Friday, February 12, 2010

New York City High School Reviews

These are the results of a survey sent out a few months ago, asking parents for their reviews of their kids high schools ... Hopefully it helps inform you and your child's decision.


Rachel

Aviation

Specific Program or major (if applicable) - A&P Mechanics
Location - Long Island City
Is this the school your child attends now?
no, he or she already graduated

Please write a review of your experience :

SKILLS OF TEACHERS - Many of them appear to be burned out, and the rest are on their way there. The problem has a few root causes: mainly it is a 90% male school. Kids do not have the chance to interact with girls as in a normal school. The military attitude of the instructors and staff do not provide any feelings of comfort or pleasure to be there at all. Most of these teachers are old school Archie Bunker mentality that should have been retired over 20 years ago, and there is no real outlet for your kid if his heart is not set on becoming an airplane mechanic.

FACILITY AND PROGRAMS - Barely the minimum in the Sciences, English and Math. Mostly shop courses that deal with mechanics. This would be a great trade school for adults who know why they are going there, but not for teens who are barely getting to know the real world around them. Lacking in variety and substance. Overcrowded and poorly managed. Teacher morale and attitude are deficient.

HOW THE SCHOOL DEALT - besides the threat of a suspension or expulsion from the A&P program - which is really a reward if you don't believe the hype of the glory of being poorly paid grease monkey - there is nothing the school offers. And unfortunately since their credits are not interchangeable after the freshman year, if your kid hates the school and you don;t take him out before the end of the freshman year, you're stuck there for the whole unpleasant ride.

FEEDBACK - In the normal academic curriculum - very good to excellent, but poor grades in the shop classes. Because of overcrowding, lack of effective control over some animals who should not have been admitted there, and the aloofness of most instructors, my kid stopped caring about his grades right after 10th grade.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Do NOT recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.

LISTEN to your kid. Encourage his/her dreams, however crazy they may be, help them explore their potential careers, and never make them think they are failures if they don;t excel at some thing they don't love.



School --Name of School - Bard High School Early College
Location - Lower east side Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:

I love this school. Two of my children attend it and I always tell my oldest daughter how lucky she is to go to such an intellectually stimulating school. It is one of the gems of the NYC public school system. I wanted an academically challenging school for my children, but not one where grades and achievement are stressed over the value of education in itself. Bard has allowed my oldest child discover her love of poetry and philosophy and I am hoping that my younger child will have a similar experience.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Listen to your child. They need to choose the school that is right for them, with some guidance from the parent.

____________

Bard High School Early College
Location - Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience :

My son, a senior, has had a wonderful experience at Bard. With almost no exceptions, he had excellent teachers every year in every subject, and a few who I believe have made a lifelong impression on him. He discovered a love of Russian culture and literature and was able to take separate courses on Tolstoy, Dostoevesky and Russian Culture. The only difficult situation we saw, involving a new math professor whose methods were unsuited to high school kids, was handled quickly and sensitively by the administration. We receive detailed progress reports and felt the teachers knew our son well and cared about his progress. There was a lot of difficult work, and his grades probably would have been better had he gone to another school, but he loved the rigor and challenge. And he made close friendships with many other intellectual and creative kids, who might have been considered uncool or nerds elsewhere.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Listen to your kid and keep an open mind.
Name of School - Bard High School Early College Queens
Location - Long Island City
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience :

Our daughter, a bookish and independent-minded child, has found a real home at this unusual school. The "professors," many of them PhDs, are mostly young (in their 20s and 30s) and just as hungry as the kids are for learning and growth. We hear about teachers who have published novels, poetry collections, and other books, and we get announcements for the music teacher's weekend concerts (she appears to specialize in Baroque and Renaissance music). My daughter's English teacher is a former staff writer for "Prairie Home Companion"... how cool is that? Class size is small (16-18), so instructors are able to be very available to both students and parents. Their comments in parent-teacher meetings and in written assessments are thorough and perceptive. The student body reflects the gorgeous diversity of Queens--another huge plus for our daughter, who was in a much more homogeneous environment before. Each one of her new friends is from a different, unfamiliar culture. Bard kids do get a lot of homework, but our daughter still gets to bed on time most nights and has plenty of time over the weekend to enjoy friends and other pursuits. We're not crazy about the industrial location of the new Bard. It's no better than the location of Bard Manhattan, which is right up against the FDR Drive. But the commute is very safe, and the interior of the school is appealing--huge, clean, and bright. This school is still new, so few clubs and sports activities are up and running. The school community is organizing around that, however, and we're hoping to see a lot more of that by the end of the year.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
This school is a great choice for inner-directed kids who want to take charge of their own learning. To thrive at Bard, a student needs to be mature--when it comes to academics, at least. He/she should also love reading
_______________

