frequently asked questions

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 and has continued to grow to be an innovative middle school distinguished by its rigorous sustainability curriculum, small family-like learning community, passionate faculty, and challenging and supportive academic and social environment. 

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, and its surrounding neighborhoods, for ALL students. BUGS aims to close the opportunity gap as it welcomes a range of students (high achievers, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities alike) from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds through a random lottery. Its focus on diversity, inclusion and innovative sustainability education serves as a model for all education systems.

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 and ongoing growth of BUGS.  Staff are active team members in making BUGS a learning organization that provides the best education to students.

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 and information on lottery preferences.  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 days run as follows: Monday/Wednesday 8:10 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Tuesday/Thursday/Friday 8:10 a.m. - 4:00 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. Our BUGS Director of Inclusion partners closely with families, staff, the CSE, and the NYC Charter Center's Special Education Collaborative to provide a cutting edge, integrated program for students with disabilities. Hands-on learning offers students with specific learning needs and styles the opportunity to learn in a way that suits them best.  More information can be provided by the BUGS Director of Inclusion. 

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.  More information can be provided by the ELL Coordinator.  ELLs receive a preferred "weighting" in our lottery. See the Apply Now page.

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 continually explore healthy food options aligned with our sustainability commitment, and we provide Farm to Table curriculum and family events. Currently, eighth grade students can earn the privilege of eating lunch off campus.

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?

Applications for the following academic year are usually posted in December of the prior year on our Admissions Page.  Our lottery is held in April each year.  Please see for specific details or write for more information. 

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! We conduct tours year-round.  Details will be posted on this website or contact us anytime at

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 semester. Additional sports, arts and enrichment opportunities are offered through BUGS's FREE After-School Program provided through IACRL via a SONYC grant. Contact for more information.