Our Vibrant School Culture Lets Every Student Shine

A day in the life of a BELA student is never the same! On any given day, our students might be engaging with community leaders, restoring a neighborhood landmark, touring a museum or celebrating a victory on the court – extracurricular activities that we believe are equally as important as academics to a rich, well-rounded education.

These wide-ranging experiences play an important part in our students’ lives, complementing our academics to inspire our young women’s imaginations and enrich their days at BELA. 

Go Grow 

Go Grow encourages students to pursue their individual passions. From the culinary arts to the fine arts to the performing arts, Go Grow electives let students explore their interests and talents, learn or hone skills and clarify career paths in areas that fall outside of our required academic schedule. In their junior and senior years, students take on leadership roles as Go Grow facilitators. Go Grow electives have included anime, student government, BELA Sorors STEP, coding, drawing, BELA Bakers, ScriptEd, Just Rock DJ-ing, #BELAInfluencers and debate.

Athletics

We are! The BELA (Queen) Bees! Students can participate in a number of organized sports at BELA including volleyball, basketball, track & field and cheer through our affiliations with the Charter School Athletic Association (CSAA) and Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL). These activities encourage healthy competition, teamwork and good sportsmanship; keep students active; enable young people to take on leadership roles, strengthen their social connections and celebrate wins! 

Community Service

Community service is central to BELA’s mission and is a guiding principle of our school. BELA students demonstrate leadership and social responsibility by engaging in service initiatives throughout the year that contribute to the well-being of our Bed-Stuy community. Each year, we recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day by embarking on our Annual Day of Service. Our students have entertained elderly residents at the Concord Nursing Home, prepared food boxes with St. John’s Bread and Life, helped restore the Imani Community Garden, packaged hygiene kits for Brooklyn Community Services, phone banked with Hunger Free America and volunteered during the installation of 56th District Assemblywoman Stefani Zinerman. Students also volunteer right here at BELA, performing tasks such as painting classrooms and clearing space for our library renovation. 

Student Ambassadors/Student Outreach 

No one knows BELA quite like our own students do! Our BELA ambassadors conduct school tours for prospective students and families and help with BELA Buddy Days. Students can also participate in our Recruitment Phone-A-Thon to encourage area families to consider attending BELA. 

Special Events

Throughout the year, BELA students actively participate in events that celebrate the heritage, culture and contributions of women and women of color, and recognize and honor the experiences of all people of color. They use their voices to advocate, raise awareness and demonstrate solidarity around issues such as gun violence and mental health. Students enjoy opportunities to meet influential voices like Kiese Laymon, author of the memoir Heavy; singer-songwriter Justine Skye and Poet Nia Mora. Joyful celebrations such as BELA Spirit Week showcase the heart and creativity of all our young women!

  • Annual Women’s Symposium
  • International Women’s Day
  • Black Excellence Week
  • Black Lives Matter Week of Action
  • Gun Violence Vigil
  • Sisterhood Sit-In 
  • P.S. I Love You Day (mental health awareness)
  • Denim Day (sexual assault awareness)
  • LatinX Heritage Week
  • Spirit Week
  • Asian American Solidarity Week 
  • Mental Health Awareness Month

Summer Enrichment Programs

Engaging in meaningful experiences over the summer is vital for BELA students. Summer enrichment and employment opportunities encourage students to pursue their passions and gain valuable experiences that build their college resumes. Dozens of New York organizations, universities and other institutions offer a wide range of opportunities in areas such as music, fashion, design, writing, STEM, law enforcement and healthcare. We work with students to navigate these summer experiences and identify those that best fit their interests and aspirations.

Summer Resource Guide >

Travel and Field Trips

We believe that a student’s learning experience extends beyond the classroom. We are fortunate to be located in one of the cultural meccas of the world with all its rich opportunities. Our students embark on learning experiences that expose them to new people, places, cultures and contexts, building upon classroom instruction. Real world engagement lets them see and feel first-hand the concepts they’re learning about, bringing their studies to life. 

EmpowerMEnt At BELA

We are a community that has the important (and sometimes difficult) conversations.

Our students thrive when they feel loved, respected and understood. BELA is proud to be a community grounded in the principles of restorative justice, transformative justice, Love and Logic, adolescent developmental needs, trauma and its impact on brain development, and family engagement. All approaches are centered around respect, responsibility, relationship-building, relationship-repairing and healing.

Our culture and behavioral guide, BELA EmpowerMEnt, is based on the restorative justice model and requires community members to take ownership of their role in creating a transformative learning and leadership environment. BELA EmpowerMEnt teaches our young women the lifelong skills necessary to become self-advocates, negotiate healthy relationships and boundaries and seek ways to repair and restore discord in their relationships and communities. 

At BELA, we are committed to engaging in constructive communication that contributes to dignity and respect for all. 

Women’s Symposium

BELA’s Women’s Symposium is an event that brings together over 100 women of distinction from all industries and cultural backgrounds to engage in intimate conversations with BELA scholars, allowing you to share in your career journey, inclusive of all of the triumphs and challenges that have contributed to your development.