Brooklyn Frontiers High School Graduates First Senior Class

High school graduations are always a joyous occasion. For students at Brooklyn Frontiers High School, their graduation ceremony on June 24th will be an especially happy event as they will be the very first graduates of this unique partnership school.

A collaboration between Good Shepherd Services and the New York City Department of Education, Brooklyn Frontiers is designed to help students, who have been held back at least twice in elementary or middle school, graduate and prepare them for life after high school. This year’s graduating class includes more than 20 young men and women who are ready to take the next step and move on to college and careers.

“I really admire our senior class,” said Millie Henriquez, the Good Shepherd Services program director of Brooklyn Frontiers High School. “These are the same kids who were marginalized in middle school because they were older. To see them go from struggling in school to becoming school leaders is amazing. We are very proud of them.”

New freshmen students often come into Brooklyn Frontiers questioning their skills and capabilities because of their past hardships with school, Henriquez said. By offering a small school environment, a high student-to-staff ratio, and individualized attention, staff help students set goals and high expectations for themselves.

Brentley Washington, a 19-year-old and 2015 Brooklyn Frontiers graduate, remembers not being able to relate to a lot of her classmates in middle school. As a child, there was a lot of instability at home and her family moved a lot. By the time she had reached the fourth grade, she had already been held back twice and was two years older than her classmates.

Like all entering freshmen at Brooklyn Frontiers, Brentley was assigned a “coach,” a Good Shepherd Services staff member who regularly meets one-on-one with students to talk about what’s happening in the classroom and in their lives, their plans, and aspirations for the future.

“I had my coach to support me,” Brentley said. “You really feel like everyone cares about you. They don’t want to see you fail. They’ll push you to make sure you pass.”

In addition to making sure students do well academically, the school also offers Learning to Work, which provides career and job experience through paid internships. The school is also committed to helping students to access post-secondary education. Students in their junior and senior years meet with the college access counselor to discuss options and receive support during the application process.

Many Brooklyn Frontiers students like Brentley have taken advantage of the opportunities that the partnership school has had to offer. Thanks to the support of school staff, Brentley applied to several colleges and was accepted to the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), where she plans to study social work.

“We firmly believe that a diploma is not the end goal,” said college access counselor Kamille Acevedo Davis. “The real growth is in becoming your best self, to go after your life goals.”

Congratulations to all of Brooklyn Frontiers High School graduates. We know that your future is bright and full of opportunity!