Name of School - Beacon
Location - West 61st, Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience :

My daughter is a freshman at Beacon. She loves it. The home work load has been heavy particularly in history and English although this may not be the case with other students in different classes with different teachers. The projects so far have been quite involved and interesting (history and English). It is difficult to comment on the teachers as one only meets with the child's advisor, but from my daughters view point she likes most of her teachers. Some seem to be "characters". We had one delicate situation which was handled carefully and diplomatically which I appreciated. I met with the advisor and my daughter in November for the first report card and had hoped to meet again after the second report card was issued but that doesn't happen. I was told to contact the advisor with any problems but i haven't needed to.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Start researching in 7th. grade or even earlier. Some schools have open houses in May or June. They are usually far less crowded and teachers are more available.

_______________

Name of School - Beacon High School
Location - New York City
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience :

Overall, happy with the school. Advisory is a big plus. Our daughter was struggling academically freshman year and her advisor was instrumental in helping her get organized, acclimate to high school and get her grades up. A couple of mediocre teachers early on but that seems to be true of any NYC school. Interesting and challenging work. Clubs are big. One issue is if your child does not get involved in community service in New Orleans things can become tough socially. Art, Drama, Photography, Sports are all available

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Ultimately I think you have to let your child make the decision as to where they want to spend the next 4 years.

___________

Beacon
Location - West 61st, Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:

My daughter is a freshman at Beacon. She loves it. The home work load has been heavy particularly in history and English although this may not be the case with other students in different classes with different teachers. The projects so far have been quite involved and interesting (history and English). It is difficult to comment on the teachers as one only meets with the child's advisor, but from my daughters view point she likes most of her teachers. Some seem to be "characters". We had one delicate situation which was handled carefully and diplomatically which I appreciated. I met with the advisor and my daughter in November for the first report card and had hoped to meet again after the second report card was issued but that doesn't happen. I was told to contact the advisor with any problems but i haven't needed to.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Start researching in 7th. grade or even earlier. Some schools have open houses in May or June. They are usually far less crowded and teachers are more available.

____________

Name of School - Beacon
Location - West 61st Street
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience :

Beacon clearly missed the mark on orienting students and parents about the transition to high school. Within a few days of starting school, my daughter was overloaded with homework assignments that took six to eight hours to complete. Also in the first days, some of the teachers were excessive about handing out a score of zero, particularly when my daughter accidentally went to the wrong class while trying to navigate being in a new building. The bulk of the first e-mails sent to parents were only about asking for money. I later found out that the orientation program for students was cancelled due to budget cuts. Has Beacon ever heard of volunteers that could have led this new family orientation?

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend with reservations

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Do not have expectations that the school is perfect. It is just like every other school filled with a few teachers that have mental health challenges, school budget problems and a lack of concern for parents' thoughts or opinions.

________________

Name of School - beacon high school
Location - manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:

I have never seen such passion in such a large percentage of the teachers at a school before I met the ones at Beacon--- My daughter is eager to please the teachers, and doesn't mind the homework load because she is proud of the work she is doing. She started the school knowing no other students and quickly made friends. She enjoys being at school and often stays late for drama or goes early for tutoring. It is a heavy e-mail school-the teachers communicate with students and parents via email, and it is easy for a parent to know about hmwk assignments, tests, etc. It is a small, hands-on school with literally no cracks for a child to fall into.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Most important: how does your child work best? Beacon is geared more toward kids who enjoy doing class presentations and projects as opposed to standardized tests.

