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Instructional Approach & Philosophy

At Bushwick Leaders’ High School, we provide students with a culturally responsive and sustaining education (CRSE). We define curriculum as responsive if it is relevant to the lived experiences of our students and is responsive, in real time to the social, environmental, economic and political context in which students find themselves. We define curriculum as sustaining if it acknowledges, affirms and celebrates the language, culture and varied identities of our students.

CRSE extends beyond content however and includes how students are taught. This is why we have adopted Project Based Learning (PBL) and a Flipped Classroom as our main instructional delivery methods. PBL is innately responsive and sustaining in that it provides students with opportunities to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem or challenge. PBL also allows teachers to include student voice and choice in what they learn and how they demonstrate mastery. Finally, PBL is a great way to develop core social-emotional competencies and non-cognitive skills that will allow students to be successful in college and future careers.

PBL goes hand in hand with a Flipped Classroom, which embraces how young people use technology to learn new things. In a Flipped Classroom, content is front loaded, meaning students learn content at home through video and other media that can be viewed on a smart phone or other internet enabled device before class. Class time is then used to apply content knowledge and skills using PBL activities.
This approach leverages the expertise of teachers when it is needed, ensuring that someone is always there to assist students when they are pushed and challenged the most.

Core Curriculum

Core Curriculum includes courses in English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. Students are expected to earn 8 credits in English, 6 credits in Mathematics, 6 credits in science and 8 credits in social studies in order to graduate with a Regents Diploma. We offer high school level as well as Advanced Placement courses in each of these subject areas. Additionally, students have the opportunity to take college level/college-credit bearing courses through CUNY Now.

A list of main curricula used by department is shared below. For a full list of English, mathematics, science and social studies courses offered at Bushwick Leaders High School see the Course Directory Page.

Subject Area Main Curricula
English Actively Learn
Math Agile Minds
Science Savass
Social Studies New Visions

Non-Core Curriculum

Non-core curriculum includes courses in art, languages other than English (LOTE) and physical education.
Students must earn 2 credits in Art, 2 credits in LOTE and 4 credits in physical education in order to graduate with a Regents Diploma. We offer advanced placement courses in Art and Spanish language and literature. Students also have the opportunity to graduate with an Advanced Regents Diploma (LOTE) if they earn 6 credits in LOTE and pass the LOTE exam. Students can also graduate with a Seal of Biliteracy, which demonstrates proficiency in English and another target language (e.g. Spanish) if they complete a four-part capstone project.

A list of main curricula used by subject area is shared below. For a full list of art, LOTE and physical education courses offered at Bushwick Leaders High School see the Course Directory page.

Subject Area Main Curricula
Art Teacher Created
LOTE Teacher Created
Physical Ed. Teacher Created

Advisory (CCR and SEL) Curriculum

Advisory is a cornerstone of the student experience at Bushwick Leaders’ High School and where we deliver College & Career Readiness (CCR) and Socio-Emotional Learning (SEL) curricula to every single student. Advisory can best be described as a family made up of an advisor (teacher) and advisees (students) that meet every school day from freshman year until senior year. Advisory provides the time and space for students to form long lasting, positive relationships with peers and an adult, which research has shown is important to helping students succeed in high school.

On Mondays and Fridays during every advisory class participates in a student-led dialogue circle that develops the socio-emotional competencies of every student and creates a shared experience that helps foster a safe and supportive school environment. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays instruction differs depending on grade level. 9th graders focus on team building, acclimating to high school and SEL using a curriculum provided by RethinkEd. Our 10th, 11th and 12th grades focus on CCR.

In order to increase the quality and rigor of our CCR curriculum we have partnered with OneGoal, an organization dedicated to helping students graduate high school and prepare for college and careers. OneGoal has provided our advisors with a new CCR curriculum. In order to provide teachers with adequate time to implement this new curriculum, Advisory is now a full 45-minute period for all students.

