In 1990, students in Bushwick had a 22% chance of graduating from Bushwick High School. Many schools in the area were unsafe, one even lacked basic facilities like functioning bathrooms, and nearly all were resistant to change. Schools like these could be found across eastern Brooklyn. Parents and students had spent several years organizing to reform Bushwick schools but change was too incremental and slow. After a long campaign to hold the then Board of Education accountable and the tragic murder of two students at Thomas Jeffereson High School, Chancellor Joseph Fernandez asked EBC leaders to help open one of the first small schools in New York City. EBC High School opened in 1992. EBC HS now serves approximately 600 students and became so successful that it helped form the model for the 350 small schools that have been opened in the past 15 years. One of those schools, Bushwick Leaders HS, was also founded by EBC leaders.
EBC High School Bushwick Leaders HS
In 2008, two new schools, Frederick Douglas Academy VII and Teachers Preparatory School, both in Brownsville, decided to join EBC as member institutions. In all four schools, we work with parents, students, teachers and staff to help leaders think about how to take action around some of their concerns, like providing more police patrols in the mornings and afternoons and improving local bus service. In another action, students at EBC HS successfully pressured the City to raze an abandoned building next door that was being used for drug activity. Read Daily News article.
In 2012, two new small schools, grades 6-12, and a District 75 school will open in the middle of the Spring Creek Nehemiah development. EBC leaders worked with the DOE to help design the campus and will be involved in final selection of the two schools. Our sister organization, South Bronx Churches, recently helped open a modern four-school campus at Mott Haven, now serving over 2000 children with a world-class education in some of the nation's top educational facilities. The new schools campus opened its doors in September 2010 on a seven-acre site. The $250 million project is the single largest school construction plan in the history of New York City.
For the past twenty years, EBC leaders have helped to successfully push for a range of reforms within the Department of Education, including the dismantling of the ineffective and often corrupt local school boards, changes to principal tenure, the creation of 350 new small schools, and Mayoral control. These changes have given parents and students access to quality schools, sometimes for the first time.