______________

Name of School - Beacon School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - n/a
Location - West 61st Street, New York, NY
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience :

I have 2 daughters at Beacon -- 1 a freshman, 1 a senior. Totally different experiences (so far for the freshman), but both positive. Faculty is amazing. My older daughter had wonderful mentors and intellectual stimulation. I never heard from them; she formed her own relationships. Younger daughter struggling (Beacon is cool, but it IS rigorous), and I thanksfully heard from her teachers right away. Her math teacher called 4th day of school to talk about ways we could support her. We've been blown away. The facilty is a hair crowded, but the kids don't seem to mind. The prorams are wonderful. It's not as structured as some places, but for right kid, it's very challenging and very academically rich.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Talk to families of all kinds -- those who've been there, those who'v heard of things, those who've toured. Word on the street is most valuable of all.

______________

Name of School - Beacon High School
Location - New York, NY

Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:

Beacon is not all it is cracked up to be. The amount of challenging classes dwindle each year. There are now only 5 AP classes: Calculus, Biology Chemistry, Spanish and French The language department is only French and Spanish (Mandarin was canceled) and the advanced French is taught after school. The teachers are given a lot of independence in their the class rooms Last year a history teacher in global studies decided she didn't want to teach World War II and gave the students the choice of the Algerian war or the Cuban revolution.This choice may have been more interesting to the students but how do you "skip" teaching WWII? This year an English teacher only had the class read selections of "the Scarlet Letter" not the whole book. Condensed books for condensed minds?? The majority of teachers are great, caring and always willing to help their students. The administration leaves a lot to be desired. In many instances they are non-responsive to parents concerns. It takes hours of arguing to get them to pay attention to a problem and they are very resistant to change. Parents and teachers do not get to know each other through the school unless individuals make a concerted effort to meet. Parents meet with an "advisor" twice a year for 15 minutes to discuss problems or progress of your child. Advisors are teachers assigned to a group of students from 9th grade on who meet once a week with the group. Depending on the advisor discussions are held in a group as to matters that concern the students or the school. Advisors are supposed to be the intermediary between the student and parents and the rest of the teachers if there is a problem. Our advisor has been responsive when needed but I have heard of others who barely know the 15-20 kids in their advisory group. All this said, my son gets very good grades and is happy, which is most important, even though even he will admit he is not challenged very much.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend with reservations

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Speak to parents of children attending the school when you start lookling and when you make your decision Schools change a lot in a year or two

________________

Name of School - Berkeley Carroll School
Location - Park Slope
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience :

Berkeley Carroll has teachers who are very committed and AVAILABLE. The school also has a good peer tutoring program. For a small school, it offers a variety of classes and there is a lot of individual attention. Classes are small--never more than 16 or 17 and sometimes as little as 4 kids in a more specialized class. The school is good for hard-working, organized, bright kids. A lot is expected of the students and it is NOT the place for kids who aren't completely self-sufficient. On the whole, boys don't do nearly as well as girls here and the high school is 2/3 female. Of the boys that remain, about half are very smart and organized (oldest or only children, mostly) and the other half are struggling, getting low grades, and wrestling with self-esteem issues. The school favors the kids who have been there since kindergarten and does not do a good job of integrating new students into the high school. Many 9th graders feel unwelcome socially and it can take a long time for them to find a niche.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend with reservations

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Go with your gut feelings

___________

Name of School - Brooklyn Free School
Location - Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

Is this the school your child attends now?
no, he or she already graduated

Please write a review of your experience :