Advisory Day Grade Level Main Curricula
Mondays, Fridays All Grades Student-Led Dialogue Circle
Tuesday, Wednesdays, Thursday 9th Grade RethinkEd
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays 10th, 11th and 12th Grade OneGoal

Data Science CTE Program

Bushwick Leaders’ High School has developed a cutting-edge Career & Technical Education (CTE) program focused on Data Science that will ultimately enable students to access a high quality and satisfying career as well as provide students with long-term economic security. We are the first school in New York State to have such a program approved by the New York State Education Department.

Data science is a field in the technology sector that combines computer science, statistics and business to organize data, make meaning from it and guide decision making. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the number of data scientist jobs is expected to grow 22 percent over the next decade, must faster than the average growth rate for all jobs. The median salary for data scientists is $126,830 a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To learn more about a career in data science see here. This article from Harvard Business Review is also very helpful in explaining the current state of the field.

Students in the Data Science CTE Program take the following 7 credit course sequence:

Grade Course(s) Curricula
9th Grade Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles (2 credits) Code HS
10 Grade Advanced Placement Statistics (2 credits) Stats Medic
11th Grade Data Analytics (2 credits)Career & Financial Management (1 credit) Google Data Analytics
New York State CFM Curriculum

In 12th graders students will focus on applying the skills learned during the 9th through 11th grade in the real world through Work Based Learning (WBL) experiences. This includes WBL experiences offered through the NYC Public Schools FutureReady NYC program. In 2022-23 our students were able to take advantage of paid WBL experiences at Google as part of this program.

Our CTE Data Science program will officially begin in the 2023-24 school year. 8th graders applying to high school will be able to apply to our program in the fall 2023 through the NYC Public Schools My Schools application: To learn more about CTE programs see this resource.

English Language Learners Supports & Services

English Language Learners (ELLs) receive instructional language supports from English as a New Language (ENL) teachers in content area classes like English and Social Studies throughout the school day. Our curriculum is built upon a teaching model that values students’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds, providing space in the classroom for language experimentation and authentic communication opportunities among pairs and groups of learners. The diverse identities of our students are celebrated in the classroom as they acquire language skills that will support their academic and professional goals beyond high school. ELL students also receive daily “standalone” instruction in the four language competencies of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. These classes occur in a setting that is purely devoted to English as a New Language and students receive non-core curriculum credit for these classes.

Students in the ENL program are assessed yearly to monitor the progression of their language
acquisition will receive language support from ENL staff for two years after achieving the requirements for a Commanding Level of English language use. Students and families who are curious to learn more about the ENL program should contact our Assistant Principal, Carolyn Gabriel-Green.

Students with Disabilities Supports & Services

At BLHS we believe in providing our special education students with the supports and resources they need in order to demonstrate mastery in all subjects. Additionally, we believe in integrating our special education students with general education students to create an inclusive learning environment. This way all students are held to the same standards and expectations. We are an Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) school meaning that Special Education Students will be in the same classroom as General Education students Special Education students will receive instruction by one content teacher as well as a Special Education teacher in their 4 core subjects (math, ELA, science, and social studies).

Our school also provides Special education students with paraprofessionals (Health, Emotional Disturbance, Bilingual) if their IEP specifies it. Special Education students still need to pass 5 Regents exams by the end of their high school career (ELA, Algebra 1, Global studies, US History and Living Environment) in order to receive a Regents diploma. There is a Safety net option for sped students who do not meet the 65 Regents minimum where they can score from a 55-64 on the Regents and still graduate, but with a local diploma. Special Education Teachers will also be contacting all the freshman parents during the first weeks of school in order to hold a Reconvene Meeting so that all the freshman IEPs match the services that our high school provides.

The Special Education Team will also be completing the Annual Reviews of Special Education students each year by collecting Vocational Assessments from their parents, the students themselves as well as their teachers in order to write the most accurate IEP. Tri- annual meetings (happen every 3 years) will be held by the school psychologist (Ms. Murray) where she will be conducting a battery of tests in order to better assess the Special Education student.

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