2013 High School Reviews


Name of School - Bard -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 10th grade daughter loves Bard. She has made great friends and thrives on the intellectual stimulation. However, it is very challenging, and as other have said, she got her first C's at Bard and not for lack of effort. The classes are quite challenging and move very quickly.The teachers vary. All are highly educated, but that does no translate directly to skill in teaching teenagers. There have been some wonderful teachers for sure and no total losers. I was always skeptical about the pace of the school and I do wish it moved slower, but it has been a great choice for us.

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:
Bard is definitely not for every kid. It is very tough with many hours of intense homework . However, if your kid is up for it, it's a great school.

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Name of School - Bard High School Early College
Location - Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
The school is wonderful. The classes are small. The teachers are dedicated and mostly have PhDs. It is a rigorous curriculum and requires a lot of time for homework. My son spends 2-3 hours a night and about 6 hours on weekends. There is a lot of help for those who are having trouble. We have not had any difficult situations so far. Conferences with teachers are short but they really seem to know my son and I am sure they would be available for a longer conference if it was needed. Your child will graduate with college credits and an associates degree from Bard College. Your child will really learn how to think and write.

Did your child use the school's college office? If yes, would you like to add some information about that experience? Did they help with the search? Applications? Were they helpful with parent's questions? Were they speedy in getting transcripts, recommendations, etc to the colleges?
My child is only in ninth grade, but there is a lot of help with college counseling and they begin preparing the children and parents for the transition to college in ninth grade.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Make sure your child wants to go here. The child has to be motivated to work very hard.

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Name of School - Bard High School Early College
Location - East Houston Street NYC
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
Very complex academics - high expectations Caring instructors - humane administration They expect kids to be independent and advocate for themselves; some 9th graders may not be ready for that

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:
Fit with student and student's choice


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Name of School - Bard High School Early College
Location - Manhattan (LES)
Is this the school your child attends now?
no, he or she already graduated in June 2012

Please write a review of your experience:
My daughter attended BHSEC her freshman and sophomore years and then we transferred her out the beginning of her junior year. My daughter chose Bard because she wanted an academically challenging environment and small classes with engaged students, all of which Bard has. She was warned by her middle school guidance counselor that Bard was very difficult, but we didn't realize just how difficult it would be. She went from an easy straight A student in middle school to a C average student at Bard. The math and science are ridiculously difficult for high school students who aren't inclined to do well in math and science. My daughter regularly got D's at best in those subjects (and that was only with intensive tutoring). She enjoyed her English, history, language and art classes, but the math and science were so painful for her that it took away from any enjoyment of her other classes. Her self esteem and motivation plummeted. She chose Bard because she is very smart, creative and loves to write. But the emphasis on such a rigorous academic curriculum made the arts very thin. In the end she was very sorry she hadn't chosen Beacon or LaGuardia instead. Those would have been better choices for my creative, artistic and non-conformist daughter. We are now starting to think about colleges, but are worried about her limitations because of her fairly low GPA from Bard. We were drawn to the associates degree given at Bard, and ironically left after she had technically finished the high school program because we couldn't stand to see her suffer for two more years. I think that Bard is a very good school for the right type of kid (those who are very mature, independent, academically competitive, and don't mind spending all of their time studying). But if your kid doesn't fit their mold, or needs extra help, they will fall through the cracks. My husband and I loved Bard when we toured it, and encouraged her to go there. But we are adults, not 14 year olds. And not all 14 year olds are ready for a serious college curriculum at that age. My daughter certainly wasn't.

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:
Know your kid and what kind of environment is best for them
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Name of School - Bard High School Early College
Location - Lower East Side 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:
There are some amazing teachers at Bard. Some teach at both the high school and college level. And like any school, there are some teachers who are not quite as amazing. The work is extremely challenging and time consuming and students who have done exceptionally well in middle school may see their grades drop until they adjust to the program. Whenever there is an issue, however, the response from teachers has been immediate.

Did your child use the school's college office? If yes, would you like to add some information about that experience? Did they help with the search? Applications? Were they helpful with parent's questions? Were they speedy in getting transcripts, recommendations, etc to the colleges?
The College Transfer Office is extremely helpful at Bard and each year, starting in ninth grade, they hold an information meeting to let parents and students know what they should be thinking or doing about college searches and applications.

