(Updated 10/24/17)
Here’s a brief summary of how the school system works in NYC, how the public elementary schools in our area stack up, and a list of all the different school options available to residents of DoBro (and the surrounding neighborhoods).

New York City is divided into public school districts that cover large areas of each borough.  Within these districts are zones.  Each zone contains an elementary school. Students are guaranteed a spot in their zoned school if there is space. You can apply to any of the schools in your district (or in the city for that matter), but will likely be placed on a waiting list where admission preferences will be made based on many variables. The public kindergarten and pre-K application process takes place online through Kindergarden Connect where you rank your choices. The application period this year starts in early November and runs through January.

As a family living in Downtown Brooklyn, you have choices about where to send your children (including charter, magnet, G&T, district-wide, and private schools) but the spaces are not guaranteed. We’ve listed these options below if you want to consider nearby schools other than what you are currently zoned for.

Downtown Brooklyn is split across two districts: District 13 (which covers most of Brooklyn Heights, Ft. Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Bed-Sty and parts of Park Slope) and District 15 (which extends through Cobble Hill, Boreum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Sunset Park, and Park Slope.) The dividing line for Downtown Brooklyn is Fulton St. (Fulton Mall), everything south of Fulton is District 15 and everything north is District 13. Find out your district and zoned school here.

Here is how the zoned schools stack up based on 2016-17 NY State test scores, GreatSchools ratings, and Schoolgrades ratings.
NYC 2016 test score averages: 38% READING and 36% MATH


The highest concentration of new residential development in Downtown Brooklyn is in District 13. Most of it is zoned for P.S. 287, which is located in Vinegar Hill on the other side of the BQE, next to the Navy Yard. A portion of the new DoBro developments east of Flatbush Ave are zoned for P.S. 20 in Fort Greene. A small pocket of Downtown (around Concord Village) is currently zoned for P.S. 8 in north Brooklyn Heights but that may change in the coming year.

P.S. 8 Robert Fulton (District 13 – Brooklyn Heights/Dumbo)

Schoolgrades.org: A
GreatSchools: 9/10
READING: 71% proficient
MATH:  64% proficient

P.S. 20 Clinton Hill School (District 13 – Fort Greene)

Schoolgrades.org: C
GreatSchools: 4/10
READING: 40% proficient 
MATH:  38% proficient 

P.S. 287 Bailey K. Ashford (District 13 – Fort Greene/Vinegar Hill)

Schoolgrades.org: F
GreatSchools: 2/10
READING: 13% proficient
MATH:  17% proficient 


The rest of Downtown is in District 15 and is zoned for P.S. 261 or P.S. 38 The Pacific in Boreum Hill (including the new developments in BAM cultural district). There currently is no zoned public elementary or middle school actually located in Downtown Brooklyn.

P.S. 261 Phillip Livingston (District 15 – Boerum Hill)

Schoolgrades.org: A
GreatSchools: 9/10
READING: 54% proficient 
MATH:  59% proficient 

P.S. 38 The Pacific (District 15 – Boerum Hill)

Schoolgrades.org: B
GreatSchools: 6/10
READING: 53% proficient 
MATH: 53% proficient 


Zoned schools, however, are far from being the only school option available…you can make a choice about the best school for your children. There are several public school options open to anyone living in the district including gifted and talent programs, unzoned schools, magnet schools, dual-language schools, and charter schools. You can also apply to any school in your district (or the city) that has space and there is a possibility of being accepted out of zone. There are many private schools in or near DoBro as well. Research all your options, visit the schools, and then apply to all the schools of interest. Once you’ve been accepted (hopefully to a couple of schools) then you can choose the school that is the best fit for your child.

DISTRICTWIDE ‘CHOICE’ SCHOOLSUnzoned schools open to anyone in the district to apply.

Urban Assembly of Arts and Letters (Fort Greene) SchoolGrades: C  GreatSchools: 7/10  Reading: 59%  Math: 50%
An unzoned school co-located in P.S. 20 in Ft. Greene open to all students in District 13. Recently expanded to lower grades.

P.S. 133 William A. Butler (Park Slope) SchoolGrades: D  GreatSchools: 5/10  Reading: 47%  Math: 42%  
District 13 and 15 choice school in a new building (2013-14) on 4th Ave in Park Slope/Gowanus. Offers dual language programs in Spanish and French and accepts students district-wide.

