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Benjamin Banneker Academy

Grades: 9-12
Staff Pick
71-77 Clinton Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11205
Phone: 718-797-3702

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)

Read more

School Stats

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

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2018-19 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
86% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
37% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
79% Citywide Average

From 2017-18 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
2% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
76% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many students graduate in 4 years?
82% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
48% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
41% Citywide Average
How many graduates stay enrolled in college for at least 3 semesters?
67% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2019-20 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
87% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
38% Citywide Average

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
66% Citywide Average

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

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.

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.

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.


Language Courses


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


Clinton Hill (District 13)
Trains: N/A
Buses: B38, B48, B54, B57, B62, B67, B69


Kinsley Kwateng
Parent Coordinator
Wanda James

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.
Metal detectors?

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