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M.S. 839

Grades: 6-8
713 Caton Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11218
Phone: 718-686-2730

Our Insights

What’s Special

Strong academics and engaging curriculum

The Downside

French instruction offerred one semester each year

MS 839, opened in 2015, is part of the NYC Outward Bound network, a nonprofit that supports a dozen schools in the city, and follows the network’s EL Education model (formerly called expeditionary learning).

Students work on projects in all the major subject areas, based on current events and real-world situations. In history class, for example, students learned about the civil unrest among college students during the Vietnam War and made modern-day connections to student-led political movements today. In science, students made models of the local Gowanus Canal while studying environmental impact and clean up strategies.     

Students may choose from a wide variety of elective courses each semester such as robotics, photography, and guitar. These classes also ask students to work on at least one project per year. French instruction is rotated through the schedule with visual arts, theater, and music, so students can only take it for half the year. Algebra is offered in the 8th grade.

Parents say the homework load is manageable and assingments tend to be meaningful. Teachers at this school would overwhelmingly recommend it to families, according to NYC School Survey results.   

At MS 839, every student is part of a "crew," which meets three periods per week in small groups. Students stay with the same crew for a full year, and work on issues of social and emotional support, family and school connection, and monitor academic progress. Crew activities help prepare students to be successful in high school and beyond. Students in seventh-grade crews visited high schools and got to interview high school seniors about student life at their schools. Before the event, students prepared questions and practiced interviewing skills, such as making eye contact, taking notes, and listening. 

Parents have been part of the development of the school from its inception. Twice each year, parents, students and teachers meet to discuss academic goal. Parents on the School Leadership Team propose skills they would like their children to work on, like time management and organization, to be incorporated in the curriculum. There are open parent engagement hours every week for parents to meet with teachers.   

MS 839 shares a newly constructed building with grades 3-5 of nearby PS 130. Each school has its own science lab and shares a full gymnasium, a combination gym and auditorium, and an outdoor playground. 

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has two ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes. Reading periods in all grades are co-taught to ensure all students have detailed support, regardless of their reading level.

Admissions: District 15 has launched a districtwide plan to increase middle school diversity and equity. As part of this plan, all middle schools in District 15 use an open admissions method with an admissions priority for 52% of seats set aside for students from low-income households (who qualify for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program), students in temporary housing, and English Language Learners. To learn more about the D15 Diversity Plan, visit (Melanie Quiroz, web reports and DOE data, November 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 2022-2023 NYC School Survey

How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
78% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
58% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
84% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
0% Citywide Average

From the 2019-20 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
4% 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?
46% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
51% Citywide Average

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

How many 8th-graders earn high school credit?
39% 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 2023 End-of-year Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism Report

Average daily attendance
90% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
38% Citywide Average

From the 2020 School Directories

Uniforms required?

How does this school serve special populations?

From the New York State 2022-2023 Assessment Database

How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
15% Citywide Average

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

Contact & Location


Kensington (District 15)
Trains: F Line, G Line to Fort Hamilton Parkway
Buses: B103, B16, B35, B67, B68, B69, BM3, BM4


Michael Perlberg
Parent Coordinator
Leah Ruggiero Ortiz

Other Details

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

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