The Renovation

With this renovation, GJA has created a space specifically designed for our boys: rooms where curiosity can thrive, academics can go beyond books and emotional growth is nurtured. During Summer 2018, our 12,000-foot space, a former Catholic school, was reinvented as a home for collaboration, scholarship and expression. The school has not been renovated since long before GJA took it over in 2003, creating an opportunity for sweeping changes.

The renovation has changed the look of the building, offering new and convertible spaces. In the renovation, GJA gained a performing arts studio, classrooms that can be made larger or smaller based on capacity, a room specifically for counseling services and expanded spaces for alumni meetings and events. All of this is designed to serve the GJA community, now 16 years strong.

Renovation Highlights

Photo: Shana Schnur Photography,LLC

GJA’s mission is to serve bright boys from low-income families, allowing them the freedom to express their intelligence in an engaging academic setting. The results speak for themselves: our boys excel as writers and artists, engineers and mathematicians. Graduates tell us their GJA education prepared them for 9th grade at the most rigorous high schools in the nation. A conversation with a GJA student will tell you the same: he is articulate and engaging, thoughtful and insightful, an original thinker who knows what’s going on in the world.

The renovation has encouraged group work by creating flexible spaces, interactive walls, and the use of technology with updated electrical systems and technology storage.

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GJA leaders and students knew about social-emotional learning before many schools realized how important it is for young men to have a balance of emotional self-knowledge to go along with their training in other areas. Since its founding, GJA students have referred to one another as “brothers”. GJA’s programs have always included a deep commitment to healthy friendships and connections, with ample support to help students connect and address stresses that get in the way of their learning and their thriving. We partner with NYU to provide social work and counseling support to any student who needs it, and engage every boy in small group ‘talk time’ to model healthy connections. These efforts have been lauded in national press, which continues to feature GJA as a model for boys’ education done well.

For the first time in our history, our new building has a dedicated space for counseling. 

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GJA’s arts program demonstrates the school’s deep belief that artists make creative leaders and insightful scholars; that images express what words cannot; that artistic learning builds young brains. All GJA students receive training in band, dance and studio art. The renovation ensures that the arts have dedicated spaces at GJA, to showcase and enhance existing curriculum.

The renovation created dedicated art spaces – a music room for practice and small group lessons in partnership with Juilliard School, and a space for American Ballet Theatre-led dance performances.

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Be a visible sponsor of GJA’s renovation by taking advantage of one of our many naming opportunities. These opportunities are a wonderful way to honor a loved one, a teacher who inspired you or a student in your life. They offer a lasting legacy and a chance to have a lasting impact on this school and its hardworking, talented boys. 


To learn more about opportunities or to discuss naming options please email Ashanti Bryant at abryant@georgejacksonacademy.org.

The project began summer 2018 and was completed during the 2018-2019 school year.

Karen Frome of Rise Projects led the architect on the project, with construction contractors DHI Construction Services.

The renovation cost $1.5 million; GJA has fulfilled a $1 million Challenge Grant made by Board Chair, Paul Levy and his wife, Karen, and matched by Trustees and other supporters.