Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies

Alyce Barr
610 Henry Street, Brooklyn NY 11231

Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies
2008-2009 School Profile

610 Henry Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Phone (718) 923 4750
Fax (718) 923 4730
CEEB code 330849

Alyce Barr, Principal, x507
Scill Chan, HS Director, x516
Zan Jacobus, College Counselor, x701
Loren Fisher, Guidance Counselor, x521

Student Enrollment
Total Enrollment: 684
Senior Class of 2009 enrollment: 71
Ethnicity: 19% White and other, 47% African American, 32% Latino, 3% Asian
Free and Reduced Lunch: 70%
Our students come from every neighborhood in Brooklyn and from all socio-economic backgrounds

Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies (BCS) is a public secondary school located in the Carroll
Gardens/Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. Our college-preparatory program emphasizes project-based, interdisciplinary curriculum and collaborative work. Founding principles include developmentally appropriate curriculum and practice for adolescents that enables them to build academic and personal responsibility with increasing independence. As a deliberately diverse school, we explicitly teach the skills of cross-cultural competence, preparing our students to live and work in an increasingly global and integrated world. In teaching our students how to learn, we emphasize self-assessment, connections to mentor adults and 21st century research and communication skills.

BCS is a member of the national network of Expeditionary Learning Schools: The ELS approach promotes rigorous and engaging curriculum; active, inquiry-based pedagogy; and a school culture that demands and teaches compassion and good citizenship. The ELS approach is experiential and project-based, involving students in original research–with experts–to create high-quality products for audiences beyond the classroom. The ELS approach to teaching has been proven effective by third-party research conducted by the Rand Corporation, the Academy for Educational Development, the American Institutes for Research and the National Staff Development Council.

Every student at BCS participates in a daily Crew advisory period that includes individual advisement,
guided independent reading, explicit teaching of study skills, organization, and time management and
development of group skills. Students learn to be agents of self-change, to take responsibility for their
learning, and to develop supportive mentoring relationships with adults and peers.

BCS is also a member of the NY Performance Standards Consortium, a coalition of 31 successful small high schools in New York State that have a performance assessment system which meets and exceeds NYS Learning Standards. In lieu of high-stakes exams, Consortium schools require a series of assessments in academic subject areas that demand concentrated effort over time and prepare students for the rigor of college work. Graduation performance-based tasks (PBATs) require students to read, reason, and revise, before presenting and defending their thinking, research, and writing to a panel of teachers, administrators, students, and members of the wider community. Research, production of authentic high-quality products, and dialogue with professionals in related fields make clear to students the connection between academic and professional experience.

BCS uses performance based assessment because the kind of learning such assessment promotes is better preparation for college and the world of work. Research has shown that Consortium students graduate at higher rates than the general population of NYC public schools and have greater success than the national average in college, both in their GPAs and in the rate at which they return to college for a second year (Phi Delta Kappan, January 2007).

Important Facts Relevant to College Admissions Offices
Diverse by Design—Our students include a full complement of New York City learners, including very high-achieving and those with special needs.
No Tracking—Classes are heterogeneously grouped.
Non-Traditional Honors and Acceleration—We have chosen not to offer AP courses and instead offer classes on college campuses and individually tailored honors options.
Students are Not Ranked—GPAs are not weighted.
Opportunities for Academic Achievement and Differentiated Instruction

In conjunction with the College Now program, 10% of BCS students have taken competitive college-level classes at City University of New York campuses.
Embedded Honors Options in all classes (recorded on transcript beginning in 2008) allow students to demonstrate exemplary mastery of course work. Many students also pursue special areas of interest through independent study by selecting additional performance-based assessment tasks.

Graduation Requirements
Our graduation requirements exceed New York City requirements. Minimum graduation requirements include: English (8 credits), Social Studies (8 credits), Science (6 credits), Mathematics (6 credits),
Foreign Language (2 credits); Arts (1 credit); Music (1 credit); Health (1 credit); PE (4 credits);
Junior Internship (1.5 credits); Crew/Advisory (8 credits). BCS is on a semester grading calendar.

Course Offerings
Because the Class of 2009 is our first graduating class, course offerings have expanded as the school has grown grade-by-grade. Our grading system is rigorous, and we endeavor to support all students to a level of mastery in their work. Some of our new courses include calculus, digital music, Russian, American Sign Language, science podcasting, and graphic novels.

Democratic Participation in School Creation and Development
The Class of 2009 is our first graduating 12th grade cohort. Of our 71 seniors, 61 original students
collaborated with the faculty to design and create our upper school, grade-by-grade as BCS expanded from a middle school to one that included grades 6-12. These students have mentored their younger peers, served on school governance and hiring committees, and shared the responsibility for piloting projects, recruiting new students, developing a strong Student Government, and establishing the culture that defines our school today.

Experience in the World of Work
All BCS graduates take part in the semester-long Internship Program where they work under the direction of mentors in business, non-profit and government organizations. The Internship Seminar requires students to reflect on their specific experiences and challenges as well as the nature of work. As a direct result, nearly 50% of our students parlayed their school-year internship experience into summer and school-year jobs.

BCS partners with Expeditionary Learning Schools, the NY Performance Standards Consortium, Teachers College, the Spain/US Chamber of Commerce, NY 1 News, Brooklyn College, the Brooklyn Public Library, Long Island College Hospital, the New York City Comptroller’s Office, NYC Outward Bound, Facing History, and various local businesses and CBOs.

Members of the Class of 2009 have also been selected for competitive programs including the Opportunity Network, Posse, Upward Bound (1199), and The Cutsogeorge, Tooman and Allan Architecture Fellowship.

Experienced Urban Educators
Principal Alyce Barr is the founding principal of BCS, which opened as a middle school in 2001 and began its expansion to a full secondary school in 2005. She has served as a mentor principal and was awarded a Cahn Fellowship for her outstanding work as a school leader in 2007-08. The principal, directors, and teachers engage in rigorous professional development, observing and adapting best practices from schools all over the US and beyond. BCS regularly hosts visiting educators who want to see Expeditionary Learning in action.

Over 90% of our faculty have masters degrees. Alma Maters include:
Bank Street College
Bard College
Barnard College
Brown University
Columbia University
Hampshire College
Harvard University
New York University
Northwestern University
Oberlin College
Princeton University
Sarah Lawrence College
University of California, Berkeley
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
University of N. Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of Pennsylvania
University of Virginia
University of Wisconsin, Madison

“To collaborate well, you have to be a strong individual who can gather, analyze, use, and present information, form and defend opinions, be responsible for your work, meet deadlines, and listen actively. At BCS, our teaching of group process is coupled with targeted skill development and immersion in activities that model professional tasks in all subjects. We ask students to ground themselves in the present, and to imagine themselves into the future.”
Alyce Barr, Principal

“Brooklyn School Children Learn What Happens When Cells Go Wild” Brooklyn Eagle, Dec. 21, 2007
“Raymel Romero (BCS ’09), whose project covered the areas of cytokinesis and mitosis, said the purpose of the exhibition was ‘to show what we’ve learned and pass on our knowledge. It’s cool that way.’ As the younger students clustered around Raymel’s table, he instructed them to look through the microscopes."