John Dewey High School

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John Dewey High School
JDHS Logo 60Years.png
50 Avenue X
Brooklyn, NY 11223
United States
Coordinates 40°35′16″N 73°58′53″W / 40.5877°N 73.9814°W / 40.5877; -73.9814Coordinates: 40°35′16″N 73°58′53″W / 40.5877°N 73.9814°W / 40.5877; -73.9814
Established 1969
School number K540
CEEB code 330746[1]
Principal Connie Hamilton
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 3,289
Color(s)      Red
Athletics conference PSAL
Mascot The Dewey Dragon

John Dewey High School is a public school in Gravesend, Brooklyn, New York City. It was founded and based on the educational principles of John Dewey. The school, under the supervision of the New York City Department of Education, was named a New American High School in 2000.

It was established in 1969 and started out with only freshmen and sophomores. Gradually, the school grew to include juniors and seniors. Today, there are over 3,200 students enrolled in the school. It counts among its alumni producer and director Larry Charles, filmmaker Spike Lee, New York rock and comedy club owner (Luna Lounge) Rob Sacher, Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies, Radio personality David Brody, photographer Gregory Crewdson, WWE wrestler Jayson Paul (aka JTG), scientist Robert Sapolsky, astrologer-journalist Eric Francis, news correspondent Ray Suarez, and Chinese movie actress Michelle Ye.

John Dewey High is also credited for being the first "educational-option" school in New York City, in which applicants are admitted through academic groups based on their citywide test scores: high, middle and low-achieving. Dewey selects students from each of the three groups. Other schools in the city, such as Edward R. Murrow High School, Murry Bergtraum High School and Norman Thomas High School have since opened, following Dewey's "ed-op" system of admissions.[2]



In order to graduate from John Dewey High School, each student must take a certain amount of specific classes. For example, each student must take 16 cycles of English; 8 literature classes, 4 writing classes, 2 communication classes, and 2 elective classes. For Social Studies, each student must take 16 cycles of classes. Students need 8 Global courses, 4 American History, 2 Economic classes, and 2 Participation in Government classes. Mathematics requires 12 cycles, each student must complete 3 years of math, and must complete Math A. The Science Department requires students to take 12 cycles of Science. John Dewey High School also offers many foreign languages such as Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Russian and French. When a student chooses his or her preferred languages, they must take the course either for 1 year (4 cycles) or for 3 years (12 cycles). Art and Music are important in the Dewey curriculum, a student can take photography, music, or film classes. There are also many electives and extra curricular activities in which are useful for college. John Dewey High School has been accredited for being a college-like high school. Each student must take 2 cycles of each. Also, like in every high school, John Dewey offers health education and physical education. Each student must take 14 cycles of physical ed. and 2 cycles of health; totaling up to 16 cycles (4 years). John Dewey High School offers many electives. A student may want to take Dance classes, or Business Education classes. It also offers Technology, Home Economics, Health Careers and Occupations. There is also a COOP program that senior students can be a part of.

Advanced Placement Courses[edit]

John Dewey High School offers approximately 17 Advanced Placement courses, one of the highest for New York City public high schools. These include courses in

Academy of Finance[edit]

John Dewey High School houses the first Academy of Finance, which was started by Sandy Weill in 1982. The Academy of Finance prepares students for post-secondary education and careers through a theme-based, contextualized curriculum approach.

The Academy of Finance introduces high school students to the broad career opportunities of the financial services industry. One of three member programs of the National Academy Foundation, the Academy of Finance operates as a small learning community and is now located in more than 275 high schools nationwide.

At John Dewey, each student is allowed to apply for the Academy of Finance. During the sophomore year, a student who is interested in joining the Academy, gives in his or her application and waits for an interview with Academy coordinator. The Academy of Finance is only available to juniors and seniors who applies during their sophomore year.

Council For Unity[edit]

John Dewey High School is home to the first Council For Unity, a national non-profit organization founded in 1975 by then-teacher Mr. Robert DeSena. Its mission is to establish racial harmony, respect, peace and an end to violence in schools and the surrounding community.

In present day, the Council for Unity network comprises over sixty schools and community centers in New York City, Long Island, Texas, and California. There is a college chapter at the University of Vermont, and an international chapter in Balti, Moldova.

National Honor Society[edit]

Formerly known as ARISTA, the scholastic honor society of John Dewey High School is served through its National Honor Society chapter. Applicants must have achieved an overall scholastic average of 90 or above as a student at John Dewey High School. The student must also have a record of service performed each cycle (term) in some facility in the school. In the early decades of operation, the school offered students no letter or number grades, and there was no school-wide academic honor society.

School facilities[edit]

One of the many innovative features of John Dewey High School are the Dewey learning centers which are commonly referred as "Resource Centers." These are centers located centrally between five or six classrooms, staffed by a teacher and a paraprofessional. Each major department has one—English & Literature, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Foreign Language, Music, Art and the Universal RC. For each band (period), subject teachers in designated RCs will always be there to facilitate students in Academics, students who are free may head to the RCs for assistance in homework, projects etc. or socialize with others.

Unlike the majority of New York City public schools, Dewey does not share its campus with any other school. The campus includes the main building, a statue as well as stone plaques to honor alumni. The school has a football, soccer, lacrosse and softball field which is utilized in various ways. The school also has an outdoor tennis field and two parking lots.

