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Our Insights

What’s Special

Most students graduate on time in this Africa-themed school.

The Downside

Some students miss many days of school.

Benjamin Banneker is an academically challenging school with an African theme. Most students graduate on time, and more than half are ready for college-level work. A parent described it on our site as a “close-knit community” with “caring teachers and students who want to do well.” The school has many college partnerships and opportunities for students, such as internships in New York University’s robotics program or at the Brooklyn Medical Plaza.

Students are accepted into one of four programs: humanities, media communication, pre-engineering or pre-medicine. The work of African-American artists, scientists and writers is interwoven into work and activities, and students visit the Lewis Museum of African American Histor and Culture in Baltimore.

“It’s important that students understand African culture and history, where they’re coming from, and historical achievements accomplished by people of African descent,” says Principal Kinsley Kwateng. “It gives them confidence.” They may study the life of singer Nina Simone or political leader Marcus Garvey, for example. An African-American literature course and an advanced course on the African diaspora also underscore the theme.

Not every class is centered on Africa. The Asian-American club helps a small but growing numbers of Asian students feel welcome and included, Kwateng says, and is for “other students who want to learn about Asian-American culture.”

Kwateng is Banneker's fifth principal since the school opened in 2003. One of his challenges is to improve attendance: Many students miss more than 18 days of school, interrupting their education. Kwateng says teachers speak with students' families one-on-one and hold workshops on the importance of attendance.  

Kwateng’s goal is to increase rigor in the school, especially in the medical and engineering programs. Under his leadership, all students must take four years of math and science, and he is doubling the number of Advanced Placement courses.

The city’s quality review cites several areas of assessment and teaching as “developing,” the lowest rating. Kwateng says teachers are talking less and opening their classes to “student voices,” to ensure that kids learn to state and back up their opinions.

In addition to academics, students may participate in dance, sports and other clubs, including martial arts and marching band. The art studio is a light, airy space decorated with student work. A mock television studio located in the basement allows students to learn video production and participate in a citywide film festival. Students must maintain an 80 average to participate, Kwateng says.

The former factory building has some constraints: There is no auditorium where the whole school can gather; the cafeteria only holds 250 students, forcing four lunch periods; and the gym holds a maximum of 400 standing.

Most students and teachers report the school is safe and orderly on school surveys, as is the surrounding neighborhood. The Clinton Hill neighborhood has a “a sweetness” to it, a student wrote. “The people sit on their porches, in their yards, and up and down around the neighborhood and say… ‘Good morning… how are you…’”

A very active kinship association takes the place of a parent association and organizes town hall meetings, health events and community meals for kids in the throes of Regents preparation on Saturdays.

COLLEGE: The school has a guidance counselor devoted solely to college counseling. Alumni come in to talk with students, and the school helps out with scholarship applications and arranges college tours. Many students go to SUNY schools, such as Albany, Buffalo and Stonybrook. Historically black colleges are also popular, such as Howard, Morehouse and Spelman. Some students get into Ivy League and other highly selective colleges such as Princeton, Stanford and Brown. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, DOE data, interview, February 2018)

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School Stats

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

Academics

School
Citywide
How many students graduate in 4 years?
 
100%
How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
 
96%
Average daily attendance
 
85%
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
 
51%
From the 2021-22 School Quality Guide and 2020-21 NYC School Survey

Students

754
Number of students
Citywide Average is 599

Race/Ethnicity


School
Citywide
Low-income students
 
74%
Students with disabilities
 
18%
Multilingual learners
 
1%
From the 2022-23 Demographic Snapshot

Safety & Vibe

School
Citywide
How many students were suspended?
 
1%
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
 
83%
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
 
45%
How many students say that some are bullied at their school because of their gender or sexual orientation?
 
30%
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey and 2019-20 NY State Report Card

Faculty & Staff

School
Citywide
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
 
86%
6.2
Years of principal experience at this school
Citywide Average is 7
194
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?
 
82%
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

Advanced Courses

Which students have access to advanced courses at this school? Learn more

Calculus

 
5%

Computer Science

 
7%

Physics

 
22%

Advanced Foreign Language

 
41%

AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science

 
51%

AP/IB Math or Science

 
32%

Music

 
14%
From unpublished, anonymized data from the 2021-22 school year provided by the New York State Education Department, brought to you by

College Readiness

School
Citywide
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
 
80%
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
 
100%
How many students who have graduated from this high school stay in college for at least 3 semesters?
 
79%
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?
 
68%
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

Humanities (K71B)

Admissions Method: Screened

Program Description:

For students interested in all facets of learning; extensive literary, writing, and research courses to sample; interdisciplinary curriculum that includes technology, humanities, and social sciences.

Pre-Engineering (K71J)

Admissions Method: Screened

Program Description:

Training related to the field of engineering; courses in math and science and the requirement of maintaining an 80 or above average in these areas.

Pre-Medicine (K71K)

Admissions Method: Screened

Program Description:

An introduction to the health professions; intensive coursework in math and science and exposure to various opportunities in the medical field.

Offerings

From the 2024 High School Directory

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Courses

Algebra II (Advanced Math), AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science Principles, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Environmental Science, AP Human Geography, AP Macroeconomics, AP Music Theory, AP Physics 1, AP Psychology, AP Research, AP Seminar, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP Studio Art - Drawing, AP United States History, AP World History: Modern, Chemistry (Advanced Science), Comp Sci/Math Tech (College Course [Credited]), Econ/Gov (College Course [Credited]), ELA (College Course [Credited]), Physics (Advanced Science), Science (College Course [Credited]), Social Studies (College Course [Credited]), World Languages (Advanced World Languages)

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Cross Country, Fencing, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

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

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location

Location

71-77 Clinton Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11205

Buses: B38, B48, B54, B57, B62, B67, B69


Contact

Principal: Kinsley Kwateng

Parent Coordinator: Wanda James

Website

Other Details

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? No

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