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District 13

District 13 encompasses the upscale townhouses of Brooklyn Heights, new high-rises along Flatbush Avenue Extension, sprawling public housing complexes and homeless shelters on the north side of Fort Greene Park, and the rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Bedford Stuyvesant.

The district's elementary and middle schools have historically been considered poor stepchildren to nearby District 15 but new leadership at several neighborhood schools and the opening of well-regarded charter and unzoned schools is helping to change that picture.

Many zoned elementary schools have suffered declining enrollment as they face competition from unzoned schools and charters. Other zoned schools, including PS 9 in Prospect Heights, PS 8 in Brooklyn Heights and PS 11 in Clinton Hill, have flourished and grown under strong leadership and active parents. The gifted and talented program at PS 282 in Park Slope has long attracted students from throughout the district and beyond. PS 20 is making a comeback, with the addition of a French dual language program.

A popular unzoned choice is Arts & Letters, which began as a middle school and expanded downward to become a k–8. It admits students via lottery and shares the PS 20 building. PS 133, in a new building on 4th Avenue, is also unzoned and accepts students from both District 13 and 15, giving priority to low-income students and those who are learning to speak English.

Parents seeking a progressive environment look to Community Roots Charter School (although there are far more applicants than seats) and Compass, which opened in 2014. Prospect Charter School, a middle and high school in District 15 with an IB curriculum, has opened an elementary school in District 13 in downtown Brooklyn, and, as of 2016, a middle school in Clinton Hill. Families seeking back-to-basics schools choose Achievement First Endeavor in a new building in Clinton Hill. Falling somewhere between progressive and traditional is Community Partnership Charter, with grades pre-k–8. The International Charter School of New York opened in downtown Brooklyn in 2015. 

The district is still lacking strong middle schools, especially for academically advanced students. Schools to watch include Fort Greene Preparatory, PS/MS 8, and Arts & Letters middle school, although most of students from both schools come from their elementary schools. MS 313, a small, struggling middle school, was redesigned and expanded and moved in 2016 to a brand new building on Dock Street in DUMBO. Unity Prep is a middle school charter option.

Home to Brooklyn Tech, one of the city's premiere high schools—and its largest—District 13 offers several smaller high schools which attract primarily high-achieving African American students, including Bedford Academy and Benjamin Banneker Academy.

Children from schools across the city visit the district's many cultural institutions including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Long Island University, Theatre for New Audience, Mocada African art museum and BRIC.

District contacts

The superintendent appoints principals, evaluates schools and approves budgets:

Elementary and middle school superintendent: Barbara Freeman, (718) 636-3284

High school superintendent: Karen Watts, (718) 455-4635

For individual parent concerns, contact:

Elementary and middle school family support coordinator: Lorrie Ayers, (718) 636-3284

High school family support coordinator: Corrine Mattis, (718) 455-4635

For help with PTAs or district-wide events, contact:

Elementary and middle school family leadership coordinator: Precious Jones-Walker, (718) 636-3284

High school family leadership coordinator: Gregory Hagin, (718) 455-4635

The elected members of the Community Education Council (CEC) approve school zoning lines and advise on education policy:

CEC: Community Education Counci 13, (718) 636-3212
District 13 office
355 Park Place, Room 116
Brooklyn, NY 11238 - Map
Special Education

Most questions about special education can be answered by your child's teacher or principal. If you are new to New York City or your child attends private or parochial school, contact the nearest Committee on Special Education for an evaluation.

Committee on Special Education
Deborah Cuffey-Jackson
131 Livingston St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201 - Map

Phone: (718) 935-4900

To enroll your child, go to the school or the nearest Family Welcome Center.

Family Welcome Center
131 Livingston St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201 - Map

Phone: (718) 935-3500

Special Education Enrollment
29 Fort Greene Place
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Phone: (718) 935-4197 / (718) 693-9346

If these offices can not answer your questions, see DOE contacts

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