John Ericsson Middle School (M.S. 126)

Grades: 6-8
424 Leonard Street
Brooklyn NY 11222
Phone: 718-782-2527

Our Insights

What’s Special

Gardening, recycling, composting, chess, robotics

The Downside

Academic achievement has a ways to go

On the eastern edge of McCarron Park, MS 126 is a small middle school with a focus on the environment. Students collect food scraps at lunch, which go into the solar-powered compost bin they built with La Casita Verde, a community garden in Williamsburg. They grow basil and Swiss chard on school grounds.  A partnership with the U.S. Navy allows students to create their own land and underwater robots in an after school club.

The school has long struggled with discipline problems, but there has been improvement in culture and tone under the leadership of Maria Ortega, a Williamsburg native and former MS 126 student, who took the helm during the 2014-15 school year. 

Test scores still have a ways to go, especially in math. Students arrive with low skills and roughly 25 leave mid-year, to go back to their home country, in some cases Yemen, or to attend a charter school in the area, a school staffer told us. Some students live in temporary housing. 

MS 126 has lots of support including a psychologist in the building and other mental health providers. As a community school, it is able to offer adult education programs, and provide students with extra academic help twice a week until 4:30 pm. MS 126 uses the well-regarded Middle School Quality Initiative (MSQI) to boost reading, according to the Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP). 

John Ericsson, the school’s namesake, was a Swedish-born engineer and inventor who helped design a famous ironclad battleship, the USS Monitor, which was built and launched in Greenpoint in the midst of the Civil War. The Greenpoint Monitor Museum keeps this history alive by presenting workshops, in period uniforms, to MS 126 and other area students, in a classroom space inside the middle school building. 

MS 126 welcomes parents. It offers an evening orientation in May for incoming 6th grade parents with translators, according to the CEP. Some staffers speak Polish or Spanish, two of the most common home languages, along with Arabic. Parents are welcome to visit classrooms.

The school has a full-time chess teacher and students take trips to Liberty Science Center and El Museo del Barrio. A green team monitors recycling efforts in the cafeteria, or may offer food tastings of arugula or pink coleslaw, a staffer said.  

Special education: MS 126 offers self-contained classes as well as integrated co-teaching (ICT) classrooms in which students with special needs are mixed with students from the general population. ICT classes feature two teachers, one of whom is certified to teach special education.

Admissions: Open to students and residents of District 14. (Lydie Raschka, web reports and interview, April 2019)





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School Stats

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

Is this school safe and well-run?

From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey

How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
89% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
27% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
88% Citywide Average

From the 2019-20 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 the 2020-21 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
80% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From the 2019 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
40% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
44% Citywide Average

From the 2020-21 School Quality Guide

How many 8th-graders earn high school credit?
34% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From the 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From the 2020-21 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
92% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
26% Citywide Average

From the 2020 School Directories

Uniforms required?

How does this school serve special populations?

From the 2019 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
14% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
15% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
14% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
6% Citywide Average

For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Contact & Location


Greenpoint (District 14)
Trains: L Line to Metropolitan Ave-Lorimer St; G Line to Nassau Ave
Buses: B24, B43, B48, B62, Q59


Maria Ortega
Parent Coordinator
Evelyn Castillo

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares its building with Northside Charter HS
Uniforms required?
Metal detectors?


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