Benjamin Banneker Academy

Grades: 9-12
Staff Pick

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.

ADMISSIONS: Screened, based on a review of grades, test scores, and attendance and punctuality. Districts 13, 14, 15 and 16 have priority. There are many more applicants than seats. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, DOE data, interview, February 2018)

School Stats

Academics

School
Citywide
How many students graduate in 4 years?
 
97%
How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
 
95%
Average daily attendance
 
90%
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
 
31%
From the 2019-20 School Quality Guide and 2019-20 NYC School Survey

Students

887
Number of students
644 Citywide Average

Race/Ethnicity


School
Citywide
Low-income students
 
65%
Students with disabilities
 
15%
Multilingual learners
 
2%
From the 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

Safety & Vibe

School
Citywide
How many students were suspended?
 
1%
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
 
87%
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
 
82%
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
 
39%
From the 2019-20 NYC School Survey and 2019-20 NY State Report Card

Faculty & Staff

School
Citywide
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
 
87%
4.0
Years of principal experience at this school
7 Citywide Average
194
Number of students for each guidance counselor or social worker
157 Citywide Average
How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
 
81%
Are teachers effective?
From the 2019-20 NYC School Survey, 2019-20 School Quality Guide, 2019-20 Report on School-Based Staff Demographics, 2019-20 NY State Report Card, 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

 
4%

Computer Science

Not offered in 2019-20

Physics

 
20%

Advanced Foreign Language

 
30%

AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science

 
57%

AP/IB Math or Science

 
22%

Music

 
25%
From unpublished, anonymized data from the class of 2019-20 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?
 
77%
From the 2019-20 School Quality Guide
How many students filled out a FAFSA form by the end of their senior year?
 
63%
From the 2020-21 FAFSA data released by Federal Student Aid, brought you by
How many graduates of this school received Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funding to attend a NYS college?
 
45%
How many of those TAP recipients made it through college? Learn more
From unpublished, anonymized student-level data for the class of 2011-12 provided by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) in coordination with the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), brought to you by
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

From the 2021 High School Directory

Humanities

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

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

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 2021 High School Directory

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Physics 1, AP 2-D Art and Design, AP Biology, AP Computer Science Principles, AP Environmental Science, AP Calculus BC, AP World History: Modern, AP United States History, AP Calculus AB, AP Drawing, AP 3-D Art and Design, AP Macroeconomics, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP Research, AP Seminar, AP Psychology, AP Human Geography, AP Music Theory, AP Chemistry, AP English Literature and Composition, AP U.S. Government and Politics

Boys PSAL teams

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

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Fencing, 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

Trains: N/A

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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