About Us » School Profile

School Profile

At a Glance

Total students: 151
Grades served: 10 - 12
  • Black: 39%
  • Hispanic/Latinx: 53%
  • White: 4%
  • Asian: 2%
Free & Reduced Lunch Eligible: 81%
Students with Disabilities: 33%
English Language Learners: 9%

School Model & Educational Approach

We are a transfer school, accepting students who have spent at least one semester at another school and chose our community as a better fit.  As a result, we are intentional about individualized college and postsecondary counseling.
We work with a Transformative Justice lens, aiming to disrupt racial inequities in education by creating restorative, humanizing, justice-seeking teaching and experiences.

Like all NYC Outward Bound schools, we implement the nationally recognized EL Education model, featuring rigorous learning experiences, both in and out of the classroom.  We use hands-on learning with real-world application. Leadership, active citizenship, and character development go hand-in-hand with academic rigor and challenge.

Graduation & Assessment - PBATS

PBATs, or Performance-Based Assessment Tasks, are 10- to 20-page analytical papers in the areas of:  literary analysis, social studies, mathematics and science.  They are researched, developed, and revised under the supervision of a teacher and publicly defended before a panel of faculty and visiting experts.
PBATs offer students the opportunity to produce the kind of sophisticated, high-level work typically expected in college courses. PBATs are an authentic and powerful indicator of students’ readiness for the rigors of college study.
Our students fulfill graduation assessment requirements with Performance Based Assessment Tasks (PBATs) in place of Regents exams.  Students at James Baldwin do take the ELA Regents exam.


Twice a year, regular classes are suspended for Intensives, which are special courses that last 5-10 full school days. Students can study topics in-depth, participate in an adventure / fitness program, or receive intense, targeted academic support.


Because our teachers are not limited to teaching within the confines of Regents exams, they develop meaningful curriculum that offers depth and opportunity for critical thinking.  Course names are similar to what a student would find in a college course catalog.  While we do not offer AP classes, college courses at Baruch College and John Jay College are available to students in their Junior and Senior years.


Crews are teams of 12-16 students led by an adult Crew Advisor, who is also a teacher. Crews focus on building essential character and academic skills through a combination of team building, student-centered academic support, conflict resolution, and adventure. Crews meet four times per week.

Student Led Conference

Twice a year, students present their strengths, growth areas, and goals in a Student-Led Conference with their advisor and a family member or caring adult. SLCs take the place of traditional parent-teacher conferences, empowering students to take ownership for their academic performance and learning.

Grading System

At JBS, learning targets are an important component of our assessments. Learning targets are specific skill and knowledge objectives. Teachers use a 1-4 scale to determine student proficiency in relationship to the course learning targets. Many learning targets are assessed using rubrics. We utilize a 1-4 grading scale: 1=55, 2=65, 3=85, 4=100.


NYC Outward Bound Schools; NYU College Advising Corps; Hudson River Community Sailing; The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center; College Now @ Baruch College & John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Integral Yoga; New York Performance Standards Consortium; Hudson Guild; New York Live Arts; The High Line; The Possibility Project; Learning to Work; and The Green Foundation.

Covid Impact

Many students have experienced loss, financial insecurity, and limited technology access. On 3/16/20, we transitioned to fully remote learning for the remainder of the school year.  Since then, the DOE’s citywide grading policy has been revised and many PBATs and Regents exams have been waived (indicated by WA). A grade of NX indicates that a course is still in progress. Students have additional time to achieve the learning outcomes. Classes have shifted between in-person and remote.  We are confident that the level of rigor has been maintained.