Brooklyn Free School is by no means a school for every family. It's small - right now about 60, and plans to grow to no more than about 70 or 75. It's also a K-12 school for 5 year olds through 19 year olds plus. There's none student there now who has Apsperger's who will probably stay through 20. We were founding parents, and find that the school has changed enormously since it started 6 years ago. Alan Berger, the director, has a tremendous learning curve, and has grown impressively in his abilities. The school just bought its own building and moved this year (January, 2010) and the new building makes a big difference to the school. There are now plenty of separate rooms for noisy/active and quiet/studious activities, classes and work. I'm an educator and familiar with democratic free schools all over the country, and as Jerry Mintz, the Director of AERO has said, Brooklyn Free School is the best free school he's ever seen. I believe him. The staff, especially the most experienced, Lily Mercogliano and David Easton are pretty fantastic, and formed wonderful relationships with our son, both inside and outside of the classroom. The twice a year descriptive reports and conferences that the school started in our son's second year are wonderful, and create a deep back and forth between the school and the family about your child's growth and development. Being parents of a Brooklyn Free School student is often more difficult for the parents than it is for the student. Most parents have to learn to trust their child's ability to heal from possibly bad previous schooling and learn to take charge of their own learning. This is something most parents have a lot of trouble doing. There are many families at the school who have enrolled their children because of their enthusiasm for the educational philosophy of the school. Then there are those families where the Brooklyn Free School is an option when so many other options didn't work for the child. So, maybe 50% of the students have had a difficult time in school previously, often because of some sort of learning or emotional special need. The school has become better at not taking in so many high-need children at once, and is integrating new students into the school community more easily than before. The school was amazing for the four years our son was there. He started out feeling like he couldn't get along with anyone his own age, that he was a loner, and that he wasn't that interested in most academic subjects . He graduated having friends of all ages, having taken many courses (Philosophy, Economics, Debate, History of Revolutions) that were on a college level and that he loved, and being passionate about learning all sorts of things that he had previously given up on. Perhaps most importantly, he also learned to respect a wide array of people who he would have hated before, and to trust the community and know that a group can work almost anything out. He was accepted into all three competitive private colleges he applied to, and is flourishing in college in every way. He sometimes comments on being sad about how so many of his classmates don't know that you can learn to like and respect anyone.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
If at all possible, visit the school when it is in session, and see how staff treat students in and outside of school, as well as who the students are and how they treat each other. Try to see the school through your child's eyes.



Name of School - The Brooklyn Latin School
Location - 325 Bushwick Avenue, Williamsburgh
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience :
It is very early in the year, however, I am very impressed by the Head Master, Jason Griffiths. He is very involved and actively seeking to make his school one of the best in the City. I haven't yet met the teaching staff, but I receive steady communication from one of the teachers, who is on leave from the prestigious Boston Latin School. He seems to be very involved and concerned, responsive and devoted. My child so far is doing fairly well. Hormones are in the way to some extent, but overall he is doing well. I heard of one incident with a student and that he was expelled. Have not received confirmation on it though and the student wasn't a freshman.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
We got here by happy accident so what advice can I give? Perhaps, don't judge a book by its cover. When I attended the school's orientation I was very impressed. You have to visit and not just go on rumor or perceived location. The location turned out to be just fine, although I had been worried about it. I can attend a meeting in the evening without worrying about it at all, and I like Williamsburgh enough to consider moving there.

______________



Brooklyn Technical High School
Location - Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience :
My son just started at Brooklyn Technical, in his first few months of 9th grade, so we are both still learning about the school. Some of my first impressions are below. The teachers are very good and surprisingly responsive given the size of the school. Everyone seems invested in wanting your child to succeed, although they have very set standards and basically expect your child to live up to them. The curriculum is very rigorous, in some ways more rigorous than the private school my son used to attend. Math and science were always his best loved subjects and the ones he did best in; now they are very tough with a lot of HW. It's been a transition. The humanities courses seem to cover interesting topics and he finds the teachers engaging. We've had one progress report and one teacher conference; again the teachers seemed to know my child and have constructive suggestions for improvement. Tutoring is available and there is a lot of info given out via email and robo calls believe it or not! My son was out sick and I got a call telling me he wasn't there, for instance.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Be open to the possibilities of each school and know that it might take some time to transition even if the school is a great one and/or a good fit for your child.

_________________

Frank Sinatra School of the Arts
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Drama
Location - Queens
Is this the school your child attends now?
no, he or she already graduated

Please write a review of your experience :
I found the only communication between teachers and parents was at parent/teacher conferences. Many phone calls I made to the school were not returned. None of my written communications or phone calls to the principal of the school were ever returned.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend with reservations

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Listen to what the kids who already attend the school have to say. Find kids who go to the school you are interested in and get their opinions. They have no reason to make you want to attend the schools so will be quite honest and frank with you about the experience.

