Brooklyn Institute for Liberal Arts (BILA)

Grades: 9-12
Staff Pick for Special Ed Noteworthy

Our Insights

What’s Special

Strong social and academic student support

The Downside

Students must pass through metal detectors

Brooklyn Institute for Liberal Arts (BILA) is a small high school that helps children catch up and graduate on time, even if they come in with low skills. The majority of students finish the bulk of their high school credits and exams by the end of 10th grade, leaving time for advanced coursework. A recent graduate won a scholarship to Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Most students at BILA are immigrants, or children of immigrants, from the English-speaking Caribbean islands.

Ann-Marie Henry-Stephens is the school's founding principal. A teacher for more than 25 years, Henry-Stephens has taught in both the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago and in New York City schools, most recently as an English teacher and assistant principal at the now-closed Paul Robeson High School.

Attendance is high and school surveys show children feel safe. Students meet in groups of 12 with a faculty advisor first thing almost every day and stay together all four years. Advisors help teens work through the tough transition from middle school to high school and make sure they do not fall behind. Students receive weekly progress reports, and advisors keep in touch with parents about attendance, tardiness and academic progress.

The strong on-time graduation and college-readiness rates are significant given that the majority of students enter school reading at or below a 6th grade level. The school’s Comprehensive Educational Plan says 9th and 10th graders spend extra time in literacy classes to boost reading and writing skills. Teachers use pictures, glossaries, simple worksheets, and oral and written instructions to help kids understand concepts. After school tutoring is available in all subjects four days a week until 5 pm.

The school was founded in partnership with the Institute of Student Achievement (ISA), an organization that provides financial and structural support to small public schools located in areas with historically low graduation rates. ISA helps with college prep including trips to campuses such as to Howard University in Washington D. C. Teachers also receive extra training funded by ISA. They meet together several times a week and two hours on Wednesday afternoons.

The school opened in September 2012 inside the George Wingate Educational Campus. Students must pass through metal detectors.

ADMISSIONS: Educational Option. The school seeks a mix of low-, middle- and high-achievers. (Lydie Raschka, web reports and DOE data, August 2018)





School Stats


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


Number of students
644 Citywide Average


Low-income students
Students with disabilities
Multilingual learners
From the 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

Safety & Vibe

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

Faculty & Staff

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
Years of principal experience at this school
7 Citywide Average
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?
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


Not offered in 2019-20

Computer Science



Not offered in 2019-20

Advanced Foreign Language

Not offered in 2019-20

AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science


AP/IB Math or Science



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

College Readiness

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
From the 2019-20 School Quality Guide
How many students filled out a FAFSA form by the end of their senior year?
From the 2020-21 FAFSA data released by Federal Student Aid, brought 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

Humanities, Arts & STEM

Admissions Method: Open

Program Description:

This is an ideal school for students who want the best academic and technological foundation to prepare them for college or career. We have challenging blended-learning and online classes with opportunities for students to succeed in a supportive and friendly community. Students go to college early, and monthly trips are part of a curriculum that allows them to experience the ever-changing world. We use a variety of technology to enhance learning and develop life-changing 21st century skills.


From the 2021 High School Directory

Language Courses


Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Environmental Science, AP English Language and Composition, AP Statistics, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Human Geography

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


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

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location


600 Kingston Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11203

Trains: 2 Line, 5 Line to Winthrop St

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


Principal: Ann Marie Henry Stephens

Parent Coordinator: Cassandra Drew


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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