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Vista Academy

Grades: 6-8
Noteworthy
350 Linwood Street
Brooklyn NY 11208
Phone: 718-647-0913

Our Insights

What’s Special

Kids learn to cope with stress by meditating

The Downside

There could be more discussion in classes

Vista Academy, a small school in a quiet leafy corner of East New York, gives teens the tools they need to cope with the daily stress of living in a tough neighborhood. They learn to manage their anger with deep breathing exercises and meditation; set daily goals, and make good decisions.

Teens feel challenged, respected and safe at Vista Academy, according to school surveys, and most teachers say they would recommend the school to other families.   

Founded in 2013 to replace the often-rowdy PS 302, Vista Academy has a quiet and industrious tone. It is located on two floors in a large building with little adornment aside from inspirational posters on bright blue and yellow walls. 

Outside, generous swaths of green—the school’s playground and track and field—provide a buffer against the bustle of Atlantic and Liberty Avenues with their storefront churches, auto repair shops and cars that drive by with music blaring. 

VA scholars, as students are called, participate in well-organized character-development activities, beginning with a daily, 15-minute, school-wide motivational morning meeting. On one of our visits, a 6th-grade teacher spoke about NBA star Kevin Durant, who said, "Don't stop doing your best just because someone doesn't give you credit," and played the song "Magic" by the band Coldplay.

The school day continues with a DMP (decision-making period) in which kids set goals, check-in with peers, journal and close their eyes and sit in silence for several minutes. In one class, kids were reading an article by Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh. 

A teacher said 6th graders, especially, need time to acclimate to middle school. Teachers pick out those who need additional support for all-male and all-female support groups. As a result of all this preventive work, suspensions are rare, said Principal Bernard Addo, formerly the assistant principal, who took the helm in 2017. 

Many students enter the school with weak skills in math, reading and writing, according to staff, but teachers have been able to bring test scores up despite the fact that many teens are repeatedly absent, and many live in unstable or temporary housing situations. About 30 high-achievers take the high-school level science course (in 2018 the school will have a high school-level math class). A science teacher said kids participate in hands-on labs, such as one in which they design and build simple machines to learn about energy transformations.

While the school gets high marks on its positive culture, the Quality Review cites class discussion as an area that needs more work—and we did notice teachers did most of the talking on our visit. The reviewer wrote that teachers prompt children to speak but that, “students have yet to consistently take ownership of the conversations and respond freely to one another.” One way teachers are addressing this is by holding Socratic Circles, in which teens sit in inner and outer circles, prepare questions, and follow formal rules of discussion.

Vista Academy has an array of academic, athletic and creative after-school programs from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm, including basketball, volleyball, wrestling, karate, dance, glee club, newspaper, music and video club, creative writing, and robotics. Children who scored in the bottom one-third on their tests attend a two-hour intensive tutoring session on Saturdays.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has small classes for children with special needs only, and ICT (integrated-co-teaching) classes, which incorporate students with special needs into general education classes with two teachers. One “self-contained” class did not have windows but there was a ventilation system.

ADMISSIONS: District 19, with priority to children who live in the school attendance zone and attend an open house. (Lydie Raschka, October 2017) 

 

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School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2018-19 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
37%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
88%
82% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
47%
52% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
48%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
61%
81% Citywide Average

From 2017-18 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
4%
3% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
59%
75% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school
2.1

How do students perform academically?

From 2018 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
36%
37% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
43%
42% Citywide Average

From 2018 Middle School Directory

What high schools do most graduates attend?
Frances Perkins Academy, Transit Tech Career and Technical Education High School, and The High School for Enterprise, Business and Technology
Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Earth Science

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many 8th-graders earn high school credit?
20%
32% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2018-19 Demographic Snapshot

Enrollment
471
Asian
6%
Black
24%
Hispanic
66%
White
1%
Other
3%
Free or reduced priced lunch
96%
Students with disabilities
20%
English language learners
11%

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
94%
93% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
20%
23% Citywide Average

From 2018 School Directories

Uniforms required?
No

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2018 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
10%
14% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
19%
15% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
16%
14% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
11%
6% Citywide Average


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

Contact & Location

Location

East New York (District 19)
Trains: Z Line to Norwood Ave; J Line to Cleveland St; C Line to Shepherd Ave
Buses: B14, Q24, Q56, Q8

Contact

Principal
Bernard Addo
Parent Coordinator
Raquel Gonzalez Vasquez

Other Details

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with Liberty Avenue Middle and Achievement First Apollo Charter School
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No

Zone for the 2019-2020 school year. Call school to confirm.

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