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After a year of reflection, assessing a small school that fell short

First, for four years, Collin Lawrence lived the tumultuous life of a teacher at a small high school with spotty leadership. Then he relived it — in the GothamSchools Community section.

Today, Lawrence concludes a yearlong chronicle of his tenure teaching history at an arts-themed school in Brooklyn, which he named “Brooklyn Arts Academy.” In the final installment, he summarizes the myriad issues the school faced and ponders their roots, and their potential remedies.

He writes:

Even with certain structural limitations of the small school model and the pre-existing challenges facing many students, the Brooklyn Arts Academy should have achieved much greater success. In general, the small school model does help foster a sense of community and allows teachers to form more personalized relationships with students. Moreover, the concept behind this school in particular — to empower and impassion students through art and music — was inspiring. But a concept, just like so many ideas on paper, is not enough to make a successful school.

Spoiler alert: Lawrence, who spent the 2010-2011 school year teaching in China, is now back in New York City and teaching again. His new principal knew about his GothamSchools blog when she hired him.

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