J.H.S. 223 The Montauk
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College support; academics are improving
Located in a largely Hasidic neighborhood of Brooklyn where most children go to religious schools, JHS 233 The Montauk is a zoned neighborhood school that draws many students from beyond its immediate neighborhood.
Although smaller and less well-known than many District 20 middle schools, JHS 223 has improved dramatically over the years, going from a struggling school in some disrepair, to one where students feel safe, and score above average on standardized tests. Teachers overwhelmingly recommend the school to parents seeking a middle school, according to school surveys.
The Department of Education Quality Review praised its teachers for encouraging small group work and class discussion and for making material accessible to students with limited command of English. (About a third of students are English language learners.)
The school has a District 20 gifted program with one class per grade. Other academically advanced students are in an honors program. The school has limited arts, according to the Arts in Schools Report; no dance or theater, only music in 7th grade, and three years of visual arts for all. Some students participate in AVID, a college and career readiness program.
To try to increase parent involvement the school has initiated several family oriented activities, including pumpkin carving and cupcake decorating as well as a College and Career Night. Students go on an unusual number of trips.
The Montauk shares its building with the Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice, an all-girls school with grades 6 to 12 There is little interaction between the two schools.
Special education: JHS 223 has team teaching classes, with a mix of general and special education students, as well as self-contained classes for students with disabilities.
Admissions: Along with admitting all applicants who live in its zone, The Montauk has a gifted program, open to all District 20 student. This competitive program chooses applicants largely on the basis of their 4th grade standardized tests and grades. A magnet program, intended to encourage diversity, accepts students from district 20, 21 and 31. Applicants are chosen at random. (Gail Robinson, March 2019, from web reports)