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Our Insights

What’s Special

Project-based school for new immigrants learning English

The Downside

Few sports

Brooklyn International High School (BIHS) is a small, supportive school that serves students who have been in the country for four years or less who are learning the English language. Students come from more than 30 countries representing more than 35 languages, including French, Arabic, Mandarin, Fulani, Bengali, Haitian Creole, Spanish and Russian. The school opened in 1994 in partnership with International Network for Public Schools, an organization with long experience preparing new immigrants for college, including those who have had little schooling in their home country.

Academics & Instruction: Because students arrive at the school with different educational backgrounds and degrees of English fluency, classes mix age groups. Ninth- and 10th-graders study together with the same teachers for two years to improve their language skills. The teens work together in groups at tables where they often collaborate on projects and translate for one another.

The school is a member of the New York Performance Standards Consortium. Most high schools require students to take five Regents exams to graduate, but at consortium schools, students take only the English language arts exam. In the other high school subjects, students present portfolios of their work to a panel of teachers, students and visitors to demonstrate what they have learned in school and provide evidence of progress. These may take the form of an essay or research paper, an original science experiment or the application of higher-level mathematics. 

In 11th grade, students participate in internships to acquaint them with the world of work and to help them develop their English in a non-school setting. Past sites include schools, hospitals, stores, restaurants and organizations such as Mixteca, which fosters a welcoming community and support for Mexican and Latin-American immigrants. A paid work-based learning program is also offered through the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC). 

Themes & Programs: Students may explore jobs in the field of PK-12 education in partnership with the Future Ready NYC program, including internships or apprenticeships in education. Through this program they also get assistance creating a plan for next steps after high school graduation and have access to early college credits and career credentials. 

Students also participate in interesting projects and internships through the Beam Center,  a nonprofit that uses art, design and technology to  boost interest in science and engineering . The school’s “Fab Lab,” set up with help from Beam, has 3-D printers, laser and vinyl cutters, and circuitry and woodworking tools. BIHS has a media arts library where students work on multimedia projects and films. The school also offers studio art and dance.

Culture & Environment: Students are trained to take the lead in creating a positive school culture. All teens take part in Restorative Justice circles, where they talk through conflicts and build strategies for healthy relationships. A Restorative Justice Youth Team creates workshops and activities for students, staff and families to help make the school a more inclusive environment. A wellness team consists of a guidance counselor and a social worker as well as two on-site multilingual therapists. 

Building & Facilities: Founded in 1994, the school is in the Water’s Edge Educational Campus, a former torpedo factory in downtown Brooklyn. It shares the building with Science Skills Center and the Urban Assembly High School of Music and Art. Sports are few on site, just bowling, soccer and cricket.

Special education and English as a new language (ENL): Two special education teachers support students with Individual Educational Plans.

College & Career: Two college counselors meet with individual seniors weekly to work on college applications, financial aid forms, scholarships, plus college and technical school enrollment. Alumni also help out and serve in roles such as community coordinator, paraprofessional, school secretary, school aide and as teaching artists. BIHS partners with CUNYs Immigrant Ambassador Program, which pays college students to mentor immigrant and undocumented high school students. (Lydie Raschka, web reports and interview, August 2023)



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School Stats

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


How many students graduate in 4 years?
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
Average daily attendance
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
From the 2021-22 School Quality Guide and 2020-21 NYC School Survey


Number of students
Citywide Average is 599


Low-income students
Students with disabilities
Multilingual learners
From the 2022-23 Demographic Snapshot

Safety & Vibe

How many students were suspended?
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
How many students say that some are bullied at their school because of their gender or sexual orientation?
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey and 2019-20 NY State Report Card

Faculty & Staff

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
Years of principal experience at this school
Citywide Average is 7
Number of students for each guidance counselor or social worker
Citywide Average is 157

Teachers’ Race/Ethnicity

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
Are teachers effective?
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey, 2021-22 School Quality Guide, 2019-20 Report on School-Based Staff Demographics, 2021 Guidance Counselor Report, and this school's most recent Quality Review Report

College Readiness

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
How many students who have graduated from this high school stay in college for at least 3 semesters?
From the 2020-21 and 2021-22 School Quality Guide
How many students filled out a FAFSA form by the end of their senior year?
From the 2022-23 FAFSA data released by Federal Student Aid, brought you by
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

From the 2024 High School Directory

Brooklyn International High School (K53A)

Admissions Method: Screened: Language

Program Description:

Thematic-based, interdisciplinary course structure.


From the 2024 High School Directory

Advanced Courses

Algebra II (Advanced Math), Biology (College Course [Credited]), Chemistry (College Course [Uncredited]), ELA (College Course [Credited]), Math (College Course [Uncredited]), Other (College Course [Uncredited]), Physics (Advanced Science)

Boys PSAL teams

Bowling, Soccer

Girls PSAL teams

Bowling, Soccer, Table Tennis

Coed PSAL teams


Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on NYCDOE’s MySchools

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location


49 Flatbush Avenue Extension
Brooklyn NY 11201

Trains: 2 Line, 3 Line, 4 Line, 5 Line, A Line, C Line, J Line, Z Line to High St; B Line, Q Line to DeKalb Av; F Line to York St; R Line to Lawrence St

Buses: B103, B25, B26, B38, B41, B45, B52, B54, B57, B61, B62, B65, B67, B69


Principal: Kathleen Rucker

Parent Coordinator: Lilian Ghali


Other Details

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the Water's Edge Educational Campus with two other schools

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? No

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