Facing Gentrification, Jesuit High School Prepares for Brooklyn Move

Tags: Currents, Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Jesuit, Queens, NY

By Emily Drooby

At the end of the school year, Brooklyn Jesuit Prep — a middle school that serves low-income students — is moving from its current location in gentrifying Crown Heights.

The move is their way of adapting to changes happening around them and the rising prices of the New York City housing market.

“Moving to East Flatbush presents opportunities to us in terms of the neighborhood being able to serve a population that we want to be able to serve, that is not a population in a gentrified neighborhood,” explained Father Mario Powell, S.J., the president of Brooklyn Jesuit Prep.

“The gentrification of this neighborhood means that the families that we want to serve, which are families that earn below 24,000 dollars a year, increasingly can’t afford to live in this immediate vicinity,” he said.

To respond to the change, the school will move to vacant floor space at the church of St. Vincent Ferrer in East Flatbush

Gregory Arte, the principal, said it’s closer to the neighborhoods where many of their students live.

“Our kids are coming from farther and farther. Some of our kids make very long trips to get here, so that change in the neighborhood. We want to move closer,” said Arte.

Brooklyn Jesuit Prep caters to students from low-income families as part of the nationwide network of Nativity schools.

“I like how much they support us and especially the teachers, they never stop helping you,” explained Pilar Sims, an eighth-grader and the student body president. “They know you need help. They’ll kinda push it out of you.”

The move will also give the school an opportunity to design the building and classrooms to fit their needs. “To be able to go in and make each individual classroom, not only just have a clean look to it, a uniformed look to it, but a true Brooklyn Jesuit Prep look to each individual classroom,” is something they’re excited about, said Fr. Powell.

The move will happen at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.