El Puente Academy Class of 2015 graduation
In 1990, El Puente hosted a Brooklyn youth conference as part of the United Nation’s Decade of the Child World Summit. During that profound and historical meeting a young El Puente member stated, “There are special schools for arts, science, and technology—why isn’t there a school that teaches about peace?” and just like that, the seed was planted for what was to become the Academy for Peace and Justice. El Puente fulfilled its promise to realize this young man’s dream when, in 1992, as part of an initiative to improve public education in New York City, the Department of Education and New Visions for Public Schools invited El Puente to submit its proposal for a new school. The initiative would provide support to individuals, groups and communities to create schools of their own. El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice was one of the first New Visions Schools established in 1993. Drawing on the mission and founding principles of El Puente and a founding staff led by Frances Lucerna and leading facilitators of El Puente, the El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice opened as the first public school focused on Human Rights in the U.S. The Academy was also the first public school to be created by a community- based organization.
For past two decades, El Puente Academy has continued to contribute and impact the frontier of education reform and systemic change through its innovation and leadership in culturally relevant and standards based curriculum and assessment, integrated arts for social change curricula and holistic character/leadership development. Its impact has and continues to be researched and documented. The Academy is highlighted in the Eisenhower Foundation 2008 report, “What Works: Public School Reform” and is currently part of a Stanford University Study sponsored by Linda Darling Hammond researching best practices in schools focused on social emotional development and social justice. It is also part of the NYC DOE’S Expanded Success Initiative focused on the academic success of Latino and African American male students. In 2003, the Academy joined the ranks of the New York City Department of Education’s “Schools of Excellence.” and continues to rate “A” on the Department’s official Report Card.
El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice is an educational option school and admission is open to students citywide. For information about enrollment and to visit the school, please call or visit the school: 250 Hooper Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211, (718) 387-1125, Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. — 4:00 p.m.