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Brooklyn Prospect Charter Middle and High School
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Diverse staff and student body; International Baccalaureate
Strict rules about bathroom use
Brooklyn Prospect Charter School offers a close-knit community and a demanding International Baccalaureate (IB) program. Students and parents say they prize the personal attention; the welcoming environment; and the enthusiastic, approachable teachers.
“The faculty and administration are very diverse in all the best forms of the word,” said a parent. Students of every stripe feel accepted—including Muslim kids, gay kids, trans kids, anxious kids, and kids whose parents have been deported. “All backgrounds, all incomes, racial, economic—the plurality is really fantastic.”
International Baccalaureate is a degree widely accepted at universities in more than 100 countries. More demanding than a standard Regents prep curriculum, the IB program requires students to show competency in a foreign language, write a 15- to 20-page research report, make an oral presentation and pass various subject exams.
The school also offers a less demanding “partial IB” track, in which students may take some IB courses and graduate with a Regents diploma.
Field trips complement academics, and teachers link classroom work to issues in the world.
Incoming 6th graders spend a week at the Frost Valley YMCA in the Catskills for outdoor adventure and bonding with classmates. In the classroom, they produce Public Service Announcements about natural disasters and climate change, design wind turbines and make stop motion animation movies. They write four lab reports and policy briefs on climate data that they submit to the city at the end of the year.
High school students take college trips around the city. They have seen portions of the original manuscript for Frankenstein at the Morgen Library, visited the New York Hall of Science, and various birthplaces of hip hop around New York City. They have visited the United Nations, and some travel to Peru, China or Italy, but a parent pointed out the international trips are paid for by families.
Many classrooms have two teachers; some are trained in special education, others are recent college graduates who are mentored by classroom teachers for a year.
One downside is what a parent calls a kind of “micro-grading” of everything from academic assignments to behavior, and strict limits on bathroom use.
The school is in a bright four-story building near the Fort Hamilton Parkway stop on the F train. Originally a Roman Catholic elementary school, it received a $6 million upgrade to make it suitable for older students. Six science labs were installed, lockers were added, and each floor got a coat of red, blue or yellow paint. The building has wireless Internet access and is air-conditioned.
Admissions: Lottery in April. Priority goes to siblings and District 15 students. In the 6th grade, preference is given to students who qualify for free or reduced lunch. About 75 percent of 8th-graders stay for high school. (Lydie Raschka, web reports and interviews, March 2019)