On-site organic farm; effective dual focus on strong academics and community responsibility
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)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
CalculusNot offered in 2019-20
Advanced Foreign Language
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
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
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
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.
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
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
Contact & Location
600 Kingston Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11203
Trains: , to Winthrop St
Buses: B12, B17, B43, B44, B44-SBS, B49
This school shares the George Wingate Educational Campus with two other schools