_____________

Henry St School of International Studies
Is this the school your child attends now?
no, he or she already graduated

Please write a review of your experience :
The only positive this I have to say about this school is that it is a small, tight-knit community. Unfortunately, with the exception of a handful of teachers, I found most of that staff to be unprofessional when dealing with parents. Information regarding programs and college info was not forthcoming. It was like pulling teeth. I loved it when my child was jumped afterschool and was told afterward that staff had knowledge of the threat but no one called to let me know.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Do NOT recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Everything looks good on paper but its best to go and tour the schools and speak to students/parents to get feedback

_______________
High School for Math, Science and Engineering
Location - West Harlem, in City College

Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:

This is a very caring community. All the teachers seem to know my daughter. The program is rigorous but fair. There is a lot of help available if needed- before school, at lunch and after school. The schedule is on A/B days, which helps with the homework load. Report cards 6 times a year, which is nice for parents. Not great extracurriculars, but it is a small school.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Look at the college acceptances of the high school.

________________

Telecommunications
Location - Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
no, we only toured the school and my comments are based on impressions gathered on the tour

Please write a review of your experience :
The students at Telecommunications which we encountered did not look as if they were serious about being in school. They did not obide by the "no hats" policy and were hanging out aimlessly in the halls.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Do NOT recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
How do the students look like they are functioning in class. Are they bored looking, falling asleep?

_________________

HS of Telecommunications Arts and Technology
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - ISS
Location - Bay Ridge
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience :
1. Teachers seem very caring and engaged. Some are very skilled veterans but several are very young and relatively new to teaching. The veterans are more on top of assigning and grading homework and projects. 2. The building facilities are excellent - lab, beautiful library, theater\auditorium. However, there are no creative activities offered, such as drama, music or dance. 3. The school has acted immediately in cases of bullying, although intervention has not necessarily been successful. They have called immediately when any problem or issue has arisen, which is indicative of the generally good communications between the school and parents. However, the school has been unresponsive or defensive in the case of a difficult situation with one teacher. 4. HSTAT is one of the pilot schools using PupilPath.com. It is a very valuable tool to check up on what assignments are pending, what assignments your child has (or has not) completed or handed in, and how your child is doing during the current marking period on the spectrum between passing and failing. (Posting grades will not be mandatory for all teachers until next semester but several are using it now). Teachers can also send messages to parents through the site. 5. School has reputation for integrating children with special needs into the mainstream life of the school. I have found this to be exactly the opposite. Except for gym and lunch, sped students are kept apart in the Instructional Support Dept. and rarely interact with typical students. 6. That said, it would be an excellent school for non-sped kids. The principal is lovely and he is highly engaged in the life of the school and knows the students. There is a clear emphasis on academic achievement. It is a warm environment and both parents and students love the school and are intensely loyal. The Parent Coordinator is very available and helpful.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Try to speak with parents whose child is attending or has attended the school and has similar interests or concerns as your child.

__________

LaGuardia High School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - art
Location - Manhattan, Amsterdam & 65th
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
Skill of the teachers varies greatly - she has had some great teachers that have motivated her to excel - bur she has also had some really not so competent teachers also. We have not really had any difficult situations so I can;t address that. Feedback on your child progress varies by teacher also -- I often did not know of a problem until after the first marking period that being said the teacher all got back to me if called or emailed. The school is very traditional in teaching style so if your child is not used to that it is an adjustment.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Know whether you want a big school or small - my daughter likes LaGuardia and the size is no problem for her but for some kids it could be too big and impersonal

_________________
LaGuardia HS
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Instrumental Music
Location - NYC
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
My son has had an incredibly good experience at LAG. There are many different types of students of varying ability and interest but they are all great kids. My son is a senior and has never once seen a fight in or outside of school. (This was something I worried about when looking at high schools). The kids are incredibly nice and supportive of one another which I think, in part comes from them working collaboratively in their "majors" for 3 periods a day. For the size of the school, I am constantly astounded how well the teachers know my son --my calls and emails are always answered by the following day at the latest. The curriculum is probably more "traditional" than Beacon, for example, -- there are a lot of high achievers at the school and they offer a lot of AP and Honors courses. My son has had some really great teachers and a few duds in 4 yrs. -- which I think is par for the course. I had a very different impression of the school before he went there-- I was afraid he'd be gobbled up by it -- I was very wrong.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
trust your instincts-- you know your child better than anyone else.

