Brooklyn Preparatory High School
Brooklyn Preparatory High School focuses on college readiness and emphasizes traditional core subjects. The school works from its “Habits of Mind” philosophy, which is evident in its curriculum and instruction. Brooklyn Prep partners with the Institute for Student Achievement and the College Summit program, and uses College Now college preparation courses. The school works to build small learning communities in which students are assigned to teachers on interdisciplinary teams. These teachers have small advisory classes of about 15 students each. The small class size allows teachers to focus on individual students and closely monitor their progress. Wayne Tobias, who teaches 10th-grade mathematics, works with 17 students in his advisory class this year. Understanding the student as a whole and not just focusing on their test scores, “is one of the things we really accomplish through our advisory,” he says.
Brooklyn Prep uses student portfolios to measure academic improvement. Every semester (except senior year), students produce portfolios composed of projects from each subject and writing samples from across disciplines, and they present them to a small group of peers and their adviser. Sometimes parents and professionals from the community attend the presentations as well. Students are asked to evaluate their own growth by comparing their current portfolios to their previous ones.
Tobias enjoys the sense of teacher collaboration that permeates the school. “We work together very closely.” For instance, teachers take an interdisciplinary approach to instruction. During the year, Tobias observes what the science class is learning and will adjust his lessons to support those of the science teacher’s. Tobias says the English and history teachers support each other’s lessons as well.
The school takes pride in integrating technology into each student’s daily routine. Brooklyn Prep offers free wireless service on campus, three mobile MacBook computer carts, desktops in every classroom, a computer lab available to students during lunch and after school, projectors for each academic department, and a digital portfolio art class. With personal attention from teachers and technological supports, Brooklyn Prep lives up to its mission: “to prepare all its students to succeed in a challenging college program and a fulfilling career.”
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