What is the Brooklyn Urban Garden Charter School (BUGS)?

BUGS is an independent, public charter middle school (6th-8th grades) located in Brooklyn’s Community School District 15 (CSD15). BUGS opened August 2013 with its first class of sixth grade students. The school will continue to add one grade each year until the fall of 2015 when it will reach its full capacity of approximately 300 students in grades 6-8.

What is the mission of BUGS?

The mission of BUGS is to provide a hands-on, interdisciplinary education to young adolescents of all abilities and backgrounds, with a focus on real-world problem solving and the exploration of environmental sustainability. BUGS students will excel in the core academic subjects and become engaged community members who are critical thinkers prepared to achieve excellence in high school and beyond.

Why was BUGS founded?

BUGS was founded as a grassroots effort to create expanded high-quality middle school opportunities in CSD15 for all students: high achievers, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities alike.

Where is BUGS located?

500 19th Street, between 10th Ave. and Prospect Park West.

Who founded BUGS?

BUGS was founded by a group of local parents, educators, and community volunteers, and is independent of any Charter Management Organization.  Strong community-based organizational, parental, and volunteer support has been the backbone of the creation of BUGS.

What is a charter school?

Charter schools are free public schools and do not charge any tuition. Charter schools in New York have a performance contract or “charter” with the state that is evaluated for renewal every five years. In exchange for an increased level of independence, charter schools are held to high levels of accountability for students’ academic performance. Charter schools have more flexibility in curriculum design, school schedule, and teacher development and retention than regular public schools. Like all public schools, charter schools must meet state standards, as well as state and federal laws regarding health, safety, civil rights and student assessment. Charter schools are open to all students and cannot discriminate against or limit the admission of any student due to race, national origin, gender, disability, religion, or intellectual ability or achievement.

How can my child apply?

By law, student applicants are offered admission through a random lottery. Admission is open to all NYC students with preference to students who live in CSD15. Students register for our lottery simply by completing a free application available on our website, and in hard copy. See the Applying to BUGS tab on our website for further application instructions.  After the lottery, students are admitted or added to the waitlist on a first-come, first-served basis.   

How long is the school day?

BUGS has designed a balanced and innovative school schedule that will maximize student learning time while also supporting student and teacher needs. The school day runs from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. all days but Wednesdays, when students leave at 2:45 p.m.   

My child has an IEP or 504 plan. Can you accommodate his or her needs?

Yes. We accommodate all children and their individual learning needs. We work with the Committee on Special Education to accommodate our students and their individual learning needs. We have partnered with the Cooke Center for Learning and Development (the largest private special education provider in New York City) to create a cutting edge, integrated program for students with disabilities. Hands-on learning will offer students with specific learning needs and styles the opportunity to learn in a way that suits them best.

Does your school provide services for English Language Learners?

Yes. Services are available to help English Language Learners achieve fluency and academic success. Our hands-on projects foster language acquisition through collaboration and communication with English-speaking peers.

Do you provide breakfast and lunch?

Yes. Students at our school are eligible for the same food services provided for all New York City public school students.  We are currently exploring healthy food options aligned with our sustainability commitment.

What kind of transportation does BUGS offer? 

There is no school bus service to BUGS, however, BUGS provides Metrocards (assigned by the "Office of Pupil Transportation" OPT) to those students who live more than half mile away.  Per OTP’s policies, transportation assistance is provided to BUGS students according to the following guidelines:

  • ·         1/2 a mile to less than 1 mile:  Eligible for Half-Fare MetroCard, which can only be used on buses (not the subway)
  • ·         1 mile or more: Eligible for Full-Fare MetroCard for all buses and trains
  • IEPs: If a student has an IEP that requires busing, we will work with you and OPT to provide special transportation as needed.  

When can I apply?

We will be accepting applications beginning in early winter 2015.  Our lottery will be held in April 2016.  Please see www.BUGSbrooklyn.org for specific details.

Will my application affect my chances at Department of Education (DOE) schools?

No.  Applications to charter schools are separate from the DOE application process.

Will you be having tours?

Yes!  Our tours will begin in November 2015.  Please see our website for details.

Are there arts, language and sports programs?

BUGS believes that adolescents flourish in an environment that exposes them to multiple languages, art forms and physical activities.  To that end each student will take regular arts and physical education classes and have the opportunity to select new arts and sports based “electives” each trimester.

Who are BUGS’s educational and community partners?

We have partnered with several organizations to enrich our study of environmental sustainability.   The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education is our curriculum partner.  Together with the Cloud Institute we have developed a three-year scope and sequence that connects rigorous content area activities to the Education for Sustainability Standards.  We work with groups such as the Green-wood Historical Fund and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy to create opportunities for our students to engage in hands-on, interdisciplinary, place-based exploration of the local environment.