Brooklyn Independent Program 

Learning should never be stagnant. At Brooklyn Independent, we are committed to creating learning opportunities with a focus on: project based learning, working collaboratively in group settings, in-depth unit study, and curricula that prioritizes and builds student voice to build the next generation of DOERS.

Learn
Boldly

Grow

Fiercely

Impact
Others

  • Literacy instruction with a focus on Socratic Seminars

  • Exploratory Math culminating in Algebra by 8th grade

  • Science Lab focusing on independent research and inquiry

  • History instruction focusing on: collaborative research study and field study

  • Latin course offering  

  • Permanent “Makerspace” technology lab sponsored by Pixel Academy

  • Rotating expressive electives including: Debate, Theater, Dance, and Visual Art

  • Weekly tennis class and sportsmanship course at Court 16

  • 7th/8th grade internship opportunities 

  • Leader in Me Character curriculum

  • Advisory "House" Meetings

  • 1:1 Mentorship Program

  • ​Yearly Capstone community engagement project

  • Social entrepreneurship opportunities

  • ​Daily school-wide community meetings

  • Community service

  • Student-led advocacy and interest-based groups 

Program Overview

English Language Arts


Our culturally responsive curriculum ensures class novels and texts focus on authors from varying racial identities, gender, sexual orientation, ability, among others. Students are exposed to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction works including memoir, fiction, poetry, short stories, and historical fiction. Units also include non-traditional literary works such as: short films, podcasts, storytelling, and interviews. Different pedagogical styles are used in each unit including book club, scene and monologue study, performance, and debate. Each unit culminates in a Socratic Seminar addressing a larger theme or essential question explored in the class novel. The Socratic Seminar assesses a student’s organization and preparation skills, literary analysis supported by textual evidence, public speaking skills (voice, eye contact, body language), listening skills (using Habits of Discussion sentence starters, restating opposing view) and reflection. Each unit also incorporates a research project in which students use various sources (both print and electronic) to analyze and reflect on the essential question of the related unit. Our Writing curriculum is supported and emphasized across all core academic classes. Students are encouraged to use poetry, storytelling, or playwriting to demonstrate mastery of concepts beyond the English Language Arts classroom. Our 6th-8th grade program appropriately scaffolds writing skills to ensure by the 8th grade, students can write for various purposes, support with the most compelling evidence, and write clearly and coherently using their own author’s voice. Expository writing includes developing organization skills, summary writing, responses to literature related to character and theme development, and supporting a claim using textual evidence and analysis. Creative writing focuses on plot sequencing and organization, character development, and diction and syntax. Informative/explanatory writing is explored in the research unit. All writing emphasizes the revision cycle and includes partner-revision and teacher conferencing. The grammar and spelling curriculum are integrated as part of the writing curriculum and include parts of speech, complete sentences, punctuation, basic spelling rules, and identifying frequently misspelled words. The vocabulary curriculum is used across all core academic classes and include greek and latin roots, context, connotative meaning, and distinguishing figurative and literal meanings.




History


Our History Department focuses on connecting history to current events. Students build the following Historian skills which are scaffolded throughout their three years of study: analyzing primary and secondary sources, writing persuasively using textual evidence, online and offline research, examining multiple perspectives, and drawing connections across historical units. Different pedagogical styles are used in each unit including simulations, debate, and project based learning to encourage students to make judgments, express opinions, and see themselves as active members of history. Each Historical unit culminates in Socratic Seminar connected to an essential question related to historical causation, change and continuity over time, and comparison. In addition to our primary units, students are exposed to historical narratives reflective of each child’s background. Alongside developing Historical analytical skills, our curriculum works to build each learner’s empathy and understanding of disempowered groups and peoples throughout history and prioritizes discourse and discussion to achieve this mission.




Math


The Math Department prioritizes students building both conceptual and procedural understanding of Math concepts. Students develop a deep understanding of content by balancing operations and procedures with inquiry-based investigative opportunities. The Math curriculum promotes critical thinking, problem solving, and application of learned concepts to real-world situations. The different pedagogical approaches include: individual exploration, group work, and real-world simulations. The Math team works in partnership with the Finance Requires Effective Education (FREE) organization which creates opportunities for students apply Math to the real world. FREE focuses on teaching students financial literacy from an early age by exposing students to money-making and career planning, financing, credit, savings, taxes, budgeting, and financing a major purchase.




Science


The Science Department prioritizes development of curiosity, inquiry skills, making real-world connections, and understanding impact. The different pedagogical approaches include lab, exploration, and case studies. Students present independent research projects at the yearly Science Fair. The three major Science units spanning 6th-8th grade include: Physical Science, Life Science, and Earth and Space Science. Through our collaboration with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, students have multiple opportunities for real-world connections such as creating green infrastructure design proposals using the STEM Gowanus Curriculum.




Maker Block/Technology


Our Maker Learning block is a course to develop technology education. In partnership with Pixel Academy, students will have access to 3D printers and a laser cutter as engineering tools for their group and individual projects. Students are guided and supported in the engineering, modeling, and development of each project. Each student will be equipped with a school laptop and use Google Classroom for classwork assignments and projects. Throughout their three years in Maker Learning block, students will learn the following technology skills: typing, online research, e-mail competency, Office Suite competency (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), basic Adobe Suite competency, animation, and a coding language.




Social Emotional Education


We begin and end each day with Community Meetings which are an opportunity for our community to gather and address school and societal issues, build community and school pride, build student voice and leadership, and emphasize democratic principles. Further, during our Advisory Meetings and 1:1 Mentoring Program, students are developed using the Leader in Me character curriculum which addresses: mental health, organization and time management, career and high school exploration, goal setting, and bullying prevention. Social Emotional Education is embedded throughout all our core classes and prioritizes: mindful intention, interconnection, change, perception, transformation, empathy, and compassion.




Physical Education


Students receive physical education instruction every other day. Instruction focuses on basic motor and manipulative skills through games, sports, and conditioning. Once a week, students will receive a tennis workshop at Court 16 which includes courses on sportsmanship, healthy choices, and safety. Students will also have after-school sports opportunities.




Language Program


Student will receive three years of Latin instruction which includes: Year 1 Introduction to Latin, Year 2 Fundamentals of Latin, and Year 3 Foundations in Latin.




Electives


Our elective offerings include providing students with the opportunity to take Visual Art, Dance, Theater, and Debate all three years. Students will rotate electives to ensure exposure to all. Visual Art, Dance and Theater courses focus on students’ ability to create, perform/present/produce, respond and connect. Electives provide students with the opportunity to make cross-curricular connections to further cement academic content and develop their passions.




Social Impact Project


Students are required to complete a Social Impact Project every year. Students apply skills learned throughout the year into an actionable project that benefits their community, state, and/or world. By a student’s 8th grade year, students must present a business plan proposal to a panel of community leaders and members to get approval for a small budget to execute their Social Impact Project. When preparing for each year’s Social Impact Project students build on cross curricular and social emotional skills including, but not limited to: writing, reading, math computation, scientific principles, historical context, modeling, computer use, library skills, time management, social skills, planning and organization, money management, and public speaking.





Brooklyn Independent Middle School Curriculum Guide

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38 Lafayette Avenue - 5th Floor |  646-930-1246

Brooklyn, NY - Fort Greene

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