Expansive facilities; nice array of programs and activities
Too much old fashioned instruction that doesn't encourage student discussions
John Dewey is a large high school that serves students from across Brooklyn. It was founded in 1969 as a progressive school that gave students wide latitude over their high school education. These days Dewey is very different. There’s lots of structure and a more traditional curriculum, though there are still plenty of opportunities for students to pursue their own interests.
Principal Connie Hamilton took the helm in 2015 after serving as principal of the well-regarded Kingsborough Early College School for several years. Since her arrival, the school appears to have moved past a tumultuous period that included possible closure for low performance and a grade-fixing scandal. Teachers give Hamilton high marks for her leadership, based on their responses to the NYC School Survey; the school’s graduation and college readiness rates have risen steadily in recent years.
Dewey is housed on a spacious campus with lots of facilities to support its academies in business and tourism, law, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and pre-med. Each academy functions as a mini-school with its own theme and course offerings, as well its own assistant principal, dean, guidance counselor, staff of teachers who get to know their students well and a community coordinator who helps oversee academy activities.
Students get training in business, entrepreneurship and culinary arts in the Academy Business and Tourism/Hospitality. They focus on theater, dance and visual arts in the Academy of Fine and Performing Arts as well as participate in school productions. In Law and Justice, students take law-related classes, intern at law firms and participate in Mock Trial, Model UN and NYU’s High School Law Institute.
Two science-themed academies, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and Pre Med, offer a range of advanced science courses as well as opportunities such as robotics, CPR training and internships at hospitals.
A sixth program in Chinese bilingual instruction aims to transition English language learners into English-only classes across all subjects as soon as they’re ready.
Regardless of their program, all freshmen take a double period of ELA, which allows ample time for independent reading, teacher-led lessons and group work as well as time for the teacher to address students at different skill levels. To accommodate the double period of 9th grade English, students double up their history classes in 10th grade, taking both global and American history.
Dewey was praised in its most recent Quality Review for establishing a culture of high expectations. However, it was noted in the same report that teachers are relying too heavily on old fashioned instructional methods that don't leave time for student-led discussions, which encourages independent learning.
Typical of large schools, Dewey has something for everyone. In addition to courses tailored to each academy’s theme, there are many Advanced Placement courses and a broad range of extracurricular activities, including clubs, theater performances and sports teams open to all. To help students manage their stress, the school created a mindfulness room where students can go during their free periods to meditation or participate in breathing exercises and other calming activities.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: Dewey offers self-contained and ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes as well as support services. There’s a dedicated guidance counselor for special education and English as a new language (ENL) services. Many special education and ENL classes as well as services are concentrated in a wing of the building that’s also staffed with psychologists and social workers. ACES (Academic Career Essential Skills), is a skills-building program for students with special needs, where they take on jobs at the school, such as working in the cafeteria.
ADMISSIONS: The Academies for Law and Justice, Fine and Performing Arts, and Business and Hospitality/Tourism accepts students based on the educational option formula, which aims to admit a mix of low-, average- and high-achieving students. The STEM and Pre-med academies admit students based on a review of their grades, test scores and records of attendance and lateness as well as an interview. The Chinese transitional bilingual program is open to students who are still learning English.
Students may apply to switch to a different academy after completing one semester at school. (Linda Littlefield and Laura Zingmond, interview and web reports, September 2018)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
Advanced Foreign Language
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
MusicNot offered in 2019-20
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
The Academy for Business Management and Culinary Arts
The Academy of Business Management and Culinary Arts focuses on preparing students with the technical skills they need to apply to future careers and everyday situations. We offer paid and unpaid internships, job shadowing, mentoring and partnerships through the National Academy of Finance and Careers through Culinary Programs.
Chinese Transitional Bilingual Educational Program
This program will strengthen their home language as they continue to improve their academic English skills. Social studies and science courses are taught using both Chinese and English, and students take Chinese as a Native Language courses in addition to their English as a New Language classes. Please note this is a General Education Bilingual Program for ELL students.
The Academy of Teaching and Learning
The Academy of Teaching and Learning at J.D.H.S. gives students the opportunity to explore fields in education. This program's 4 year sequence will provide a strong foundation for students who are interested in becoming educators. Students have the ability to take several classes that are focused on pedagogy and a focus on social emotional growth for teaching children. In partnership with Kingsborough Community College students will have the opportunity to earn college credits while taking classes at Kingsborough through their Education Department.
The STEM Academy provides students with a rigorous college preparatory curriculum with opportunities to explore the disciplines of computer science, engineering, and robotics and to take AP and college level courses. Courses will prepare students for colleges, career paths, and more. With significant opportunities for hands-on learning, students will gain fluency with the design process. All applicants are interviewed; information available at [email protected]
Pre-Med and Health Academy
The Pre-Med Academy equips students with knowledge and competencies that allow them to excel in college pre-med and health professional programs. Students experience an immersive clinical internship, study anatomy, medical technology, medical ethics, and take AP and college-level courses. Students graduate with certifications in CPR, first aid, and others accredited by the American Red Cross. All applicants are interviewed; information available at [email protected]
The Academy of Law and Justice
This is an opportunity for students interested in law and exploring the struggle for justice and human rights. Program electives focus on the criminal justice system. Through our affiliation with the Justice Resource Center and Facing History & Ourselves, students visit criminal and juvenile court, work with lawyers and politicians, and participate in moot court, mock trial, and Model UN competitions. Students will also have the opportunity to apply to a variety of law related internships.
The Academy of Fine and Performing Arts
Students will experience a unique journey in Visual, Theater, or Dance Arts. Students will be introduced to learning the basics of each field and advance by learning new techniques and skills in their focus area culminating in an Endorsed Diploma. Theater Arts students will participate in acting, scene study, and play writing. Dance will include traditional and modern dance, jazz, interpretive dance, and choreography. Visual Arts classes include studio art, ceramics, and photography.
John Dewey High School D75 Inclusion Program
John Dewey ACES Program
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Microeconomics, AP United States History, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Computer Science Principles, AP Macroeconomics, AP Calculus AB, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP Statistics, AP Computer Science A, AP Physics 1, AP Chinese Language and Culture, AP English Language and Composition, AP Art History, AP Psychology, AP Calculus BC, AP World History: Modern, AP Biology
Boys PSAL teams
Badminton, Basketball, Lacrosse, Soccer, Table Tennis, Tennis, Wrestling
Girls PSAL teams
Badminton, Basketball, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams
Contact & Location
50 Avenue X
Brooklyn NY 11223
Trains: to Bay 50th St; to Ave X; to 86th St
Buses: B1, B4, B64, B82, X28, X38
This school is in its own building.