The idea for Lyons Community School percolated in the minds of members of the planning team for years before it ever came to fruition. Years of working in small schools gave planning team members the experience of knowing what works in small schools, but also the yearning to create something that would work even better.
When the planning team first started meeting, we came up with the idea of healthy, happy adulthood being the aim of education. We considered what we wished for our own current lives and we realized we wished we ate better, exercised more, spent more time with our loved ones, had time to pursue our interests, had jobs that we loved and that were meaningful, and that we found life and learning engaging. The conversation then turned to what would an education look like for students ages 11 – 18 that would enable such a life to follow.
In the spring of 2006, we started working with the New Visions New Schools initiative. They helped us through the rigorous process of getting our school approved by the New York City Department of Education. Along the way we forged four remarkable partnerships with Brooklyn Historical Society, who became our lead partner, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, Bent on Learning – a youth focused yoga program, and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. We had our formal interview with the DOE on December 13th, 2006 and the official announcement that we were a New York City Department of Education school was made on January 29, 2007. We were also given our location, our wonderful site on the second floor, though we moved to the third floor in 2009, in the William Gaynor Campus at 223 Graham Avenue.
Through our work New Visions, we were awarded a substantial start up grant to support the school’s development over the first four years. We also chose to have New Visions be our Partnership Support Organization.
Immediately after being approved, we started our journey by recruiting students, families and additional staff to join our community. Over the summer we had our first ever Summer Bridge program for incoming students. We also held two week intensive professional development for our staff so we could start working and planning together. On September 4th,2007 we opened our doors and officially became a school.
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