J.H.S. 157 Stephen A. Halsey
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Performing arts, classes in software engineering
Early lunch for 6th graders
JHS 157, Stephen A. Halsey, is a large, dynamic school with effective teachers, strong leadership, and engaging classes. Open to everyone who lives in the school’s attendance zone, Halsey also admits students from across District 28 to its performing arts program.
Students choose a "talent"—band, chorus, drama, art, STEM (science, technology engineering and math) and computers—which they take four times a week.
The school serves a wide range of children well, including high-achievers, new immigrants learning English and students with disabilities, according to an evaluation by the Department of Education called the Quality Review. Children speak 31 different languages at home.
Principal Vincent Suraci, who speaks Spanish and Italian, and grew up in the neighborhood, gets high marks from teachers.
It's a demanding school: Nearly half of all students take and pass Regents exams in Algebra, Earth Science or a foreign language. In addition to strong academics, the school has lots of electives and activities. Every year, the school puts on a musical such as Guys and Dolls or The Music Man. One year, special needs students learned about African dance as part of a program at The Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Electives include 3-D printing, and animation. A new technology lab has a flight simulator used in the software engineering program.
Students participate in civic activities including fundraising for St. Jude & the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. “They run coat drives, food drives, toy drives, and more,” according to parent coordinator Michael Zevon. Athletic teams, including boys' and girls' basketball, boys' flag football and girls' volleyball, compete across the borough.
While nearly all the middle schools in the city end in 8th grade, JHS 157 still has a 9th grade, in part to help ease crowding at Forest Hills High School a few blocks away. One benefit: 9th grade class size at Halsey is much smaller than that at Forest Hills. However, there are no 9th grade honors courses.
Lunch periods are staggered from 10:30 am for 6th graders to 12:30 pm for 8th and 9th graders.
Admissions: Neighborhood school. Any District 28 student may audition for the school's performing arts programs. Open houses are held in October. (Clara Hemphill, web reports, April 2019)Read more