_________________

LaGuardia
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Art
Location - 64 and 10th Ave.
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience :
It's been fairly easy for my daughter. She likes the art program and has been able to take honors classes in her sophmore year. She likes the after school clubs and they list plenty of extracurricular and summer opportunities in a variety of subjects. Like most schools, she likes some teachers better than others, but I'm sure this is universally true. At PT conferences, all the teachers remembered her despite the size of the school. Like other large, specialized high schools, I would imagine students would be more self motivated, and my daughter doesn't need much structure or guidance to stay on track, so I can't say how this would be with other types of students.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Go to the open houses, speak to students there now as well as graduates, and look on Insideschools.com

_______________
LaGuardia
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Drama
Location - Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience :
Since my son is new to LaGuardia, I haven't had enough experience to evaluate the school across all these elements. However, I would say that the teachers vary in quality although in his drama studio, they are excellent. The building is fairly new and therefore in much better condition than many of the other high schools we toured. They do have to travel long distances up many flights of stairs in a fairly short period of time, which is compensation for the limited amount of phys ed kids get in NYC.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Your child's happiness is an important element to keep in mind -- it doesn't always seem obvious when you are in the midst of deciding among different academic programs.

_______________

LaGuardia H.S.
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - vocal music
Location - Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience :
Very happy with the school -- quality of instruction for students who are motivated to seek out the best and most challenging classes, the responsiveness of the teachers and administration, and the overall experience.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

_____________________


Midwood HS
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Medical Science
Location - Flatbush
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
The classes have been more challenging that my daughter was used to but I mean this in a very good way. There seem to be no classroom management/behaviour issues despite large class size (35 kids to a class). Her English teacher is very demanding and raised the bar as far as essay writing goes. So far the transition to this huge, crowded school has been perfectly smooth. Things have been explained well and there has been very little confusion. Parent teacher conferences were valuable, and the parent coordinator is very very helpful and personable.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Don't overlook the obvious. Don't feel that if your child is not on the train an hour each way and they didn't write an essay, twirl a baton, and sparkle at an interview that they couldn't possibly be at a good school.

____________
Midwood HS
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Med/Sci Program
Location - Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
no, he or she already graduated

Please write a review of your experience:
It's a huge school. They have everything. There are some really great, world class teachers, and some mediocre ones. (My son had pretty good luck getting his schedule changed when he needed to. The counselors were pretty responsive.) The great thing about Midwood is they offer so much variety there is something for everybody. It's possible to get a truly great education there, or you can slack off and not take advantage of the opportunities offered if that's what your tendency is. If your child is self-motivated, I would say it's a great, great place. If your child needs somebody goading them all the time, maybe not. I always went to Parents' Night, and always had good interaction with the teachers. The administrators really care about the kids, and the Parent Coordinator, Carol Ardito, is the best in the business. I would definitely send my second child there if he gets in.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Know your child.

________________


Millenium
Location - Financial District, Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
no, we only toured the school and my comments are based on impressions gathered on the tour

Please write a review of your experience :
On the tour, I was impressed with how caring and thoughtful the students, teachers and principal seemed. They were also all whip-smart and serious about their work. The college office seems incredibly dedicated. I am looking to take my son out of private school and I would be very happy to see him at Millenium.

6. Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

7. What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Start early if you can. Do your research before you get the kid involved. Go easy on yourself.

__________
Millennium HS
Location - Lower Manhattan

Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience :
The teaching staff are all experienced, and teacher turnover is low. The facilities are very pleasant. Until they secure a real gym, students have use of a fully equipped executive gym (universal gym and running and biking machines). The school empowers and supports their students to improve their school and their world. Students are taught responsibility and consequences for their own actions in a very motivating and age appropriate way. Teachers are in regular contact with parents, either directly or via the child's designated advisor.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Seriously discuss with your child his/her aspirations and preferences. Big school vs. small, academically challenging, sports, clubs, music, drama and other arts, affiliations, etc. Remember, one student's "best fit" is not necessarily that of other children. Ask your child what he/she likes about his/her current school; also discuss what he/she would change and/or what he/she doesn't like at all. Meet regularly as a family to compare notes and listen to each other. Be aware that during the tour and application process, opinions and priorities will probably change. After talking, hug: it's hard for everyone in the family. Don't forget that you're all interested in the same thing: finding the best fit school for your child.


