DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Public charter school Brooklyn LAB celebrated the opening of its second middle school location Tuesday with a visit from the White House.
Students led White House officials and members of the U.S. Department of Education on a tour of the new middle school at 40 Flatbush Ave. Extension, which will now house Brooklyn LAB’s seventh- and eighth-graders.
The new location, which officially opened Monday, is located only a couple of blocks away from the original middle school at 240 Jay St., which now exclusively serves the school’s sixth grade.
The White House visit marks the three-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s ConnectED initiative and the two-year anniversary of its offshoot Future Ready Schools initiative, which both promote technology-driven learning in American classrooms.
Eighth-graders Sekou Suzuki-Allen and Adajeane Cox led the tour through Brooklyn LAB’s halls, where motivational quotes are painted on the walls, and into high-tech classrooms, which are all named after different universities.
The student tour guides showed off tools like Google Classroom, which allows for collaborative note-taking during class, as well as the school’s proprietary education software, called Cortex.
They also pointed out the school’s personalized learning model, which places multiple teachers with different experience levels in one classroom.
One classroom may have an experienced master teacher, a teaching resident who’s completed a fellowship and a new teaching fellow. Master teachers will lead the entire class while teaching residents and fellows may be in charge of breakout sessions, in which students are grouped by learning level.
“It’s cool that we can have one teacher teaching the whole class, and if one kid is falling behind, the other teacher can take them aside,” Cox said.
And the training for teachers is just as personalized as the curriculum for students. Brooklyn LAB provides coaching for teachers throughout their career, setting them up to eventually become master teachers.
“No amount of technology will replace a great teacher,” school co-founder Erin Mote said.
Brooklyn LAB opened in 2014 to sixth-graders and has since been adding a grade each year. Last year, it announced at the White House Summit for Next Generation High Schools that it would open two new high schools in Downtown Brooklyn by 2017.
Between the four schools, Brooklyn LAB will eventually serve about 1,800 students.