P.S. 146 The Brooklyn New School (Carroll Gardens) SchoolGrades:GreatSchools: 9/10  Reading: 46%  Math: 36%
Progressive public school in District 15 in Carroll Gardens, but open to anyone in Brooklyn, preference to District 13 and 15.  Admission is by lottery.

MAGNET SCHOOLS – These are schools that have received federal grants to develop themed curriculums and encourage diversity.  Residents from across the district can apply.

P.S. 307 Daniel Hale Williams Magnet School for STEM Studies (Vinegar Hill / Dumbo) – SchoolGrades: D  GreatSchools: 3/10  Reading: 24%  Math: 17%
A District 13 school near DUMBO. Received a magnet grant in 2013 that is bringing lots of resources to the school to build up their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program.  Already has music and performance classes, science labs, a Mandarin Chinese program.

P.S. 46 Edward Blum Magnet School for Communications and Media Arts through Applied Training (Fort Greene) – SchoolGrades: D  GreatSchools: 2/10  Reading: 26%  Math: 27%

CHARTER SCHOOLSCharter schools are public schools that are privately run. Many are co-located in other public school buildings. They are open to anyone in the district, application is by lottery.

Brooklyn Prospect Charter School  (Downtown Brooklyn) – SchoolGrades: B, GreatSchools: 8/10, Test scores N/A
Highly-regarded school opened a District 13 elementary school in 2013-14 in Downtown Brooklyn (with plans to open a middle school in D13 and another elementary school in D15).   Curriculum based on the IB standards.  Like all charter schools admission by lottery but once in, slot guaranteed through high school.

Community Roots Charter School (Fort Greene) – SchoolGrades: B  GreatSchools: 8/10  Reading: 50%  Math: 44%
A highly-regarded District 13 charter school co-located at P.S. 67 in Fort Greene. New middle school co-located at PS 287 near the Navy Yard.

Success Academy Charter School  Cobble HILL (D15) – SchoolGrades: 10,  GreatSchools: A Reading: 93%  Math: 94%    Fort Greene (D13) – Scores / Grades: N/A  (This school has been open for 2 years so no test scores yet.)
Success opened a new charter school in Fort Greene in District 13 in 2013-14. They also have one in Cobble Hill in District 15, but is open to any NYC resident to apply to.

Compass Charter School (Fort Greene) Scores / Grades: N/A  (This school has been open for 3 years so no test scores yet.)
Progressive charter school in District 13 co-located @ IS 113 (Fort Greene). Started in 2014-15, now K-3 and growing to K-5. The school is child-centered and modeled after best practices from across the country with a sustainability theme.

International Charter School (Downtown Brooklyn) – Scores / Grades: N/A
Opened in 2015 in District 13, now K – 2nd grade with a a focus on preparing children to be world citizens, a UN-model school.

GIFTED AND TALENTED – Must receive at least a 90% on the G&T test and then apply to the school – highly competitive. Here is a guide to G&T programs across the city.

District 13: Gifted and talented programs are based at P.S. 282 in Park Slope and at P.S. 9 in Prospect Heights.

District 15: Gifted and Talented programs are based at P.S. 38 in Boerum Hill and P.S. 32  in Carroll Gardens.

OTHER NEARBY SCHOOLS TO CONSIDER Out of zone students can apply and will be considered for admission if space allows.

P.S. 11 Purvis J. Behan (D13 Fort Greene) – SchoolGrades: A  GreatSchools: 9/10  Reading: 74%  Math: 69%

For those interested in private schools in the area, here are a few links:

There are many excellent private schools in and around Downtown Brooklyn.  Most application periods are much earlier than public school admissions, so do your research early and plan on applying in the fall, a year before your child would start kindergarten.

Here are a few helpful NYC education resource links:

If you have any suggestions for schools that we’ve missed, please send us a message and we will add them to this list.


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  2. Alex Roche May 16,2013 10:00 am

    Like the explosion of housing in Downtown Manhattan over the last 10 years without adequate schools to keep up with population of growing kindergarteners, the housing plans for Downtown Brooklyn without adequate plans for schools is shortsighted and will ultimately be costlier. As more high rise towers are being built in DoBro, it just seems logical dedicate the lower part of one or a number of these buildings as schools, as was done in PS 89 and at PS 397 (the Frank Gehry Tower). For Downtown Brooklyn residents, these schools need to happen now, or there will be no seats left in any school and new building will still be 5 years away.

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