MS 51 is a gifted and talented school located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, uniquely committed to a balance of both an intensive accelerated academic program and an in-depth, three-year arts program. At MS 51, our aim is to prepare students for the rigors and challenges of high school, with a challenging academic program aligned to a continuum based on the Common Core Learning Standards. Our students are motivated by highly effective teachers who hold high expectations and know how to engage students in advanced level curriculum. This is supplemented by an intensive focused study of one of six “talent” areas--including vocal music, drama, instrumental music, dance, photography, and fine art--in which students develop a deep connection to their talent as they explore their art and self-expression. Our academic and arts curriculum is rounded out by a strong commitment to community service, sustainability, and philanthropy, with ongoing activities and initiatives that have become infused into the culture of MS 51.
The successful results of this balance are visible in numerous ways: Our graduates go on to the top specialized, screened, and performing arts high schools in the city, and our school and students receive countless awards each year from organizations such as the Scholastic Awards for writing and art, Arts Connection for Photography and Art, Young Playwrights for drama, Green Apple Award for Sustainability, and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society/Pennies for Patients for being the top fundraising school in all of NYC.
MS 51 students enjoy the independence of a shared, school-wide non captive lunch period, whereby students can interact with our local community, play outside on our large campus provided by the Washington Park playground and the adjoining “turf” behind the Old Stone House, and participating in lunch-time clubs. In addition, all students at MS 51 participate in Project REAL (Reading Enriches All Lives), a school-wide 19 minute silent reading period every day after lunch, emphasizing our building-wide commitment to sharing and fostering a love of reading and literacy.
The MS 51 community is strengthened by a wonderfully active and engaged parent body. Our Parent Association (PA) provides a host of both community building and fundraising events and activities to support the school, provide additional resources to enrich our students’ learning experience and bolster communication between home and school, particularly important in these middle school years. Parents are also deeply involved in our talent programs, lending time, talent, and skills to assist with the production of our numerous live performances and exhibitions throughout the school year.
William Alexander Middle School 51
350 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Main Office: (718) 369-7603
Fax: (718) 499-4948
Greg Stanislaus, Principal IA
Nance Speth, Assistant Principal
Marcy Sterlis, Assistant Principal
Cecilia Manning, Secretary, Ext: 1383
Lisette Nieves, Secretary, Ext: 1385
Julia Castro, Parent Coordinator Ext: 1331
After School Programs and Academic Support: MS 51 programs include test prep, theater productions, high school portfolio work, Stand for the Silent Advisory, babysitting certification course, second language, basketball teams, spirit squad and school newspaper. We also have a free after school program in collaboration with LEAP.
Character Education, Community Service and Student Government: Character Education is a school priority, offering students multiple opportunities to work in leadership roles. Our monthly Respect for All campaign includes town hall meetings in each grade, led by student government members. Monthly themes include citizenship, respect for all, safety, leadership, diversity, and community stewardship. Assistant Principal, Nance Speth, coordinates an award-winning, year-long community service program.
Green Team: Our award-winning green team meets daily to assist in the coordination and education of recycling in and around the MS51 community. Students participate in the monthly Green Team Committee meetings with teachers and parents to write grants and plan projects each year.
Collaborations and Partnerships: N.Y.U., U.N., Met Museum of Art, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Pratt University, LEAP, Teachers’ College Columbia University, Urban Advantage, Gowanus Canal Conservancy, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, NYC Parks, Million Trees, National Junior Honor Society, Old Stone House, SUNY/LICH, C.C.N.Y., Math Mentors, Carnegie Hall Academy, Grow NYC, AUSSIE Math, and Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.
All students learn honors math at MS 51 which is an accelerated math program aligned to NYS and Common Core Learning Standards. Eligible students can take accelerated math in Grade 7 and then integrated Algebra Regents in Grade 8 .
Our science program is also honors level, focusing on experimental skills and incorporating NYC science and sustainability institutions into the curriculum to motivate and connect to the classroom. Students also learn how to write a high school level lab report over three years. Eligible students enjoy the Living Environment Regents course in Grade 8.
English Language Arts
Literacy is the basis to all learning at MS 51. With the support of Teachers’ College, our ELA Team has aligned our curriculum with the Common Core Learning Standards, pushing students to their personal best in reading and writing and preparing them for the rigors of high school. Our ELA teachers collaborate with all subject areas as we strengthen the reading and writing skills in content area subjects.
Our multimedia approach to social studies allows students to explore articles, video, and primary documents to understand our past and connect to the present and future. Students create many projects throughout the year using their reading and writing skills and artistic creativity. Student writing and discussions focus on debate, argument essays, and research.
Second Language and French Dual Language Programs
Our students choose either French or Spanish for their three years of study. Grade 8 students who pass the NYC Proficiency test in foreign language will be able to skip Grade 9 level in high school!
We have a well developed athletic program at MS 51 – during the school day and after school. Students change into their uniform in our renovated locker rooms and enjoy our newly renovated gym. Students learn many new skills and can play on our campus courts and fields outside when weather permits. The program culminates in an all day, competitive Field Day in grades 6 and 7.
The Talent Program
Our award-winning talent program is the result of our uniquely talented and experienced teaching artists creating fabulous programs over the past 15 years. Our talent selection includes: Vocal Music, Drama, Instrumental Music, Dance, Photography, and Fine Arts. Students are immersed their talent four periods per week over three years and many talents require additional time commitments for rehearsal, travel, and performances. Once admitted to MS 51, students audition for their talent of choice. Performances and art exhibitions happen throughout the year. Our talented students audition for and are accepted to the most competitive, top performing, arts high schools in NYC. (See the Talent Department tab for more information regarding specific courses.)