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.
Guide your children toward the schools you think might be best and then let them make the choice.
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Name of School - Bay Ridge Prep
Location - Bay Ridge, 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:
There are quite a few superb teachers at Bay Ridge Prep. The head of school is also extraordinary. His genuine love of teaching and of this age group comes across in everything he does. We had a problem with one teacher last year and spoke to the head of school about it. I was expecting that the head would minimize my concerns and not take any action. Instead, he listened carefully, took my concerns seriously and took immediate action to rectify the problem.

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.
Visit the school with your child. Make an appointment to talk with the head of school. Talk with other parents about their experiences with the school.

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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:
The teachers are just great. They have high standards and expect a lot from kids - treat them like intelligent human beings capable of doing great work. This has been across the board for two years now. We communicate by email - all but one has been really responsive. And as others have mentioned, we never meet the teachers except at the beginning of the year when they present their curriculum. After that, it's through advisors. yet, as I said, the teachers are definitely available via email. This all said, my son who was an a/b student through middle school, struggles to get b's and the random a. I attribute this to his disorganization and spotty work habits. There is a moderate amount of work - 1 to 3 hours of homework a night. But he is engaged and likes his classes. Freshman year was a rude awakening, this year has been much better, and hoping that next year gets even better. The teachers are all available for tutoring and extra help, and that has helped enormously. Socially, he's having too good a time. What they say about there being lots of marijuana is very true. So keep your eyes open.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Visit the schools and talk to other parents.
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Name of School - Beacon High School
Location - West 61st St.
Is this the school your child attends now?
no, he or she already graduated in June 2012

Please write a review of your experience:
Beacon has many strengths including a creative and generally interesting curriculum but it's really not all it's cracked up to be. Most of the teachers are good, some great, but my daughter certainly had her share of mediocre, inexperienced teachers. The real drawback to Beacon, however, is that they seem to accept a certain type of child--white, middle to upper class child who went to one of a handful of the same public or private middle schools. It's not nearly as diverse socially, economically or racially as LaGuardia, where my other child went, and a whole lot clique-ier. I think it's a good school academically. My daughter worked hard and was prepared when she got to college but, honestly, I couldn't wait until she got out of the whole Beacon scene and nor could she.

Did your child use the school's college office? If yes, would you like to add some information about that experience? Did they help with the search? Applications? Were they helpful with parent's questions? Were they speedy in getting transcripts, recommendations, etc to the colleges?
Beacon's college office was fairly helpful.

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:
To really consider what is best for your child and not get drawn into which schools are the most popular at the moment.

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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:
Skill of teachers: very supportive, excellent communication with parents. The facility & programs offered: Pretty good, although electives fill up quickly due to the number of students in the school. This can be frustrating of your child wants a particular elective. How the school deals with difficult situations: The teachers and advisors seem to respond appropriately to parental concerns, and appear to be responsive to the student when seeking help. Feedback re: child's progress: If a parent inquires about their child's progress, the feedback from the teacher is quick, and teachers appear to know (your) child. Meeting the teacher individually will occur upon request. Communication with the advisor is regular if needed and requested.

Did your child use the school's college office? If yes, would you like to add some information about that experience? Did they help with the search? Applications? Were they helpful with parent's questions? Were they speedy in getting transcripts, recommendations, etc to the colleges?
Yes. We are in the early stages of this process. It appears the college office is responsive, and helpful. Juniors fill out a comprehensive questionnaire and meet with the college office mid spring, junior year. If the college office feels your child needs greater assistance, they will meet with him/her weekly to help with organization.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Beacon is a highly social school with lots of social pressure. It is not very structured, thus if your child needs this, and tends to be unfocused adjustment may be difficult. The reality is, if Beacon was in the suburbs, it would be just a regular school.

