Classical education with Latin instruction
May intimidate teens who fear public speaking
Brooklyn Latin is an unapologetically work-hard kind of place, where every child takes four years of Latin and laboratory science and writes a lengthy research paper. Public speaking and debate are fostered, and students lead their own parent-teacher conferences. Top universities recruit Brooklyn Latin students, some of whom are the first in their families to attend college.
Students are called “discipuli,” Latin for “student.” They wear white shirts and khaki trousers or skirts, and boys wear neckties, giving the school an English-boarding-school aesthetic.
Founded in 2006, Brooklyn Latin is modeled after Boston Latin, the nation’s oldest public high school. The Brooklyn school is one of New York City’s nine specialized high schools and the only one to offer an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma, a rigorous degree widely accepted at universities in more than 100 countries. More demanding than a standard Regents prep curriculum, the IB program requires students to write a 15- to 20-page research essay on a topic of their choice, make an oral presentation and pass various subject exams.
Public speaking is an important part of the school's culture. Students participate in Socratic seminars, in which they communicate according to formal rules of discussion. In declamations, students must memorize a poem or speech to present to peers. Students stand and deliver, through tears and memory gaps, but improve over time, according to an administrator. The public speaking we saw on our visit was impressive—a recitation from Antigone by a visibly nervous sophomore, and a passionate debate in a senior seminar on the inequities of education.
The school prides itself on its strong math and science program. In an atypical sequence, freshmen begin with a conceptual physics class, followed by chemistry and two years of IB biology. Juniors and seniors may elect to take IB chemistry or IB physics as well. These students spend about half their day immersed in college-level science work, says Gina Mautschke-Mitchell, a former math teacher who became headmaster in 2013. Bridge design, solar cell efficiency and seed germination are some former student-designed lab topics culminating in eight- to 10-page papers.
Juniors and seniors also take English, history, math and theory of knowledge (a philosophy class unique to IB) and may choose to study intensive Spanish, visual arts or world religions as electives. Some subjects, like math, biology and Latin, are split into higher and lower levels of difficulty. (Note: The school does not offer advanced placement classes; IB classes are considered even more demanding.)
To help with the steep learning curve freshman year, students receive support in advisory groups. Those who need more assistance are encouraged to meet with teachers during office hours like in college. There are four guidance counselors, according to the budget summary.
Freshmen travel to the Princeton-Blairstown Center, affiliated with Princeton University, for an outdoor bonding adventure in the fall. In the spring they visit Boston Latin and area colleges. The Spanish department organizes home stays in Spanish-speaking countries; some seniors travel to Italy.
Brooklyn Latin shares a building with Lyons Community School and the Williamsburg High School of Arts and Technology (formerly the Green School). Administrators say students have had no complaints about safety; nevertheless, students are advised to walk to and from the G or L train in groups, and an administrator is outside during arrival and dismissal times, which are staggered with the other schools. The schools share some sports and clubs, a full list of which can be found on the school website.
Roughly 40 percent of all students earn the IB Diploma, according to the school website. Students are encouraged to apply to colleges out of state as well as SUNY and CUNY schools. College acceptances include Smith, Vassar, Amherst, Brown, Cornell and Emory.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The few children with special needs are incorporated into general classes. A special education tutor provides assistance in a variety of ways, such as helping a student color code his work to stay organized or offering a safe space for a student to practice a memorized speech until she feels comfortable in front of a group.
ADMISSIONS: Specialized high school exam. The school loses about 25 9th-graders each year and accepts about 20 10th-graders. (Lydie Raschka, November 2014; updated April 2018)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
Computer ScienceNot offered in 2019-20
Advanced Foreign Language
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
MusicNot offered in 2019-20
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Brooklyn Latin School
Admission to this Specialized High School is based solely on the score obtained on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT). Students should speak to their school counselors in the Fall to register for the SHSAT.
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Contact & Location
223 Graham Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11206
Trains: to Broadway; to Grand St
Buses: B24, B43, B46, B48, B60, Q54, Q59
This school shares the building with Lyons Community School and Williamsburg High School of Art and Technology