I.S. 228 David A. Boody
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Dual language and magnet programs
Very large for a middle school
David A. Boody is a popular school in a residential area of Gravesend with a multi-ethnic mix of students, solid academics and lots of technology.
The school offers dual language programs in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Hebrew that are open to students from anywhere in Brooklyn who know enough of the target language to gain admission. It also has a magnet program open to students in District 21 that is comprised of nine “talents”—art, athletics, chess, dance, science, music, musical theater, creative writing and digital art.
Music, a particular strength here, features a jazz band, a concert band, a string orchestra, a string chamber ensemble and a winds ensemble. Students in the dance program work in many genres with the help of teaching artists. In 2017, the student dancers visited museums and then used the artworks they saw to inspire their choreography. The digital arts program includes computer software operation, networking and computer graphics, while the science magnet enables kids to go beyond the standard curriculum to study fields such as marine science and to take the Living Environment Regents in eighth grade
Dominick D’Angelo, who became principal in 2007 after a career in business, is a big proponent of technology. Laptops, document cameras and laptops are available to students and teachers, according to Boody’s Comprehensive Education Plan. In 2016, it received $570,000 to create a STEM lab it will use as part of the South Brooklyn Engineering Pipeline, a curriculum and teacher training program. Boody even uses technology – in this case an app – to fight bullying.
In 2010, Boody adopted the School of One program for almost all math students, knocking down walls and reconfiguring much of the second floor to accommodate it. The program combines teacher instruction with work on computers, small group work and an online assessment every day. Students move on to the next topic only if they pass that assessment. Launched under former schools chancellor Joel Klein and once hailed by Time Magazine as the wave of the future, School of One was introduced in five New York City schools with an eye toward expansion. Results were mixed, and several of the schools that tested it abandoned it. D’Angelo, though, has been enthusiastic about it and it remains in place at Boody.
Students may take the Living Environment, earth science and algebra Regents in 8th grade. The dual language programs include students fluent in English whose families want them to gain proficiency in the other language and those who use the other language and seek to learn English. Students are expected to work in the two languages and so become fluent in them.
The school has seen its enrollment increase by two-thirds in six years, something that D’Angelo attributes partly to the language offerings.
A Department of Education report praised the school for engaging students at all academic levels and working to ensure that they mastered the curriculum. A program called STOMP (Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program) enables students considered at risk to meet with a teacher mentor during lunch once a week to discuss problems they might be having and other issues.
ADMISSIONS: Students are admitted in three ways. Those in the zone are automatically eligible for the regular zoned program. Children must take a test for the magnet program, which is open to students and residents of District 21. Dual language programs are open to children from throughout Brooklyn, based on language proficiency and interest. The magnet and some of the dual language programs are quite competitive, with eight or nine applicants for every seat (Gail Robinson, March 2014; update based on web reports and school data, September 2017)