skills in classes such as statistics, sociology, anthropology, product design, epidemiology and Advanced Placement psychology. They also participate in internships during the school year and over the summer. An internship coordinator helps place students at sites such as architectural firms, hospitals and the American Museum of Natural History.
Students take four years of math and science and the school ensures that all students—both struggling and strong—have options. For math, freshmen take either algebra or geometry depending on their incoming skills. By senior year, students can take calculus, pre-calculus or an applied math class in personal finance. In the lower grades, all students study living environment and chemistry. In the upper grades, options include earth science, physics and AP environmental science.
One successful practice the school borrowed from the original Millennium is the 9th and 10th grade humanities curriculum, which coordinates instruction in English and history. For instance, students read The Odyssey when studying ancient Greece. In upper grades, students choose among English classes in AP English, Shakespeare and poetry, journalism and memoirs.
Foreign language options include French and Spanish. Ninth- and 10th-graders take visual arts. Upperclassmen can take electives in advanced visual arts and theater. Students can also participate in the school’s eclectic mix of clubs such as intramural basketball, creative writing, gay-straight alliance, mock trial, robotics and running.
Millennium is located on the third floor of the John Jay Educational Complex, which also is home to Park Slope Collegiate, the Secondary School for Law and Secondary School for Journalism. All schools in the building share use of common spaces, but Millennium does not participate in campus-wide PSAL sports. Instead, it shares sports teams with it sister school in Manhattan, including a PSAL swim team that practices in the John Jay pool. Most Millennium students go out to lunch on busy Seventh Avenue. Those who stay in typically spend their lunch period in the library. All students in the building must pass through scanners when entering the building, even when returning from lunch.
Teachers lead small group advisories, which meet three times each week. Students have the same advisor for all four years and get extra support as needed from the school’s guidance counselor and social worker.
College guidance is built into the advisory classes. The school’s college counselor oversees the application process, while teacher advisors walk students through the process and keep tabs on their progress. The school also arranges trips to college campuses. Millennium’s first class of students is expected to graduate in June 2015.
Special education: Inclusion is a centerpiece at Millennium Brooklyn, where roughly 50 percent of the classes follow the ICT model. Millennium also has an ASD Nest program; in each grade a few students on the autism spectrum are integrated into classes with extra supports.
Admissions: Students must have good attendance, level 3 or 4 scores on standardized tests and grades of at least 85 in core subjects. Priority in admissions goes to students who live or attend school in Brooklyn. (Laura Zingmond, October 2014)
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Programs and Admissions
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Chemistry, AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP French, AP Psychology, AP Spanish, AP US History
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Fencing, Soccer, Table Tennis
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Fencing, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams