Brooklyn Democracy Academy

Grades 9-12

What’s Special

Stable staff, creative classes

The Downside

Poor attendance

Our Review

Brooklyn Democracy Academy, a transfer school, caters to students over the age of 16 who have struggled in traditional high schools, but still want a high school diploma. Many of the classes are creative and engaging. On our visit, we saw students in a hydroponics class preparing to plant their own garden of lettuce, cabbage and bok choy in water. Students learn chemistry, life science and math while they garden. [The photo at the left is from the school's Facebook page.]

Students in a criminal law class visit Brooklyn Criminal Court. Students may take acting, screenwriting, or a history class on genocide. Students and teachers kick off each school year with a school-wide art project that they work on together and display in the school\'s hallway. Teachers seem satisfied with their work: the school, opened in 2008, has had almost no staff turnover.

Counselors from The Jewish Child Care Association work one-on-one with students, monitoring attendance, making home visits and arranging for college guidance and visits. Many students get paid internships at local businesses and organizations. Despite these efforts to engage students, attendance is well below the citywide average.

Some students come in without any high school credits, while others arrive with just a few credits needed to graduate. The school runs on a trimester system - three 12-week sessions per year which allows students to earn credits faster than they would at a typical school. The school day runs from 8:40 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., which is a little longer than most schools.

To apply, students must give transcripts and attendance history and take a vocabulary and reading test. Both students and parents are interviewed. "We want people to be here because they want to be here," said Principal Thomas McKenna. [Andrew Brown replaced McKenna as principal after our visit.]

Some graduates have gone on to two-year or four-year colleges while others have gotten jobs. Not everyone sticks around, though. Nineteen students dropped out in the school’s first year, most of them switching to GED or night school programs.

Special education: About 15 percent of students receive special education services, provided by two full-time special ed teachers who work with students in general classrooms. A part-time English as a Second Language teacher works with a handful of students.

Brooklyn Democracy shares a building with another transfer school, Metropolitan Diploma Plus, a middle school, Kappa V, and P140, a District 75 school for disabled students. (Jill Grossman, October 2010)

About the students

Enrollment
208
Asian
1.0%
Black
80.3%
Hispanic
15.9%
White
0.5%
Other
2.4%
Free or reduced priced lunch
67%
Students with disabilities
23%
English language learners
4%
Male
60%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with three other schools
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
68%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
67%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
85%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
60%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
7%
18% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
93%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
74%
56% Citywide Average

About the leadership

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
100%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
100%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
100%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
80%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
100%
84% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 4 dedicated spaces for Dance, Theater, an Auditorium, and a Film Studio
This school has 2 licensed arts teachers in Theater (part-time) and Visual arts

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
85%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
45%
49% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
87%
70% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
0%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
22%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
0%
0% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
67%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
93%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
86%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
94%
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
  • Give specific examples. Tell us why this school rocks (or doesn't).
  • Criticism is fine, but no profanity, racist or ethnic slurs, or personal attacks.
  • All users must comply with our Terms of Use.