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The Beacon School
Location - West 61st St 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:
It is my daughter's Junior year and she can only complain of the skills of two teachers in her 3 years. Both classes she did well in as she says she liked the teachers and they were motivating but that they did not live up to the skills of the other great teachers she has been blessed with. We have been fortunate enough to not have had ":difficult situations to deal with" but have found the school, her adviser, and teachers responsive to all communications. Our daughter is very independent and has been able to deal with most situations on her own. At Beacon that is important to be able to do. A couple other reviews complained of a lack of diversity. I find Beacon much more diverse than where she went to middle school.

Did your child use the school's college office?
Our daughter just had her meeting with the college office. She had a positive experience with the college officer. I would rather not say more until I have more to go on, of course.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Go to the tour. Get there early.

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Beacon High School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - NA
Location - Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
We feel like we won the lottery! We were hoping my son would go to private school for high school because we wanted more focused attention and smaller class sizes. Then he got into Beacon-- this was his first choice. We were concerned because we new the level of work/HW was very high at Beacon and with so many kids, we weren't sure he would get the support he needed. WE WERE WRONG! The level of work is a lot but not unmanageable. He is completely supported by all his teachers. They are available in the morning, during lunch and sometimes after school. The school would prefer you use their support rather then outside tutors. The teachers are in touch with me regarding missing homework or low test scores. My son's Spanish 1 teacher is OUTSTANDING! She is always communicating through email and is available throughout the week for tutoring. My son is doing very well in her class but took a test when he was not feeling well. He scored uncharacteristically low. She allowed him to take a retest. The school is all about the kids learning. If the kid wants to learn-- the teachers are there to support. The one complaint I have is that I found the Parent Teacher Conferences to be useless. You don't get to meet with their teachers (although they will always meet you at another scheduled time) so you review your childs progress report with their adviser who is not necessarily a teacher. Also, they hand out the progress report while you are sitting with them which doesn't give you the opportunity to review it before hand and come up with questions or concerns. My son skipped his English class because he was afraid of not having a homework assignment completed. The English teacher was aware that he was in school but not in her class and emailed me. I was impressed. The space is tight and my son's ninth grade class was over enrolled by 50 kids this year. They seem to be handling it well but they are in desperate need of the new building which they will be moving into in 2 years. There are great afterschool programs. The sports are excellent but because the teams are so outstanding, a lot of sports oriented kids are left out because if you are not currently on a travel team, you probably won't make the tryouts. I wish they had something physical to keep the kids in shape all year round-- like a boot camp.

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



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Name of School - Benjamin Banneker Academy for Community Development
Location - Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
no, he or she already graduated in June 2012

Please write a review of your experience:
My daughter had a very good experience with the school. All of her teachers were very well qualified and gave feedback to the parents. They use a system of online feedback like Jupiter Grades, or something like that as well as being open to conference with parents at any time it is needed. Administration is accessible and responsive with parents. They have a traditional college prep program, with lots of AP classes and honors classes. The english teachers are extremely experienced and skilled at preparing the students for the type of work they will encounter in college. There is after school and saturday tutoring for students who struggle with difficult regents subjects like chemistry and physics. The sports programs are very good, and also the Dance program. Very small music program - no band.

Did your child use the school's college office? If yes, would you like to add some information about that experience? Did they help with the search? Applications? Were they helpful with parent's questions? Were they speedy in getting transcripts, recommendations, etc to the colleges?
The college advisor is helpful and knowledgeable, and they will help any students with their college search process, provided the student is pro-active and goes to the college office to seek out help. They have scholarship information, knowledge of special programs and will meet with parents when requested. After the Christmas break, the office gets very busy and some things do get backed up. the student or the parent has to follow-up on their applications.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Talk to other parents and students at a school if you can, visit the school's web site and go to a PTA mtg if you can. They are open to the public.

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Name of School - Bronx HS of Science
Location - Bronx, 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:
Very impressed with the teachers and the broad array of courses. Many AP and honors classes to choose from in a wide variety of subjects. Greenhouse and Planetarium inspires courses in Horticulture and Astronomy. Theater, Art and Music programs are strong. Known for great Math and Science programs, the Humanities are just as strong and engaging. Jupiter grades allows for you to see your child's homework assignments, project and test scores on a daily basis. Teachers all respond immediately by email if there are questions or concerns. If there are difficult situations parents and students are informed right away.

