2019 Blackboard Award Honoree: Nelson Mandela School for Social Justice

Nelson Mandela School for Social Justice
Principal & Founder Tabari Zaid Bomani
Grades 9-12
1700 Fulton Street, Brooklyn

Award: Outstanding School

Describe your school’s core educational philosophy:

Our core philosophy is to equip our students with the academic and social emotional skills they will need to not only be college and career ready, but to also be committed to social justice and improvement of their communities and this nation. Our core philosophy is organized around the conviction that our school community is open to all students; regardless of their educational or personal history. We believe that each student should be at the center of their learning through culturally relevant courses and practices such as project based learning, Rites of Passage advisories, Restorative Justice applications, classes organized around social justice issues, and social emotional attainments. Our ultimate goal is to eliminate the school to prison pipeline through creating an academically rigorous environment where every student feels loved, respected and engaged.

Tell us about a few of the school’s achievements or distinguishing programs.

Rites of Passage advisory (culturally based advisory based upon the African Tradition manhood and womanhood training); First Graduating class Kwanzaa Ahadi: 82 percent graduation rate; all freshman classes receive an African name that they share as a class; AP for All; partnership with Long Island University; College Now; PM classes; mastery based learning; the STEAM Program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics); two Fab Labs; the Beam Program; PTOYS—Put Them On your Shoulders—college and career readiness program; and more.

What’s new?

Partnership with Brooklyn Arts Council; partnership with Medgar Evers College; and Student Advisory Board.

What do you love about your school?

Nelson Mandela School for Social Justice is organized around the understanding that learning and academic success is best achieved in an environment where a youngster feels loved and respected. We call it the pedagogy of love, based on the understanding that a person’s social/ emotional growth is connected to one’s future success and achievement. Through mastery based learning there is an intentional connection between academic achievement and social emotional growth. Additionally, NMSSJ is dedicated to Cultural Relevance and Responsiveness; not just as a pedagogical construct but as part of our overall Social Justice mission.