Morning commutes in Bay Ridge are not only filled with people on their way to work, but also with hundreds of students on their way to school at one of the neighborhoods many public and private schools.Public school students attend schools in District 20, which is one of the most sought-after school districts in Brooklyn and the city, with high achievement rates at its six elementary schools, one middle school and two high schools in Bay Ridge, as well as at neighboring schools in nearby Dyker Heights.[The special thing here] is that its a community, explained Laurie Windsor, president of District 20s Community Education Council.Schools are not isolated structures in and of themselves. Its all integrated; administrators, teachers, parents are all very involved, not just with the school but with the community, Windsor explained. Its like a little town in a big city. Bay Ridge in general is like that because everybody knows each other and helps out. The school is in the community and the community is in the school.Options for a childs early years include P.S. 102P.S./I.S. 104P.S. 170P.S. 185 and P.S. 264, as well as the K-8 school at P.S./I.S. 30The two area high schools have a long history of providing a quality education. Fort Hamilton High School always had a decent reputation both in sports and scholarship, said Ted General, an executive board member of the alumni association. And Bay Ridge High School, which was originally an all-girls school, was later converted into the High School of Telecommunication Arts and TechnologyPrivate schoolsboth religious and non-religiousalso abound, with Fontbonne Hall Academy and Xaverian High School among the many prominent schools in the area that are part of the Diocese of Brooklyn.Many students who attend these high schools graduated from the likes of Visitation AcademySaint Patricks Catholic AcademySaint Anselms Catholic AcademyHoly Angels Catholic Academy and Genesis at Xaverian.Non-Catholic private school options include Adelphi AcademyBay Ridge Preparatory, Poly Prep Country Day SchoolLutheran Elementary School and Dimitrios & Georgia Kaloidis Parochial School.Academics are strong in both the public and private schools. The great thing is that young people tend to stay and not move on to other places, said Andrea DEmic, principal at St. Pats, which serves students from nursery school through eighth grade. We have many students in our school whose grandparents and even great-grandparents went to school here. Community ties with the nearby Fort Hamilton Army Base and students from all over the country and world are also a boon, noted DEmic and Ridge mom Stefania Vasquenz. Our association with [the army base] has given our school a diversity and a welcoming atmosphere for new students, who transfer in at all times of the year, DEmic said. Lessons of cultural diversity abound both in and out of school, added Vasquenz, whose sons attend P.S. 185. It teaches them things that they may not be able to get in a book by introducing them to kids who arent the same religiously, culturally or with language. My son can hear four different languages on the walk to school or in school, Vasquenz said.With the introduction of Common Core exams this past year, Bay Ridge and District 20 students outperformed their Brooklyn and New York City peers: an average 314 points on the math exam the best in Brooklyn – compared to an average score of 296 for the rest of the city; and an average of 303 on the English Language Arts exam compared to citywide average scores of 294.Area kids also scored higher on the English Language Learners exam, and students with disabilities achieved higher grades than their city peers.
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