By W. A. Muller
When looking for the perfect school for any child, it is important to look at those where all students can feel secure; recognize their potential; be respected regardless of race, religion or culture; and are encouraged to aim high and achieve. The Brooklyn Charter School (BCS) has been unreservedly committed to these principles since opening its doors to the Bedford-Stuyvesant community of Brooklyn in 2000.
You need only look at BCS’s successful record of transforming lives and outcomes for its students to understand what a truly remarkable school it is.
Students of BCS are surrounded by talented and highly-qualified educators who are committed to excellence and the success of each and every child. Its strong and stable leadership forms the backbone of the school; its current Head of School, Omigbade Escayg, was the founding principal, and the Chairman and Vice-Chair have served for 10 and 12 years respectively.
Mr Escayg says the close-knit leadership team and teaching faculty have upheld the goal that all students aim for success from elementary to middle school, to college and beyond.
“We’ve anchored core values that enrich the whole child in a nurturing culture that truly feels like family.”
As a pioneer of the charter world, BCS is the first charter school of the New York Department of Education and one of the highest-performing charters in the New York State. When the number of charter schools in the city reached 100, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein celebrated the momentous occasion with a press conference at BCS, as a model of peace and cooperation between regular public schools and the charter system.
BCS is also the only charter with its own business to help support its operations. All profits from its non-profit organization, the Wedding Garden – which specializes in the resale of high-end weddings gowns and accessories – are donated to the school.
There is a rigorous core curriculum in ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies, but BCS also understands that a child’s development is about more than just test scores. Project-based learning, inquiry, exploration of the natural world and technologies, and involvement in the arts like music and dance are all incorporated in the program. Several unique programs and after-school initiatives are also offered. BCS’s all-rounded approach to education provides children with fertile growth opportunities – so their active bodies and inquisitive minds can be enriched. BCS heavily incorporates outdoor education so students can learn they are connected to the greater world and their acts will help to sustain the future.
As a Title 1 school, where 71% of families are below the poverty index, literacy is low in such an underserved community. BCS aims to improve this with a literacy initiative that mirrors techniques in Finland, where there are some of the highest performing schools in the world.
Two teachers are assigned to each of BCS classrooms, grades K – 5, with approximately 20 students in each, allowing for small group learning and individualized attention. Children develop strong relationships with their teachers, and teachers know the explicit needs of every child; families have come to know and respect this teaching culture and as a result many siblings attend BCS together.
Known as “the Jewel of Bed-Stuy”, BCS – with a strong mission, deep-rooted values and unique community spirit – is a school like no other.
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