Did your child use the school's college office? If yes, would you like to add some information about that experience? Did they help with the search? Applications? Were they helpful with parent's questions? Were they speedy in getting transcripts, recommendations, etc to the colleges?
My child is in touch with the assigned Guidance Counselor, who holds small group meetings and will answer any questions regarding College choice. We are not at the search stage yet but have attended "College night" meetings with admissions officers from noteworthy colleges.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Bronx science is a large school with large class sizes, teachers are responsive if you ask them for help but your child needs to be independent, disciplined, organized and willing to deal with the long commute.

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Name of School - The Brooklyn Latin School
Location - Brooklyn, 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 daughter, now a sophmore, was initally disappointed that she was going to Brooklyn Latin, but it has exceeded our wildest expectations, and we feel extraordinarily lucky to be at this amazing school. From the start, TBLS set the tone with a personal phone call welcoming my daughter to the school and inviting her to attend "buddy" day--spending the day at school. The summer before freshman year, my daughter attended a three-day team building workshop at Princeton Blairstown, where she made friends and got to know faculty. Freshman also go on a trip to Boston, where they visit Boston Latin and three colleges. The curriculum is challenging and thought provoking. Students take Latin, Spanish, History, English, Science (physics in freshman year), Art History, and Phys Ed. Every class has "seminar," where students discuss material using reasoned arguments. Declamation--public speaking--is also integrated into the curriculum. The school has an outstanding team of dedicated teachers, many with advanced degrees and ivy league backgrounds, led by a visionary headmaster. All teachers have office hours where students can go for extra help, and the atmosphere is warm and encouraging--help is always available for students who want it. The school has an excellent parent coordinator, and whenever we have had an issue, the teachers have been extremely responsive to email. Brooklyn Latin is one of only two public schools where every student participates in the IB (International Baccalaureate) Program (every class is the equivalent of an AP class) in Junior and Senior years. The school has sends report cards eight times a year (there are interim grades) and student-led teacher conferences, where students learn to be their own advocates and set goals with the help of their teachers. One of the drawbacks has been the school's lack of a gym, but this September, it is moving to a new building with a gym. I wish the school was getting its own building, but the new facility is a big step up. I really can't say enough about this school, and how it has helped my daughter grow personally and academically. It's a very special place.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Don't be swayed by hype.

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Name of School - Brooklyn Latin
Location - Williamsburg
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
Brooklyn Latin is one of the new specialized high schools with a focus on a classic education including Latin, Art History and the Sciences. It also incorporates the International Baccalaureate as part of its program. The teachers are dedicated and show tremendous insight about the students. I have only positive things to say about our experience with the 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:
If you are lucky enought to be accepted at Brooklyn Latin, don't hesitate to say yes!!



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Name of School - The Brooklyn Latin School
Location - Bushwick. 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:
The most talented and driven group of teachers I have ever seen in one location. They all seem to be over-achievers. If you are looking for a challenging place for your child this is it. What worked in middle school will not be enough at TBLS. Very demanding curriculum which includes four years of Latin, mandatory public speaking, and the International Baccalaureate program is not for slackers. It took my child a year to get with the program but then wow what a difference. As a parent I am very happy with our high school choice. The school has a core group of leaders who promote the TBLS way and set the tone for the entire school. This core has successfully handled difficult situations and I expect this to continue. We were nervous about the location but have personally not had any issues with safety or security. Don't let your kid hang out in the area and you should be fine.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
The fact that your child has a friend going to a school is not a good reason to pick a school.
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Name of School - Brooklyn Prospect Charter School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - International Baccalaureate
Location - Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
Brooklyn Prospect Charter School is a college-prep school in District 15 using the pillars of the International Baccalaureate program and integrating the best practices of public and private schools. Growing to a full Grade 6-12 school (younger and older sibling preferences apply), in 2012-2013, Brooklyn Prospect High School opened with the inaugural class (Class of 2016) moving up to 9th grade. The principal, Kim Raccio, is fabulous and the faculty is outstanding. My daughter loves the focus on global, regional and local issues, takes challenging classes (including Mandarin IV and advanced math), has terrific teachers who give students personalized attention and extension choices, and has a reasonable amount of homework that still allows time for several extracurriculars. The school is welcoming of parent involvement and there is an excellent rapport between parents and the administration. With about 100 students on a grade and more than 25 clubs and sports, there is plenty of opportunity for students to find leadership positions and try new things, which helps in building a strong resume for their college applications.

