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Brooklyn Collaborative Studies

Grades: 6-12
Staff Pick Staff Pick for Special Ed

Our Insights

What’s Special

Accepts students of all skill levels and prepares them for college

The Downside

Emphasis on group work may not be for everyone

At Brooklyn Collaborative Studies, teachers encourage children to explore their own interests, to do independent research and to write the kind of long papers they'll need to do in college. The school has a good track record with a broad range of students and is especially good at helping struggling students persevere in middle school to prepare for the rigors of high school and higher education.

The tone of the school is informal in the tradition of progressive schools. Students address the principal and teachers by their first names. Class size is small. Students are encouraged to talk, lead and debate. Projects are the norm. Students lead their own conferences to update parents on their progress. BCS focuses on how students treat one another; when there is a disagreement, gossip or hurt feelings, staffers lead students, their families and advocates in a restorative circle that allows all voices to be heard.

Part of the NYC Outward Bound Schools network, which follows the EL Education approach (formerly expeditionary learning), BCS begins with a camping trip in sixth and ninth grades to help kids bond and learn to work and struggle together. In eleventh grade, they may participate in internships at a law firm, the zoo, or a local television station. 

Fieldwork is a core component of EL Education. Every other Thursday, children fan out across the city to do research, meet experts and vsit museums. Children visited the city's many green roofs, for example, and toured the Brooklyn Co-Gen Plant in the Navy Yard to learn how electricity and steam are generated in New York City. 

Instead of taking Regents exams in high school, children must complete four Performance-Based Assessment Tasks (PBATs) for which they propose a topic, conduct independent research, and write an 8 to 10 page (or longer) paper, which they publicly defend to a panel. About one-third of the students have special needs at BCS; these teens are given extra assistance as they research and write up their PBATs.

Every student belongs to an advisory group called a "crew," that meets daily. In addition to supporting each other, they do an annual service project together, such as cleaning a beach or visiting a senior center to play games with residents.

State test scores for middle school are below the citywide average, which Chan attributes to the wide range of academic skills students bring, and the fact that more than three-quarters of all students "opt out" of standardized tests in middle school. 

"Our school believes in multiple opportunities and formats to show mastery," Chan said. "The more years a student is with us, the more immersed they are in our college bound culture—thus resulting in a high college-readiness rate for high school." Indeed, most children are ready for college work by the time they graduate, according to city data.

In the classroom, children work almost entirely in groups and present their work to older students and parents who act as evaluators. Some parents express frustration that their child has to work in a group "and can't just forge ahead on the task individually," Chan said.

Even so, about 75 percent of the 8th graders stay for high school. High school students looking for additional challenge, and to earn college credits, may participate in the College Now program on Saturdays at the CUNY-City Tech campus.

BCS was founded in 2001 as the upper school for Brooklyn New School and it shares a large, century-old building with that popular progressive elementary school. BCS has an after school program run by the YWCA each night until 6 pm. The campus library has a teen section popular with students all day long, including before school and during lunch. The two schools co-host the Applefest in the fall and the International Food Festival in the spring.

BCS has a strong record of college admissions as well as college retention. All high school students go on at least one college visit a year. Graduates have attended Colby, Skidmore, Bard, Hampshire and Cornell. Some 83 percent of BCS students who begin college are still enrolled three semesters later, a figure that is much higher than other schools with similar students. Chan attributes this to the schools success in preparing students for the responsibility and self-direction required of them in their post-secondary work. (Lydie Raschka, DOE data & principal interview, June 2018; updated via email correspondence, August 2020).

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School Stats

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

Is this school safe and well-run?

From the 2022-2023 NYC School Survey

How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
81% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
52% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
78% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
77% Citywide Average

From the 2019-20 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
1% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2023 End-of-year Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism Report

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
79% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From the New York State 2022-2023 Assessment Database

How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
42% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
51% Citywide Average

From the 2022-23 School Quality Guide

How many 8th-graders earn high school credit?
92% Citywide Average
How many students graduate in 4 years?
91% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From the 2022-23 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From the 2022-23 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
88% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
39% Citywide Average

From the 2020 School Directories

Uniforms required?

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2023 End-of-year Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism Report

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
85% Citywide Average

From the New York State 2022-2023 Assessment Database

How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
7% Citywide Average
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

Brooklyn Collaborative Studies (K03R)

Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.

Program Description:

Students write frequently in all their classes. Teachers use critique protocols to improve understanding of the qualities of good writing. In all content areas, writing is used to deepen understanding, promote reflection, and synthesize what students know. We expect students to work in groups and exhibit habits of scholarship and character, like collaboration, kindness and persistence. We have a partnership with NYC Outward Bound Schools, EL Education, and the Performance Standards Consortium.


From the 2024 High School Directory

Language Courses


Advanced Courses

Algebra II (Advanced Math), Chemistry (Advanced Science), ELA (College Course [Credited]), ELA (College Course [Uncredited]), Social Studies (College Course [Credited]), World Languages (Advanced World Languages)

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Soccer

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Softball, Volleyball

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

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location


610 Henry Street
Brooklyn NY 11231

Trains: F Line, G Line to Carroll St

Buses: B57, B61, SIM2, SIM31, SIM34, SIM35, SIM4, SIM4C, SIM4X, SIM5, X37


Principal: Priscilla Chan

Parent Coordinator: Tracey Pinkard


Other Details

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the building with PS 146

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? No

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