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Bushwick Leaders' High School for Academic Excellence will prepare ninth through twelfth grade students from the Bushwick Community, regardless of prior academic performance, to become active leaders with an emphasis on academics, college preparation and technology. In collaboration with East Brooklyn Congregations, parents, teachers, and the community, students will develop skills to become critical thinkers and problem solvers who will reach their highest potential enabling them to compete in the global economy. The school will take advantage of its small size to develop strong interpersonal relationships based on trust and shared high expectations for students.
Bushwick Leaders’ High School first opened its doors in the fall of 2003. It was the result of collaboration between the New York City Department of Education, East Brooklyn Congregations (a community-based organization that specializes in housing, public works, and educational projects) and Catherine Reilly, our principal. We began with just over a hundred students and a bare, cinderblock building. Since then, we have grown into a successful high school in a historic Brooklyn monument that endeavors to serve the students in the Bushwick community.
Bushwick Leaders’ High School was designed to be a community school that addresses the specific needs of the students in our community. As of September, 2008, our most basic statistics are as follows:
- Our student population is 54% female and 46% male.
- 82% of our students are Hispanic. 16% are African American.
- 95% of our students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch (adjusted for missing lunch forms).
- 23% of our students receive ESL services.
- Roughly one-sixth of our students are receiving special education services.
While we are a small school, we endeavor to offer many of the same academic opportunities enjoyed by our large school counterparts. Here is a preliminary list of our some of our course offerings for the fall:
|Adv. Comp. Tech.
Advanced Visual Art
AP English Comp.
AP Spanish Lang.
AVID Electives (9-10)
Comp. Math A
Comp. Math B
ESL (Levels 1-3)
Honors American Lit.
Living Env. (Biology)
Self-Cont. Soc. Stud.
Spanish 1 Native
Spanish 3 Native
Spanish 3 Non-Nat.
Spanish 5 Non-Nat.
United States History
Our school is built upon an advisory program. Each of our students is assigned an advisory class that is specific to grade level and gender. These students meet for a half period every day with an advisor, a teacher of their same gender. (The majority of our teachers teach advisories as one of their five class assignments.) This class time is used to explore topics that are not typically seen inside the high school curriculum. Advisory is also the basic organizational structure of our school. When our school goes on trips, plans events, or engages in community service, they do so by advisory. Advisors also serve as academic and personal mentors for their students. They tend to develop deep personal relationships with their advisory students and with their families.
Unlike some small schools, Bushwick Leaders' High School does not selectively recruit and enroll the brightest and most self-motivated students from around New York City. Rather, we endeavor to serve all the students of Bushwick and its surrounding communities, regardless of their prior academic performance. We do so by providing multi-tiered academic intervention. This includes:
- Afternoon and Saturday classes for students to recover missed credit. These are taught on-site by Bushwick Leaders’ teachers who volunteer and are paid overtime.
- Regents Preparatory classes taught within the instructional day.
- After school tutorials for Regents and RCT preparation
- Deeply-coordinated ESL and Special Education instruction using push-in, pull-out, collaborative team teacher, and self-contained models.