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Proposed Charter School Hopes to Ready Students for Jobs in the Tech Sector

By Janet Upadhye | November 8, 2013 9:53am
 A view of Downtown Brooklyn from a roof top in Carroll Gardens by Jay Woodworth.  
A view of Downtown Brooklyn from a roof top in Carroll Gardens by Jay Woodworth.  
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Flickr/Jay Woodworth

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Founders of a proposed public charter school — Brooklyn Lab School — are focused on preparing students for the next generation by forging an alliance between Brooklyn's tech community and the school's students and teachers.

"Our sixth-graders will graduate from college and pursue jobs in sectors that don't even exist yet and that we can hardly imagine," said co-founder Eric Tucker. "We want to teach them to make things, tinker, think, code and come to understand what they are passionate about."

Brooklyn Lab School, if approved by the State Education Department, will open in the fall of 2014, accepting 132 new sixth-graders. Each year they will add a new grade until they reach their full capacity of 900 students in grades 6 through 12.

Founders Tucker and Erin Mote are hoping to secure permanent space in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle — Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard — and have guaranteed that they will not be co-located with an existing public school.

"Our goal is to add new seats to District 13," Tucker said. "We want to be part of the solution and not contribute to overcrowding."

Brooklyn Lab School was born out of a group of nearly 15 educators and community members — including a priest in Downtown Brooklyn, a teacher at the American School of Bombay, and the chief of staff at MIT Media Lab — who care about entrepreneurial and digital learning.

"Our school will be reflective of the neighborhoods we serve," Mote said. "We are inspired by the fact that Downtown Brooklyn will have over 22,000 tech jobs by 2015. We want our students to be full participants in that growth."

The proposed charter will give a full presentaion before Community Board 2's Youth, Education and Cultural Affairs Committee on Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. in room 704 of Long Island University.