French dual-language instruction; International Baccalaureate program
High school International Baccalaureate program still too new to tell
Boerum Hill School for International Studies has steady leadership, dual-language French instruction and the challenging International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. Students enjoy a lot of arts offerings, field trips and a culinary program where they work in a professionally equipped kitchen and intern at restaurants and caterers.
The vibe throughout the school is relaxed and friendly. Parents told us they’re impressed with how quickly their children are learning French and by the creative and collaborative class work.
Principal Nicole Lanzillotto, who headed Boerum Hill’s middle grades before taking the helm in 2017, encourages kids to have a say in their school. For instance, a group of students successfully argued to allow hats to be worn at school after studying the behavior code, reading and discussing the book, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood with staff and then drafting a thoughtful petition.
Students have French language instruction every day. In addition, science is taught in both French and English. Students participate in an after-school French immersion program where they develop their conversational fluency.
The IB program offers rich class discussions, thoughtful research papers and imaginative courses. For instance, instead of traditional English and social studies classes, students take courses such as “Individual and Societies,” “Language Acquisition” and “Language and Literature.”
Lessons in all grades emphasize skills such as communication, social and self-management as well as research and analytical thinking. In a high school math class we observed, students were discussing the importance of using graphs and charts to explain findings. Among their conclusions, visual representations transcend language barriers. In a senior English class, students were writing blog posts on topics they researched. “I like this kind of writing because I can express myself,” said a student writing about Eric Gardner, the Staten Island man who was killed in 2014 during an arrest by police for selling loose cigarettes.
In the “middle years program” (grades 6-10) each year focuses on a theme that’s reinforced across subjects. For instance in 6th grade, students focus on identities and exploration, studying topics such as globalization, sustainability and relationships across the humanities classes; in 8th grade math, a survey in functions is part of the grade-wide theme of how an idea becomes a movement. Tenth grade is a year of reflecting on how all themes connect, with studies on constitutional foundations, three-dimensional math modeling and writing for different audiences.
The IB diploma program is a challenging two years beginning in 11th grade culminating in completion of a year-long service project, a lengthy research paper and series of exams. Since the curriculum was rolled out in the middle school first and then expanded to the high school, the graduation class of 2019 (11th-graders when we visited) will be the first group to be eligible for an IB diploma.
Culinary arts is offered in high school, though 8th-graders are given an introduction to it. Students get hands-on training in the school’s professionally equipped kitchen as well as through internships shadowing chefs and catering events for the Department of Education and at Brooklyn Borough Hall.
Students enjoy day and overnight trips as well as a nice range of arts, elective classes and after-school activities including sports. arts, chess, music, dance, theater and technology. Partnerships with an impressive range of organizations, such as the French Embassy, 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center, Brooklyn Historical Society and Urban Advantage help expand learning opportunities beyond the classroom.
The school is housed in a large building it shares with the Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School and Success Academy Cobble Hill Charter School. Students may leave the building for lunch or enjoy recess in the expansive schoolyard with teen size climbing equipment, multiple fields and a basketball court.
There is a busy college office lead by a fulltime college counselor. Juniors and seniors get additional support from a guidance counselor dedicated for those grades. Most graduates go on to CUNY and SUNY schools and some attend private and out-of-state colleges.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT (Integrated collaborative teaching) classes on all grades plus SETSS.
ADMISSIONS: As part of a district-wide equity plan, all District 15 middle schools use an open admissions method with priority for 52 percent of seats going to students from low-income households (who qualify for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program), students in temporary housing, and English Language Learners. There are no “screens” for admission. To learn more about the D15 Diversity Plan, visit d15diversityplan.com. The high school is open to students citywide with top priority to continuing 8th-graders and then to all of District 15. Admissions is based on a review of students’ grades, test scores and attendance record. (Laura Zingmond, October 2017; updated June 2019)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
CalculusNot offered in 2019-20
Computer ScienceNot offered in 2019-20
PhysicsNot 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
All students experience IB coursework that emphasize problem-solving and collaboration through project-based learning. Students complete capstone projects: Personal Project, Extended Essay, and Creativity, Activity and Service Learning project, and IB Internal Assessments. Students meet in advisory groups for social-emotional and academic support, and community building.
College, Career & Culinary
Our Culinary Arts and Career program is a four-year, rigorous sequence of courses designed to prepare students in food and industry careers. The program explores and prepares students through topics such as world cultures through food, climate and the global society, food politics, sustainability and identity. All students entering are still required to fulfill IB requirements and coursework. We have intern partnerships with C-CAP, and local restaurants and NYC companies.
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Contact & Location
284 Baltic Street
Brooklyn NY 11201
Trains: , to Hoyt & Schermerhorn; , to Bergen St
Buses: B103, B41, B45, B57, B61, B62, B63, B65, B67
This school shares the building with the Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School and Success Academy Cobble Hill Charter School
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Brooklyn, NY 11201
Brooklyn, NY 11201