___________

Edward R. Murrow
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Drama
Location - Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience :

Excellent program for a high performing student that can and wants to navigate the system and advocate for themselves. Caring teachers that want to help the student achieve anything they try for. Particularly fine science research "intel track" classes. Excellent AP classes. Very supportive, collegial group of students. Very diverse and harmonious. Excellent Parent Coordinator! The experience with the dramatic productions is wonderful, but there is plenty of "drama" around personalities between the students and Drama dept. teachers. The subjective nature of the subject and the egos involved make it a mixed experience as I believe is true in many drama programs.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Only place schools on the application that you have toured. You will know a fit when you see it.

___________


Edward R. Murrow High School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Screened Theatre
Location - Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:

We as a family have been impressed by the caliber of teachers at ERMHS. The school has been accommodating around our son's IEP services and helpful in insuring that his needs are met. Students receive report cards 8 times a year with 4 formal opportunities for conferences. I have not had the need to contact a teacher during times other than the conferences. The administration of the school is accessible as well.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Know your kid. Know what type of environment works best for them.

_____________

Edward R. Murrow HS
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - N/A
Location - Avenue L and East 17th Street, Brooklyn, NY
Is this the school your child attends now?
no, he or she already graduated

Please write a review of your experience:

A group of highly skilled and dedicated teachers, who all seemed to enjoy working there. Murrow offers everything execpt team sports. It is very large, and offers little "hand-holding" requiring the students to take responsibility for getting to class and structuring their programs. There are many clubs and activities, and non-actors can audition and get parts in one of Murrow's famed Broadway-quality productions. Murrow is stuctured in a 4-cycle year, so there are 4 parent-teacher conferences a year, instead of the usaul two. It provides better feedback than the more traditional schools.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Know how much stucture your child needs. Murrow is far less structured than traditional high schools. Some students thrive, others get lost.

_________________________

Poly Prep
Location - Brooklyn

Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience :

I wouldn't recommend this school for everyone, but it has worked for us. For one thing, it's very expensive (about $30,000 a year for all expenses). You do get a great looking campus and wonderful faciliities. There is a football field, a great gym, ceramics kilms, new art studios, a building dedicated to science labs, and a professionally equipped theatre. Some teachers are great, with years of experience, while others are new and awful. One French teacher only lasted a year, but since she in essence stopped teaching in the middle of the year, handicapped the kids for years to come. On the other hand, one English teacher - Shawn Mullin - was inspirational to the kids in his class. The science and math teachers seem particularly dedicated. I wish the teachers were more cooperative in answering emails and phone calls, but on the other hand, they have been available for questions and tutoring for my child most of the time The school hasn't always been swift to react to discipline problems, but when they do, the act decisively. They have expelled students for theft.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend with reservations

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
If you can arrange for your child to sit in on a class, do it! While the school can put on a best face during tours and open houses, they can't hide what is going on in the classroom.

________________
Stuyvesant
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - NA
Location - Downtown Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience :

Everything that we heard about Stuy was true (even though we disregarded it in some cases). The teachers are a mixed bag. It appears now that my child is in an upper grade that the really fine teachers are reserved for the AP and very high level classes. We found that in general the humanities teachers have been stronger than the other subjects so far. Because of the test, Stuy attracts a very specific type of kid. They are super competitive. We thought that my child would be immune to it, but that proved not to be the case. I have hated the focus, pressure and "good natured" ridicule that has come with it. If your child doesn't want to participate in this culture, look elsewhere. I will say that the administration and some teachers have been superb in their support of my child and our family. They know that families need help and when you reach out, they give it in spades. The parent coordinator, guidance staff and AP's in charge of different academic departments are the absolute finest anywhere (public or private). My child will look back on it as a good experience overall. I am the one with the emotional scars because I encouraged my child to attend.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend with reservations

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
When your child is accepted at a specialized school, try and separate what you know about your child and the school from the glamor. If you go just with the "name" you will be disappointed. Pick the school that is right, not the school that is most famous. And sometimes the right school will be the famous one.