John Dewey High School’s library has around collections of over 30,000 books, magazines, and about 12 computers for student, parent and faculty use.

Students utilize the many facilities in which they worked side-by-side with either their teachers, peers and friends, this not only enables students to fulfill their personal interests but can concurrently build a steady foundation for advancements in their future life.

Most classroom are outfitted with 2 to 40 computers or laptops. Classroom are also equipped with Smart Boards, Promethean Boards and Elmo Projectors.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

John Dewey High School's Student organization facilitates clubs in organizing, fundraising etc. John Dewey High School offers clubs such as: Anime, Asian, Art-Ink, Christian Culture, Ceramics, Classic Rock, Chess, Dance, Diversity, Fashion Design, Finance, Gardening Club, Key Club, Hebrew Culture, Award Winning Robotics Team, Math, Marine Science, Muslim Culture, Modeling, Model Congress, Sci-Fi, Gay-Straight Alliance,Soccer and Softball. Every year a new club is created in John Dewey High School.

Each year there are annual events throughout the campus and the school, such as the Octoberfest,Club Fair, Multicultural Show, Fashion Show, Clash of the Genres (in which different music genres compete), Country Fair (where all over the school games are played, inflatable balloons, caricatures etc.; also involving music and food, sports and fundraising), Field Day, Spirit Week, Blood Drive (students 16 or older have the option to donate blood to those in need) and the Dewey or Don't We? talent show.

Team #333[edit]

Dewey's nationally-ranked and award winning robotics team, Team #333, also known as The Megalodons, has participated in various national and regional competitions. The team avidly participates in "FIRST Robotics," a competition that attracts schools with robotics teams internationally. The team has also been featured in various local newspapers, including the New York Daily News.

Their efforts have resulted in beating some of the top high schools in the country and some of the specialized high schools in New York City, such as Brooklyn Tech and Stuyvesant High School. Their accomplishments have led to visits from the previous New York City school chancellor Dennis Walcott and astronaut Gregory Olsen.[3] The team has also participated in the opening pitch for the Brooklyn Cyclones.[4]

The team originated as a small after-school club and gradually grew into a highly-selective program with its own classes and curriculum, and currently consists of over fifty members who work during and after school in a shop. The team has a very active presence within the school.


From its founding John Dewey has not fielded varsity sports teams. That lack of inter-school sports competition grew out of its educational design, meant to de-emphasize competition, winning and losing, and to encourage achievement for its own sake. The school does however have intramural athletic programs which students can take advantage of to play sports for recreation.

However, starting in the 2011-2012 school year, competitive sports with other public high schools are beginning due to a majority vote towards it. It starts with a male and female soccer team and a female basketball team, cross country, as well as cheerleading due to the new arrival of sports. The title for the sport teams in John Dewey are named The Dewey Dragons.[citation needed] The sports teams have expanded to include lacrosse, male and female softball, male and female tennis and female volleyball.

Student demographics[edit]

Ethnic Group[5] 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Asian/Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 33% 34% 36%
Black or African American 25% 26% 29%
Hispanic or Latino 21% 20% 20%
White (Non-Hispanic) 13% 13% 14%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0.4% 0.4% 0.5%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 0.2% 0.3% 0.3%


In 1999, John Dewey High School was one of ten schools nationwide to receive the 10th Annual Businessweek Award for Instructional Innovation for incorporating technology into the classroom. The award and grant of $1,500 was presented at Businessweek's annual conference in San Francisco.[6]

In 2000, John Dewey High School was named a New American High School for serving as a model for schools nationwide that have achieved high levels of success, and was showcased nationally at the White House.

In 2007, John Dewey High School was named one of America's Top 500 High Schools by U.S. News & World Report.

In 2008 and 2009, Newsweek named John Dewey High School one of America's Top 6% of high schools in its rankings, citing "how hard staffs work to challenge students with Advanced Placement college-level courses and tests."

In 2010, John Dewey High School's short film produced by the Film Class titled "A Block From Home" which was about an innocent victim who was caught in cross fire gun violence nearby Sheepshead Bay High School and takes on the progressive healing and the will to forge ahead. It was a part of Tribeca Film Festival in the Our City My Story event.[7]

In 2013, U.S. News & World Report awarded John Dewey High School a silver medal for ranking as one of America's Top High Schools, and for ranking #127 in New York State.[8]

In 2015, Niche named John Dewey High School as the fifth best high school in Brooklyn, the second best high school in the New York City Department of Education's District 21, top 100 most diverse schools in New York State, and was given an "Overall Niche Grade" of a B+, the only school in the district to achieve this grade.[9]

Notable appearances[edit]

  • The school is shown during the chase scene of the Academy Award winning movie The French Connection, which was largely filmed on a train that was parked at the Bay 50th Street subway station, which was served by the B train at that time, located right outside the school.
  • Actor Michael J. Fox was the guest speaker for the class of 1984, he was also given an honorary high school diploma from John Dewey High School.[10]
  • First Lady Hillary Clinton visited John Dewey High School in April 2000 as part of the "Principals For a Day" program.[11]
  • Radio personality David Brody from Z100 and Elvis Duran and the Morning Show[12] was the guest speaker on June 26, 2012. Brody graduated from John Dewey High School in 1983.

Notable alumni[edit]

The "Key to Knowledge" statue in front of John Dewey High School on the campus.


External links[edit]