Watch This. “The New Public” Highlights Unconventional Teaching Style.

The New Republic, Jyllian Gunther

In fall 2006, former DJ, point guard and teacher turned first-time principal, James O’Brien, opened a small public high school in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where 1/3 of residents live below the poverty line and the graduation rate is 40%. With infectious optimism, O’Brien and his team of eight undertook an unconventional approach and ambitious mission: Create a school with an arts-oriented curriculum that also emphasizes self-development, community collaboration and social change. Initially, the buzz from everyone was that this was a dream come true.  But conflicts arose when untested idealism was challenged by long-standing realities far bigger than school.

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