200 Woodbine Street
Brooklyn, NY 11221
Opened: August 2014
Grades: K to three (growing to K to four)
Number of Students in 2016-17: 304
At Achievement First North Brooklyn Prep Elementary, we gather as a community every morning. By starting our day together as the “Elephant Herd of Bushwick,” we demonstrate our commitment to joy, community and scholarly engagement from the very beginning of each day. Students feel deeply committed to the school. They can articulate, “I would not be the same if I was not a part of the AF North Brooklyn Prep community, and the AF North Brooklyn Prep community would not be the same without me.” At our core, we believe that it’s our responsibility to set our students on the path to college beginning in the first minute of kindergarten. We equip them with a deeply internalized love of learning, and the academic skills and college-readiness habits necessary to climb the mountain to and through college. Through rigorous instruction and constant challenge, we prepare our scholars to achieve outstanding academic results. We believe that critical thinking and the ability to communicate thoughts both orally and in writing are foundational to academic success. Therefore, our students are asked to grapple with complicated questions and topics throughout the day, and they are regularly asked to defend their thinking in each subject. Through our academic program and our focus on character and community building, our students are inspired and prepared to excel in middle school, high school, college and beyond.
Elena Knappen is the founding principal of Achievement First North Brooklyn Prep Elementary. Ms. Knappen was previously a third-grade teacher and grade team leader at Achievement First Bushwick Elementary, where she also served as the upper school academic dean and led third- and fourth-grade teams to significant increases on the New York state test. She most recently served as a principal-in-residence and academic dean at Achievement First Aspire Elementary; during this time, she launched the school’s special services program. Ms. Knappen began her career in education at Teach For America, where she taught English as a Second Language at a traditional public school in Washington Heights. She has also previously served as a recruitment director for Teach For America in Boston, and as a school leader recruiter at Achievement First. Ms. Knappen is originally from Virginia and is a graduate of the University of Virginia. She completed her M.S. in teaching at Pace University.