Brilla College Prep Charter Schools (K-4, 5-8)
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Computer-based tasks and teacher-led small groups
Suspension rate is high
Founded in 2013, Brilla College Prep Charter serves kindergarten to 4th grade students, with the option to continue in the middle school for grades 5–8 at 500 Cortland Avenue, a five-minute walk away.
Brilla—meaning “shine” in Spanish—offers a longer school day and a mix of computer-based and teacher-led instruction for reading and math. Classes have two teachers in every room to allow for one-on-one and small group instruction. The day ends at 3:45 pm, Monday-Thursday, and at 1:15 pm Friday, the school website shows. Students are required to wear a tucked in polo shirt and pants or a jumper.
The school highlights its educational approach on the Brilla website. A focus on character education centers around four virtues: courage, justice, wisdom and self-control. One feature of the academic program is a non-fiction studies block, bringing science and social studies to life through non-fiction books and articles, in addition to hands-on activities and labs.
Students on average outperform other schools across the city on state reading and math tests, including students with disabilities and English language learners.
While teachers are mostly happy with the principal’s leadership, some say discipline and order are hard to maintain in classrooms, according to NYC School Surveys. The suspension rate is above the citywide average.
Brilla College Prep is housed in the former St. Pius V Elementary school, an older, attractive red brick building that has been renovated, behind St. Pius V Catholic Church at 413 East 144th Street.
In the fall of 2017, the network opened Brilla Veritas, which will grow to serve students in grades K-8. Two more elementary schools are planned for August 2020. Brilla publishes a newsletter called The Perch with articles about school happenings.
ADMISSIONS: By lottery in early April. See website for more information. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, April 2020)