The Christa McAuliffe School I.S. 187
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Music and theater programs; strong special education program
No full gym
IS 187, Christa McAuliffe, one of the city’s top-rated middle schools, offers an array of extras, including instrumental music, chorus and overnight trips, along with demanding academics. Students enter McAuliffe with test scores well above the city average and, three years later, many go on to specialized high schools.
Students select one of three academies when they apply to the school in 5th grade. Every academy has its own special classes, lunch period and three bands (one for each grade) as well as its own section of the building, giving students a sense of identity. “The small community counts for a big amount of our tremendous success,” says long-time principal Justin Berman.
Children in all three academies (Scientific Research, Arts and Humanities, and Business and Law) take the same core academic subjects but the approach to the material varies among them. Students in Arts and Humanities, for example, incorporate more artwork and creative writing in their lessons. Students in Scientific Research have greater laboratory time, and Business and Law students engage in debate.
Some, but not all, students take the algebra Regents, the only Regents test McAuliffe offers. The school provides a number of interesting opportunities to its students, such as aviation program using flight simulators and participating in a Federal Reserve competition for high school students. The school also has a popular free after-school program.
Located in a building constructed as an elementary school, McAuliffe lacks a full-size gymnasium.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: McAuliffe provides team teaching and self-contained classes. Children with disabilities outperform those in other schools on standardized tests. Some special education students run a cafe in the school. A hydroponic and aquaponics lab are intended to enable the students to sell food grown at the school.
ADMISSIONS: The school is open to any District 20 student. Eighth-graders apply to individual academies, and many apply to all three to increase their chances of getting into the school. Students are admitted largely on the basis of test scores and grades. (Gail Robinson, interview, DOE data, March 2019)