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What makes Brooklyn Prospect different from other public schools?
Brooklyn Prospect Charter School (BPCS) recognizes that testing is a part of the educational landscape, but refuses to see standardized testing as the horizon line. Instead, we seek to redefine what educating youth in the 21st century truly means.
With a global economy entering “the conceptual age” and technology accelerating the rate that information is proliferated and absorbed, students will require a different set of skills for success in 2020 and beyond. Tomorrow's citizens will face global challenges, some of which we cannot possibly predict, using technology not yet invented.
How will Brooklyn Prospect prepare students who will graduate from college in 2020?
Brooklyn Prospect Charter School is committed to the development of the skills and habits of mind that will serve our students well in the near and distant future. BPCS supports faculty in inspiring creative inquiry and problem solving, innovative critical thinking, personal reflection and collaborative learning beyond the basic standards required by the New York State Board of Regents. BPCS is furthermore committed to helping students express themselves in a variety of rhetorical contexts to a wide array of audiences. The ability to communicate effectively is perhaps the most crucial aspect of today’s students’ education, and BPCS will challenge students to bring their academic investigations into the light of the world by emphasizing project-based learning and community activism as suggested by the International Baccalaureate program. After much consideration, BPCS leaders have chosen as a curricular guide the IB Middle Years Program and upper-level Diploma Program because these programs most accurately reflect the global focus that BPCS seeks in its curriculum design. These programs will further raise the level of academic responsibility for our students and will serve as an important indicator of our students’ preparedness for success in college and the global workplace.
International Baccalaureate is well known for admissions success at the most competitive Colleges and Universities. Please see this 2002 student survey of admittance rates for IB versus non-IB students at elite colleges. (Source: Super Test: How the IB Can Strengthen Our Schools by Jay Mathews and Ian Hill)
The leaders of BPCS understand that when students’ intellectual activity transcends the boundaries of the classroom and extends into the culture of their daily lives, students are given a greater opportunity to shape who they will become in the future. Student growth, however, depends on more than a rigorous academic devotion, and BPCS is committed to caring for and supporting all aspects of students’ development, including less tangible considerations such as self-esteem and multicultural awareness. Many of BPCS's planned extra-curricular activities, including collaborative partnerships with community arts and dance organizations, as well as athletic opportunities, have been implemented to support these aspects of student growth.
Why will Brooklyn Prospect succeed where other schools have not?
The truth is that there are indeed many successful public schools that educate their students in the manner that Brooklyn Prospect does. In fact, the International Baccalaureate program is rapidly being adopted in public schools across the country. Schools that have achieved the most success reveal what the leaders of BPCS have long understood: that a group of high-quality educators given the opportunity to work as a team can overcome a great many obstacles. Multiple studies have shown that masterful teaching repeated year after year in a student’s development, trumps the disadvantages of socio-economic status, and bridges racial achievement gaps.
Graced with this understanding, the BP leaders are committed to the recruitment, hiring and training of high quality educators who have demonstrated their professional expertise and a desire to be part of a collaborative professional team. Teaching in the public school system can, unfortunately, thwart ambitious professionals, and high performing individuals crave exciting, innovative environments that reflect their personal values. Building a new model for learning is a teacher's ultimate professional development opportunity, and we have already experienced tremendous interest from highly skilled educators.
Brooklyn Prospect has manifested its commitment to teacher collaboration by building the school schedule around this feature of teachers’ professional lives, and BPCS will reduce the master teachers’ bureaucratic responsibilities in exchange for efforts in mentoring apprentice faculty members. Our teacher training activities will be modeled after the best practices from around the world, including reflective approaches that require teachers to look deeply into their practices and strive to incrementally improve student learning over months and years.
While Brooklyn Prospect's budget for faculty salaries is similar to those in New York City Public Schools, we have seen that our commitment to school community is our most powerful recruiting tool. We are committed to assembling a professional culture that values collaboration with peers and leadership in innovative pedagogy, creating a diverse environment that reflects the demographics of the surrounding community, and erecting a school culture that encourages intellectual risk-taking and supports learners of all levels of ability.
Brooklyn Prospect’s innovative design is a bold challenge to the status quo, and we believe that Brooklyn Prospect has the potential to have tremendous system-wide impact, with the school already gaining significant attention from local and national media outlets pointing to this project as a potential model for the next generation of public schools, the public schools our children deserve.
View Video ("Transforming Learning and Assessment for the 21st Century" - from ASCD.org)