10 Great Public Middle Schools in Brooklyn

School starts in a few days, and parents of fifth graders are already stressed.  Why?  Now they have to begin the process of finding a good middle school for their children. While the process of finding an elementary school is made simple by virtue of your street address, finding a middle school for your child can prove to be a bit more complicated. Years ago, this was even more stressful since the choice of good schools was so limited. But times are a-changing.  While many districts still have zoned middle schools, every district offers middle school options. The department of education offers a comprehensive directory of middle schools in each district. I’ve compiled a list of the top middle schools in Brooklyn based on test scores, progress reports and offerings. But as with anything, you must research each school on your list and a school visit is a must before deciding what school is right for your child.


1. Mark Twain School for the Gifted and Talented (I.S. 239) is located in District 21. Twain offers students a variety of programs coupled with personalized attention.  This sought after school is open to students all over the city, but getting in isn’t easy. Students must (in addition to doing extremely well on Math and ELA exams) pass an audition test in two talent areas.


2. Christa McAuliffe (I.S.187) is located in Dist 20. This is a highly selective school open to residents of the district.   The school offers small academies and a number of special programs including international banking and sports medicine. Admission is based on the OSLAT test and fourth grade ELA and MATH tests (DOE requires a combined score of 1371 or higher)


3.  William Alexander Middle School (M.S. 51) is a district school open only to students in district 15. This is a highly sought after school that focuses its program around arts instruction. Applicants must submit 4th grade report card, sit for an interview, submit a writing sample and have a combined 1371 or higher on both the ELA and Math tests.


4. Philippa Schuyler (JHS 383) is located in district 32. The school is open to applicants from both Brooklyn and Queens.   The school offers a number of accelerated programs and has partnerships with a number of cultural institutions.  Admission is based on the OSLAT exam, Math and ELA scores, grades, an interview and teacher recommendations.

5. Medgar Evers College Preparatory School  is located in district 17. The school is run in partnership with Medgar Evers College and runs through grade 12.  Acceptance is based on grades, ELA and Math scores and aptitude.


6.  Joseph F. Lamb School (P.S. 206) is located in district 22. Lamb is essentially a neighborhood school that gives priority to returning students, then to students in the district.  The school’s theme is math and science and engages students through project-based learning and inquiry. For their Math and Science magnet program, grades and attendance are looked at.  For their Center for the Intellectually Gifted program, a combined ELA and Math score of 1371 as well as the OLSAT test is required.


7. The Bay Academy (I.S. 98) is located in district 21. The school has a structure much like that of Mark Twain, but the school is only open to students in the district.  There are ten talent areas, and students must audition in those talent areas in order to gain admission.


8. I.S. 392 is located in district 23. The school is an academic powerhouse in a district that sorely needed it.  Admissions is based on NY State ELA and Math scores.  Students who score 3 or 4 on NY state exams can take the school’s entrance exam. Admissions preference given to district 23 kids.


9. Math and Science Exploratory School (M.S. 447) is a staple of district 15.  The school’s focus is on inquiry based learning and research. Admission limited to district students. Admission is based on a diagnostic test administered by the school, an interview, grades and test scores, and teacher recommendations.


10. Brooklyn College Academy, located in district 22 is a much sought after school because of its relationship with the college and it’s small school setting. There is only one 7th grade and one 8th grade class.  Admission is based on an interview, writing sample and an exam.


Simone Gobin

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