Brooklyn NY 11210
Weekly enrichment clusters offer students a wide range of activities
The school has its own gym, but it is very small
MS 381renamed the Middle School for the New Millennium in 2007draws children from across District 22 to its strong science program. Housed on the top two floors of PS 197s eye-catching 100-year-old redbrick school building, the small school serves children who live in the zone as well as those who are admitted to a gifted program. However, zoned children and those admitted to the gifted program are taught in the same classrooms. Principal Mary Harrington, who founded the school in 1999, says the school offers enrichment to all students, and academic standards are high throughout the school.
Originally a magnet school for biological sciences, MS 381 has a high school-quality science lab. Eighth graders use the lab for weekly projects and may take both living environment and math Regents exams. In recent years, 100 percent of students who took the exam have passed.
Class sizes are small, 25 at the largest, with smaller classes available when students need extra help. All classes meet for double periods so that students have ample time with the material. Teaching staff includes both veterans and new teachers, and the teaching we observed was strong. Many facilities, like the auditorium and cafeteria, are shared with PS 197. MS 381 does have its own gym, but both students and staff complain that its too small.
In the 2010-11 school year, MS 381 adopted a schoolwide enrichment clusters program, in which students choose from more than 25 different activities, including martial arts, mosaics, Russian, cooking, and peer mediation. Each cluster meets on Friday mornings and includes students from 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. Clusters run for a semester, and students produce a project at the end of that period.
Graduates attend a wide range of high schools, though many choose to attend the smaller ones. According to parent coordinator Michelle Turner, because of the schools small student body it can provide assistance in navigating the high school application and selection process to every student and family. In recent years, a number of students have been accepted into the specialized high schools.
Harrington says that MS 381 treats college attendance as an expectation. Students begin to explore higher-education options and go on visits to local universities, and current college students are invited to speak to middle-school students about college life.
Special Education: The principal is a former special education teacher, and she calls the special ed program as seamless as possible. The school offers Collaborative Team Teaching and self-contained classrooms. Students are in general education classrooms whenever possible.
Admissions: Priority goes to students who live in the zone. In addition, District 22 students with strong academic records, good attendance and a teacher recommendation may apply. The school also accepts students from other districts and boroughs. Admission to the gifted programis determined by a combination of factors making up a "composite score"the final 4th grade report card counts for 40 percent, state tests 40 percent, attendance ten percent and student performance measures ten percent. (Tom Jacobs, February 2011; admissions updated January 2015)