A brand new district-wide public school is opening up in Williamsburg this fall. Brooklyn Arbor, will open its doors in September to K-2 students and slowly grow into a comprehensive K-5 elementary school by 2015. They will most likely be a Magnet School and can accept applications from anywhere in the city, but preference is given to District 14 students. The magnet status will be determined within the next month.
They have been granted an enrollment extension through March 16th, but they need to reach as broad a swath of Brooklyn quickly in order to successfully launch in September. This could be your chance to try out a new school, particularly if you aren’t happy with the choices you have in front of you.
So, what exactly is Brooklyn Arbor?
First, it is a public school. When I emailed them to ask for specifics, they sent this information to me: “Our team has worked many years in the NYC DOE and knows how to reach students so that they learn the full complement of skills necessary to compete in today’s rapidly changing world. Our curriculum will place a strong emphasis on hands-on learning, community involvement, and sustainability. We are hiring top-notch educators who will encourage students to forge connections, develop critical thinking skills, and foster strong habits and values. The school will be housed in a building of landmark-worthy beauty with a giant outside play area, and all classrooms will be fully outfitted with environmentally safe furniture. Our founder, Eva Irizarry, will be a first-rate principal who will work tirelessly to ensure all children are able to reach their potential and build a lifetime’s worth of happy memories while doing so. We will most likely be awarded magnet status, and as such, we will be able to accept applications from all over the city!”
Some of the programs they will offer include:
- The Great Outdoors Club
- English Language Classes
- Chess Team
- Track Team
- Bike NYC Club
- Roberto Clemente Tee Ball
- YMCA Wilderness Trips
- Program for Accelerated Learners
- Music Residencies
- Tutorial Program
- Multicultural Dance
- Kindergarten Exploratorium
I spoke with Eva Irizarry, the Project Leader and asked her a few questions about the school:
She said that, “the curriculum is interdisciplinary and project-based. The school will use the workshop model and we have a lot of influence from the Teacher College. The school will have a focus on environmentalism. We are working on creating an environmentally conscious setting including air quality, furniture (CARB compliant) and cleaning materials. This concern will be integrated into the students’ curriculum and will be a part of encouraging the study of nature for the students.”
When I asked her how they would incorporate nature into the curriculum when located in an urban setting she said, “The children will do a lot of out-of-area visits including wilderness trips. We hope to eventually grow the wilderness trips into overnights for the older kids.” The school is also working with the Million Trees program, and the YMCA of Greater New York.
I asked Eva about her background in education and it’s an interesting one. She was working at Art in America magazine when she collaborated with a NYC public school 2nd grade teacher. She did a mini-residency with the school and fell in love with teaching. After some reflection, she applied to be a NYC teaching fellow and got in. Ever since then she has been at a school on the Williamsburg and Buschwick border for the last 11 years. She hopes to do some innovative and visionary work at Brooklyn Arbor.
To get more information, you can email or call using the information below.
They will be located at:
Brooklyn Arbor School (School 414)
The Roberto Clemente Campus
325 South 3rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211