The Science and Medicine Middle School
Brooklyn NY 11236
Strong leadership, hands-on science, good attendance rate
English language arts scores have a way to go
The Science and Medicine Middle School, opened in September 2009 in Canarsie, attracts students who want to become advocates for health in their community. The school boasts good attendance, a positive atmosphere and pretty good test scores, especially in science.
Principal Ingrid Thomas-Clark, a well-respected leader and the school's founder, said health advocacy is a particular need in Canarsie; asthma and diabetes are common problems here, and because many families lack health insurance, they don't visit a doctor regularly. Thomas-Clark knows the community well, having been principal of IS 232 for five years. IS 232 phased out due to poor performance, although overall achievement and behavior at the school had been steadily improving, she said. [Thomas-Clark's successor, as of fall 2014, is Dennis Herring Jr., formerly assistant principal at IS 68 Isaac Bildersee.]
Two health organizations that worked with IS 232 work with the new school, offering real-life exposure to medical professions. During the school day, students visit the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, rotating through different medical and administrative departments, and write about what they have learned. Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health at SUNY Downstate sends medical care experts to the schoolto work with students, focusing on certain diseases and human anatomy. The project is part of an after school program that is aligned with classroom curriculum.
Many lessons are active and hands-on such as creating the parts of a cell in clay or donning chest waders to walk into a river to collect samples for a lesson in biodiversity using seine nets. Students in the picture at right are working on a math problem [photo from the school website]. Students follow an advanced curriculum and take three Regents exams in 8th grade: living environment, U.S. history, and algebra. Test score in English language arts are not as high as those in math and science.
The Science and Medicine Middle School shares a brand new building with the East Brooklyn Community High School, a new transfer high school for students who have been excessively truant or in danger of dropping out.
Admission: Open to District 18. The school seeks students of all academic levels, including those with special education needs, who are interested in science and medicine. (Pamela Wheaton, March 2009 telephone interview; updated April 2014 and December 2014 by Lydie Raschka)