Brooklyn College Academy

Grades 9-12
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Students study on Brooklyn College campus

The Downside

Two different school locations; small gym at annex

Our Review

Brooklyn College Academy, one of the first schools in the city linked to a college campus, is a small, sought-after alternative to Brooklyn's large neighborhood schools. Kids get personal attention from an attentive staff, and they enjoy the freedom of being in college setting during their last two years of high school. The school is especially popular with families from the Caribbean and students who come from parochial school.

The school was founded in 1986 as an alternative school--a program to help older high school students who have not done well in other settings -- but now most students enter in 9th grade through the regular high school application process. The school has two sites, located about a mile apart from each other. The 7th-10th grade lower school, called Bridges to Brooklyn or "the annex," is housed in a renovated warehouse; the upper school, grades 11 and 12, is situated on the Brooklyn College campus. Classrooms at both sites have the teachers' personal stamp on them and are full of student work, posters, and "word wall" vocabulary lists.

Principal Nick Mazzarella travels between the two locations daily but he admits that having sites so far apart, poses logistical problems and sometimes "gives you the feeling of two separate schools." One remedy: an after school bus picks up kids at one site for sports and orchestra and transports them to the other site.

The high school shares two floors of a campus building with college students. Space is tight, with classes topping out at 34 students in relatively small classrooms, but the feeling is congenial. Students visit the nearby "Junction" (where the subway stops) for lunch or the college cafeteria. They also can use the wonderful library, gym, and other facilities. A handful of students take college courses after school; they need to have an 80 or 85 average and meet other requirements. A few others take college courses during the school day.

Mazzarella, who began his career at Hostos-Lincoln High School in the Bronx and came to Brooklyn College Academy in 2005, is a real believer in a campus education for high school students. "By coming to the campus, their world changes," he said. "My mission is to offer more college courses. I love the collaboration with the college, and the kids have a lot more opportunities."

The lower school is at 350 Coney Island Avenue, across the street from the parade grounds adjacent to Prospect Park in the Windsor Terrace neighborhood. It is also on the list of 209 successful schools the chancellor exempted from the citywide uniform curriculum mandated in 2003.

The annex has a very different feel from the upper school. The site is spotless, spacious, and well-maintained. It is also quiet--until you wander in on a lunchroom gathering of the World Band, led by a dynamo music teacher, who collects odd and interesting musical instruments on her world travels. During our visit, a good number of sophomores were banging away on unusual instruments, encouraged by the teacher, who seemed adept at all of them. A science teacher, also a musician, came in to watch, also attracted by the music.

The school has a nicely equipped science lab and a small gym. It also houses an "8-plus program," run by the region for 8th graders who need to make up credits before entering 9th grade. These students share some classes with 8th graders at Bridges to Brooklyn.

Bridges to Brooklyn was one of the schools cited by the New York Daily News for the largest increase in 8th grade math test scores in 2005 "with a 27-percentage-point boost and 77% passing," the September 24, 2005 Daily News article said.

Special education: The school houses a model program for autistic children, who are placed into regular classes where they receive extra help. "It works beautifully," an English teacher told us. "They've been some of the best writers."Two autistic boys whom we saw on a previous visit several years ago successfully helping other students in a 9th grade science class are now seniors likely to graduate with honors, a staff member said.

College admissions: Almost all graduates go on to college, either two or four year schools. A few join the military. Recent graduates have attended Penn State, New York University, traditionally black colleges in the south, SUNY Binghamton, and many CUNY schools.

Admissions: There is one class of 7th graders and one of 8th graders. All applicants are interviewed, submit a writing sample, and take a test. School officials also meet with parents. High school students enter through the city's regular high school application process. Brooklyn College Academy is a screened program. The school looks for students who score on grade level or better on standardized exams and who have a good attendance record. A guidance counselor's recommendation is required. (Pamela Wheaton, October 2005)

About the students

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

About the school

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
Metal detectors?
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average


Average daily attendance
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
37% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
85% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
57% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
80% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
86% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 2 dedicated spaces for Music and Visual arts
This school has 2 licensed arts teacher in Visual arts (part-time) and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
54% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
71% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
63% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
68% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
90% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Brooklyn College Academy
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description


Language Courses



Boys PSAL teams


Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on the NYCDOE’s School Finder
NYC Department of Education: School Finder

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350 Coney Island Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11218
Windsor Terrace (District 15)
Trains: B, Q to Church Ave; F, G to Fort Hamilton Parkway
Buses: B103, B16, B35, B67, B68, B69, BM3, BM4


Nicholas Mazzarella
Parent Coordinator
Karen Browne