Brooklyn Urban Garden Charter School (BUGS)
Executive Director & Co-Founder: Susan Tenner
Founding Principal: Linda Rosenbury
500 19th Street, Brooklyn
Describe your school’s core educational philosophy.
The mission of BUGS is to provide a hands-on, interdisciplinary education to young adolescents of all abilities and backgrounds, with a focus on real-world problem solving and the exploration of environmental, economic and social sustainability. BUGS students excel in the core academic subjects and become engaged community members who are critical thinkers prepared to achieve excellence in high school and beyond.
We are a small, community-based middle school where every student is known. We believe that students at this critical stage need to be engaged in academic content that is meaningful to them, applied to their place in the real world, and connected to their social and emotional growth as productive and reflective citizens. Our CARES values guide everything we do at BUGS: “BUGS CARES about Sustainability: Community, Awareness, Reach Exploration, Student Voice, and Sustainability.”
Tell us about a few of the school’s achievements or distinguishing programs.
In addition to our innovative sustainability curriculum, our whole-child approach is supported by our Quiet Time program—twice per day meditation sessions where the whole school falls silent and still for 10 minutes, so that staff and students can rest and focus their minds to prepare for the day in the morning, and recharge for the rest of the day in the afternoon.
Our STEAM focus in our project classes results in merging arts and design with science, technology, engineering, and math. This has led to an exciting partnership with the Consortium for Research & Robotics hosted by the Pratt Institute where students work on robotics projects at Pratt once a week.
What do you love about your school?
We love our students! They have gumshion and inquisitiveness. Students thrive with the community connection through their service learning projects, where they make impact on the school and the broader world around them such as—demonstrating their learning in vermiculture, gardening, and reading with neighboring Pre-K students, bioswale work and creating public service messages to reduce water run-off into the Gowanus Canal, and researching and designing healthy recipes that are affordable for food stamp recipients to navigate local “food deserts.” We love when our students use their voice to make the school or world a better place, even when that voice is not convenient!