Interesting projects and strong college focus
Metal detectors; building still overcoming a bad reputation
Leaders High School is safe and welcoming with strong leadership and a dedicated staff. The population is uncommonly diverse: Students represent more than 35 home countries and speak more than 20 languages. The four-year high school graduation rate is above average. Many children are the first in their families to attend college.
Children do an unusual amount of research and writing, and must prove their knowledge in prepared presentations. Leaders is an Expeditionary Learning school, embracing activities and field trips. Students are exempt from all Regents exams except English. Instead, they do PBATs (performance-based assessment tasks), in which they present research papers, often 6 to 12 pages long, to peers, teachers and parents at the end of each semester.
More than three-quarters of the students graduate with strong enough grades to avoid remedial classes in college as determined by a test designed by City University of New York (CUNY). Leaders also has a good track record serving children with special needs.
All students take Spanish four times a week. Some Spanish speakers help out as teaching assistants and may also take a Spanish literature elective. Other electives include art, spoken word, computer science, dance, robotics and playwriting.
Twice a year classes are suspended for a week and students do in-depth studies on topics such as the Psychology of Fear and Happy, Game Design, or Wild and Free: A Yoga and Dance Intensive. Freshmen spend one of these weeks at a free outdoor adventure camp run by Outward Bound. Sophomores spend one week visiting city, state and out-of-state colleges.
Leaders works with students and families at every stage of the college and financial aid application process. During Regents week, when students are on break, seniors have individual appointments with the college counselor to put together documentation for every school on their list. Most students go to CUNY colleges, but some get into four-year private schools such as The College of St. Rose or Skidmore. More than one-third enroll in a four-year college.
Four days a week students have "crew" (like advisory) for college preparation, team-building activities, silent reading and academic support. The school uses Restorative Justice, a program that addresses discipline through mechanisms such as peer mediation and conversation circles.
Thomas Mullen became principal in 2016. He was formerly assistant principal of the well-regarded East Side Community School. On school surveys, teachers overwhelmingly say he is an effective manager on school surveys.
Leaders is one of five schools in the Lafayette Educational Campus. The building has metal detectors and a lingering reputation to overcome from its unruly days as Lafayette High School. “People just hear the name and they don’t want to come here, but [our school] has nothing to do with Lafayette,” says the principal’s secretary, Lisa Nastari. “We’re starting to make a name for ourselves through word of mouth.” More than a dozen freshmen sometimes transfer in after school starts because they hear good things from friends, she says.
ADMISSIONS: Leaders attracts students from all five boroughs. (Lydie Raschka, DOE data and interview, February 2018)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
PhysicsNot offered in 2019-20
Advanced Foreign LanguageNot offered in 2019-20
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
Leaders High School
Leaders High School is a NYC Outward Bound School implementing the EL Education model (see www.nycoutwardbound.org and eleducation.org). Leaders uses hands-on learning that has real-world application to ignite a joy for learning and discovery in our students. At our school, leadership, active citizenship, and character development go hand in hand with academic rigor and challenge.
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Computer Science Principles
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Football, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling
Girls PSAL teams
Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Flag Football, Soccer, Softball, Table Tennis, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams
Contact & Location
2630 Benson Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11214
Trains: to Bay 50th St; to 86th St
Buses: B1, B3, B4, B6, B64, B82, X28, X38
This school shares the Lafayette Educational Campus with four other schools