A low-income Brooklyn high school where 100 percent of black male students graduate
A low-income Brooklyn high school where 100 percent of black male students graduateBrooklyn College Academy has ushered many students like Bridgewater and Polite successfully through high school — 100 percent of the school’s black students graduated on time last year, and almost all of them went on to four-year colleges. In contrast, the overall graduation rate for black male students in New York City was 58 percent in 2014.
School officials say their model is replicable – but only in schools where the adults are willing to pay relentless attention and hold the students to consistently high expectations.
The secret to the school’s success is not simply which students they pick, administrators say (although they do get to choose – last year 2,800 students applied for 150 seats), but its unremitting and personalized focus on each individual. The understanding that the students come with challenges and unmet needs enabled the creation of the Sophisticated Well Articulated Gentlemen’s Group, or SWAGG.
It was founded by students themselves, searching for realistic pathways through the social land mines in their neighborhoods and for older boys like themselves to learn from and emulate. More than a third of the 60 male students in this year’s senior class were members of SWAGG this year, and school administrators credit its alumni network and leaders for helping to guide an important group of students.