High School for Public Service: Heroes of Tomorrow

Grades: 9-12
Staff Pick for Special Ed Noteworthy

Our Insights

What’s Special

On-site organic farm; effective dual focus on strong academics and community responsibility

The Downside

Shares space with several other schools

High School for Public Service: Heroes of Tomorrow (Heroes) is a Brooklyn gem, posting top graduation rates while also preparing graduates for college-level work. True to its name, public service is woven into the fabric of the school. All students perform community service and, depending on what program they’re enrolled in, take classes in areas such as law, ethics, microbiology, ecology, ethics, public speaking or human rights.

The school hits a lot of high marks. Teachers collaborate a lot and hold principal Sean Rice in high regard, based on responses to the annual NYC Survey. Most students say the school’s programs, classes and activities encourage them to develop talent outside academics.

Students enroll in one of three academies: law, medical or public service. The law academy features a mock-trial program; students in the medical program participate in internships at hospitals, including SUNY Downstate Medical Center, located just a block from the school. The public service program emphasizes learning about public policy, social action and human rights; students tackle social issues through projects at school and work in the community.

For a small school, Heroes packs a lot in. There is a range of interesting classes, Advanced Placement courses and activities. Arts offerings include band, chorus and studio art, where students create ceramics with the school’s own kiln. Students may also take College Now courses by enrolling in classes at Hunter College, Brooklyn College and the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University.

The Youth Farm at Heroes is a point of pride for the school. Students tend to a 10,000-square-foot garden, which is located on school grounds and was established with support from community partners. They learn about organic farming methods, care for and cultivate the crop and sell their produce locally via a farm stand that they manage.

Class time varies by subject but generally runs longer than the typical 42-minute period, giving teachers more time to delve deeply into lessons and students more time to grasp and discuss topics. Teachers also take care to stagger their projects and exam dates so students don’t get overwhelmed with too many assignments at once, according to Rice.

Projects, presentations, reading, writing and rich class discussions are emphasized in all grades and subjects. Students have to complete two lengthy projects, called “mastery work,” in each class, and as they advance through the grades, they are expected to write longer essays and conduct their own research. For instance, in earth science, students tested water from the Gowanus Canal and Prospect Park ponds as part of their study on pollution, and then presented their research findings to government officials in Albany. 

In addition to taking traditional courses, students must enroll in classes about community service, leadership and ethics. They also complete 50 hours of community service each year.

Heroes is housed in the George Wingate Educational Complex building, which it shares with several small high schools. Students may participate in a range of campus-wide sports teams and an array of clubs. Tutoring is also available.

Many graduates go to CUNY and SUNY colleges. Some go out of state, including a handful to Ivy League and other highly competitive schools.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has self-contained and ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) classes. 

ADMISSIONS: Priority to Brooklyn students. Admissions to the law and medical academies are based on a review of students’ grades, state test scores and attendance records. Admission to the public service academy follows the educational option formula, which aims to admit a mix of low-, average- and high-achieving students. (Linda Littlefield and Laura Zingmond, via interview and web reports, April 2018)

School Stats

Academics

School
Citywide
How many students graduate in 4 years?
 
92%
How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
 
85%
Average daily attendance
 
83%
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
 
46%
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
 
80%
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
 
82%
From the 2019-20 School Quality Guide and 2020-21 NYC School Survey

Students

519
Number of students
644 Citywide Average

Race/Ethnicity


School
Citywide
Low-income students
 
74%
Students with disabilities
 
19%
Multilingual learners
 
1%
From the 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

Safety & Vibe

School
Citywide
How many students were suspended?
 
2%
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
 
92%
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
 
28%
How many students say that some are bullied at their school because of their gender or sexual orientation?
 
16%
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey and 2019-20 NY State Report Card

Faculty & Staff

School
Citywide
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
 
95%
8.6
Years of principal experience at this school
7 Citywide Average
219
Number of students for each guidance counselor or social worker
157 Citywide Average

Teachers’ Race/Ethnicity


How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
 
83%
Are teachers effective?
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey, 2019-20 School Quality Guide, 2019-20 NY State Report Card, 2021 Guidance Counselor Report and this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Advanced Courses

Which students have access to advanced courses at this school? Learn more

Calculus

Not offered in 2019-20

Computer Science

 
5%

Physics

 
5%

Advanced Foreign Language

 
7%

AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science

 
33%

AP/IB Math or Science

 
24%

Music

 
40%
From unpublished, anonymized data from the 2019-20 school year provided by the New York State Education Department, brought to you by

College Readiness

School
Citywide
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
 
68%
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
 
90%
From the 2019-20 School Quality Guide
How many students filled out a FAFSA form by the end of their senior year?
 
68%
From the 2020-21 FAFSA data released by Federal Student Aid, brought you by
How many graduates of this school received Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funding to attend a NYS college?
 
62%
How many of those TAP recipients made it through college? Learn more
From unpublished, anonymized student-level data for the class of 2011-12 provided by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) in coordination with the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), brought to you by
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

From the 2021 High School Directory

Law Academy-HSPS

Admissions Method: Screened

Program Description:

Criminal, civil and constitutional law, juvenile justice, corrections, and criminology. Students will explore education requirements of lawyers, paralegals, court reporters, judges, police officers, criminal psychologists, and criminal investigators with the aid of an assigned mentor. Course sequence includes: Global and US History, Intro to Legal Studies, Advanced Topics in Law, Constitutional Law, Law and Literature, Social Sciences and the Law, Argument and Debate, and The Art of Public Speaking.

Medical Science and Careers Academy

Admissions Method: Screened

Program Description:

Medical science curriculum with clinical applications to explore healthcare career options. Coursework focus areas include anatomy & physiology, immunology, hydroponics, infectious diseases and public health with hands-on experience at SUNY Downstate Medical Center & Kings County Hospital. Specific Course Sequencing: Microbiology, Medical Science, Medicine and Literature, AP Biology, Health Careers, CPR and First Aide Certification, Health, Living Environment, Earth Science, Chemistry, and Physics.

Urban Farming and Agricultural Sciences

Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.

Program Description:

Students will engage in a sequence of courses and project based learning opportunities to gain knowledge in Urban Farming, Food Justice, Hydroponics, and Agricultural Sciences blended with a commitment to community service embedded in the surrounding community. Coursework includes: Food Justice, Botany, Growing Soils, Environmental Carpentry and Building, Ecosystems, Crop Management, Irrigation, Small Farm Planning, and AP Environmental Science.

Offerings

From the 2021 High School Directory

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Physics 1, AP Environmental Science, AP World History: Modern, AP Biology, AP Computer Science Principles, AP English Literature and Composition, AP United States History, AP English Language and Composition

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Outdoor Track, Rugby, Soccer, Volleyball, Wrestling

Coed PSAL teams

Cricket

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

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location

Location

600 Kingston Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11203

Trains: 2 Line, 5 Line to Winthrop St

Buses: B12, B17, B43, B44, B44-SBS, B49


Contact

Principal: Sean Rice

Parent Coordinator: Eric Ferreira

Website

Other Details

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the George Wingate Educational Campus with two other schools

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? No

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