Brooklyn Generation School Announces Largest Graduating Class and is Featured by Chalkbeat.org in Three Part Series
Last week Brooklyn Generation School (BGS) celebrated the graduation of 53 seniors - the largest graduating class to date. The commencement ceremony featured speeches by the Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and three students
chosen by the staff.
Each one told their story - overcoming incredible barriers to successfully graduate high school and matriculate to college. Each story was more inspiring than the one before. Reflecting the hard work of the administration, teachers, students and families, the four year graduation rate climbed by more than 13% - with additional students who need just a little more time still on track to graduate in August.
BGS, the pilot school of Generation Schools Network (GSN), was featured by Chalkbeat.org in a series about the NYC Department of Education's Renewal Schools program. The story line included three articles, embedded video and was cross-promoted on NY1's "Inside City Hall."
Chalkbeat's Patrick Wall told the stories of two 10th grade students, their aspirations and the struggles they face as they work to graduate high school and gain admission into an Ivy League school. Their hopes and challenges are paralleled by those of the school as a whole, as the administration, faculty and staff work to prepare each student for life's responsibilities, and to overcome the academic, social, emotional and personal challenges they face.
The full story and the latest data demonstrate both the in-depth challenges of a school that serves students with multiple stressors and academic deficiencies and yet is experiencing growing success due to the commitment of the staff to see each student receive the supports they need to succeed.
BGS 2013 - 14
2014 - 15
|NYC DOE Citywide Average 2013 - 14
||The attendance rate improved more than 7%.The monthly attendance rate has ranged from 88.5% up to 95.8%.
|Graduation 4 year rate
||The graduation rate improved more than 13%.This does not yet include the students who will graduate in August, who are included in the 4-year graduation rate.
|Graduation 6 year rate
||BGS's six-year graduation rate was already matching the citywide average.
In the Fall of 2014, Brooklyn Generation School was named a "Renewal School" based on meeting only one "Renewal School" criteria: four-year graduation rate. This is despite the fact that the six-year graduation rate at the school mirrors the City's and that last year the school far out performed what the DOE projected. The DOE uses a student's 8th grade test scores to predict graduation from high school, calculating weighted averages based on how many students actually graduate.
A weighted average of 100% means that the school did as expected. A weighted average above 100% means that a school did better than expected. Brooklyn Generation's weighted four-year graduation rate was 139.6%. Brooklyn Generation's weighted 6-year graduation rate was 224.7%. In effect, BGS is more than doubling what might be expected of the incoming students if they were to attend conventional schools and remains committed to students, helping them to graduate in six years if they are unable to do so in four.
The articles explore the question of whether the Renewal School program and related investment can further support a school like Brooklyn Generation that is committed to serving a wide range of student needs to boost the four year graduation rate. An important question when more than 75% of BGS students enter high school academically behind or significantly behind. In addition, the school serves a disproportionate percent of students who enter high school late, or students who are new to the U.S. Most face significant economic, social or emotional challenges in their families and the community. The majority qualify for free or reduced lunch, are English language learners, are students with disabilities or are over age and under-credit.
We encourage you to take time to dig into the articles, as GSN and BGS have received thanks from friends, partners and funders. One colleague wrote, "Generation Schools and Brooklyn Generation demonstrated leadership and courage to allow this level of access," and that the articles "cut through general talking points and simple political divisiveness." Another wrote, "narratives like this are really important to the dialogue" and understanding policy. A program officer at a foundation who has long supported our work simply called them "powerful."
Over the next few months, we'll continue to share updates about the work at Brooklyn Generation School and Generation Schools Network where we seek to continue to flip the script; enrolling a student body where roughly 75% of the students are entering behind or significantly behind-with a high projected drop-out rate-- and seeing roughly 75% graduate from high school within six years and go on to college.
Click here to read the full three-part series and watch videos featuring the students.