The Brooklyn Latin School
Located on the border of Bushwick and Williamsburg, Brooklyn Latin is unique amongst the specialized high schools. Firstly, it is the only school with an explicit focus on on the humanities. This focus manifests itself in many ways, including a required two years of formal Latin instruction. Secondly, it is the only specialized high school that offers a comprehensive International Baccalaureate program. While these programs are rare in the United States, where Advanced Placement(AP) classes have dominance, an IB diploma is internationally recognized as an elite credential and ensures a thorough education even in non-humanities classes.
- Enrollment 698
- College Matriculation 97.7%
- Graduation rate 99.4%
What is the “Latin” in Brooklyn Latin?
Brooklyn Latin is based on Boston Latin–a famous colonial period school located in Boston that continues to rank among the elite high schools in the United States. The Latin education at both schools aim to connect students to a rich academic tradition stretching back thousands of years. Latin is mandatory at Brooklyn Latin, as are public speeches and class discussion. Most classes use a “Socratic” instruction method, where teachers moderate discussion with students expected to find correct answers through rigorous debate.
Why does Brooklyn Latin’s rank in US News and World Report change so much year to year?
In 2013 Brooklyn Latin was ranked 1st overall in all of New York State, ahead of all other specialized high schools. Yet, in 2017, the school was too lowly ranked to even gain a number. In the last four years, did the school radically change? Was there a departure from it’s pedagogical roots? It would seem strange for a school rooted in a 1500 year academic tradition to change so much in four years that it would warrant a precipitous drop in rank.
Indeed, the change that dropped Brooklyn Latin off the map turns out to have nothing to do with Brooklyn Latin at all. Rather, it is US News and World report that changes. As of 2014, US News and World Report changed their algorithm for ranking schools, heavily favoring schools that have many students taking AP classes. With zero AP classes–the same amount as any other school in the world with an IB program–Brooklyn Latin is unable to compete in these rankings, despite IB curriculum being recognized widely as being on par with similar AP classes.