_______________

Scholars Academy
Location - Rockaway Park, NY
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:


My son is a freshman at this school. He also attended middle school here. It is a relatively new school that started out as a G&T middle school only, but now is branching out into a selective (85 + average required) high school. For that reason, the extracurriculars and advanced programs are not yet clear, although the AP courses are now beginning to appear, as is the college now program. In middle school, all students take the biology, earth science and algebra regents and there is similar acceleration in high school, so that AP and college courses can be taken. There are a number of astonishingly good teachers at this school, and, although my son has found a few not so great teachers, those have either improved or not lasted long. The orinciple is a strong, clear leader and has set a tone of collaboration with teachers and parents that is refreshing and very useful. He has open access hours each month before the PTA meeting and is available to anyone who wants to talk to him. The website and various other internet communication devices are very well used. The facilities are excellent and the principle's careful use of his funding has resulted in a technologically advanced and attractive school. The school's gimmick is collaboration, and all classes are taught in groups. Although this may be a great modality for some students, it does not work particularly well for my son, who can get quite distracted. In addition, because it is a new school, the level of student is not yet as high as I would want--there are quite a few "slackers" at the school and they bring down the level of discussion and teaching. Nonetheless, I believe that my son, who is doing very well, is getting an excellent education.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Go to the school, talk to other parents, look at the type and level of leadership of the school

Urban Academy HS
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - n/a
Location - East 67th Street, btwn 1st & 2nd Ave
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience :

Terrific school where children are allowed to think for themselves, express in a variety of ways (art, photo, drama, write, etc); Two college days a year take ALL kids out of the classroom to visit campuses and sit in on classes and meet with admission folks; Mixed age classes, small classes -none more than 15 kids - thoughtful teachers with personal relationships with the kids help them grow into young adults; A bit of a lax attitude on graduation "on time" so some kids stay longer than traditional schools ...

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
We thought we picked the right school in stuyvesant but after two years transferred out as my child was unhappy... academically and emotionally and not getting the support she needed from a huge specialized school. Even when you think you have the right fit - it's important to stay involved and aware and not worry if it's not the right fit. There is always a solution.

________________

Urban Academy Laboratory High School
Location - 67 Street & 2nd Av, Manhattan, NY
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience :
Positive: Teachers are very dedicated, smart, and involved with the students. This is a small school, 135 or so students, who mostly transfer in from other high schools where they had been floundering. My child, who had been on a consistent downward spiral since 4th grade, is now interested in school--this school--and is attending every day. While he is still not doing all the work he needs to, he looks forward to school and that is a very big step. The classes are seminar-style, and kids feel they have a voice that is respected. The teachers are accessible and their report cards are thorough, with several paragraphs written by each. Needs improvement: There needs to be tighter reins on the kids and homework, I feel, as many of these kids (judging from tonight's parent teacher meetings) are not doing their work despite their enthusiastic participation in class. Also, there are no language classes offered although children may take classes at a NYC college. There is very little physical education, and none required. I highly recommend this school if your child is under-achieving. I was at my rope's end before my son transferred here. I truly feel that Urban is a life-saver for my child.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Never put down a school that you would not willingly send your child to. Never!

___________________


Name of School - Xavier High School
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience :

Skill of teachers: Teachers all seem to know and care for their students. The facility and programs offered: Extremely rigorous curriculum -- regents exams are therefore not required How the school dealt with difficult situations: Little to no tolerance for most infractions. Detention is swiftly given out. Expulsions are not unheard of. Feedback you received about your child's progress: Progress reports are handed out before any report card. Teachers quickly respond to phone calls/emails/notes. Parents can view hw on website.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people who are looking for the right school to help them choose the one that is the best fit for them/their family.
Going for a Shadow Day is a very valuable way to get in and view the day-to-day real deal.

_____________

2 comments:

  1. These are awesome thank you. I'd love to hear a review of Eleanor Roosevelt High, American Studies at Lehman, and Bronx Science.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice post, I bookmarked your blog because I found very good information on your blog, Thanks for sharing.
    Laboratory Equipment manufacturer

    ReplyDelete