Did your child use the school's college office?
Brooklyn Prospect is college-prep and discussions about achieving success in college and careers take place beginning in middle school Advisory (groups of 10-12 students). In 9th grade students discuss the Common App and careers choices. The first class will graduate in 2016, so there is no track record yet, but the teachers are alumni of some of the best colleges (Brown, Columbia, Duke, NYU, Stanford, Yale, and others). My daughter applied for an outside program and Brooklyn Prospect was very helpful, sending her transcript and teacher recommendation promptly. I have full confidence that the guidance counselor and registrar will be similarly supportive when it comes to the college search process and the application process in the years ahead.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Get information from multiple sources - online, info sessions, school tours of course, but also talk to current students (not just the ones the school puts forward), recent graduates, their parents, go to a meeting of the PTA/PA organization, attend a school event, etc. etc. More information helps draw out the differences among schools and only your/your child will know which ones are important to your family.

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Name of School - Brooklyn technical HS
Location - Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
My child is a freshman. She is very happy at the school. The Vice Principal of parent engagement is very helpful in terms of answering questions and getting back to you. The students I find have to advocate for themselves much more. I email the teachers and often I do not hear back from them. Also certain subjects it is hard to get a handle on why she is not doing well, Like chorus. Also the math teacher gives way more homework and doesn't seem to correct it. I wish I had a better way to communicate concerns with the teachers.

Did your child use the school's college office? If yes, would you like to add some information about that experience? Did they help with the search? Applications? Were they helpful with parent's questions? Were they speedy in getting transcripts, recommendations, etc to the colleges?
Not yet she is only a freshman.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
It's a very big school so have your child get involved with a club or team and try to contact department heads if you have a problem. Also the VP of parent engagement is very helpful. Get in touch with her early on.

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Name of School - Brooklyn Technical High School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Mechanical Engineering Major
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:
Many great teachers, although not all. Math department has been particularly challenging for us. Teachers have free reign over the level of work in their class - not based on preparing for the regents, whether or not its an honors class, just that teacher's whim. And no ability to move to another section. My son's grades over three years have been all over the place depending on how his teacher that year pitched the work, although he consistently aces the Regents. A drag on his GPA and self-esteem and it seems really unnecessary. On the positive side, I'm always surprised how well the teachers know each student in such a big school. And the facilities and subjects offered are great for a kid interested in Engineering. That said, the most challenging major is Social Science Research, which is not science-related at all.

Did your child use the school's college office? If yes, would you like to add some information about that experience? Did they help with the search? Applications? Were they helpful with parent's questions? Were they speedy in getting transcripts, recommendations, etc to the colleges?
We've just started the college search process but so far I'm pleasantly surprised by the Tech college office. They've been amazing helping us through the challenging process of getting testing accommodations from the College Board. They are always emails about trips to different colleges they've set up, college reps coming to Tech, lots of data online - all very helpful.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Kids' interests change over the four years of high school. Laguardia kids end up majoring in sciences in college and Tech kids end up in art school.

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Brooklyn Tech
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Law and Society
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 in the box provided: Try to give some specific information about your experience-- what you liked and disliked (if anything) and include feedback on things such as:: ----Skill of teachers ----The facility and programs offered ----How the school dealt with difficult situations ----Feedback you received about your child's progress
Mostly very strong teachers, with few duds. Very pleased at how good her history and English teachers have been, since the school doesn't have as strong a reputation for humanities as it does for math/science. She's been happy to have a major for her junior and senior years and the size of the school hasn't been an issue. First year students pretty much stay together all year, which helps them navigate what could otherwise be overwhelming. But class sizes are big, which isn't going to be suitable for everyone.

Did your child use the school's college office? If yes, would you like to add some information about that experience? Did they help with the search? Applications? Were they helpful with parent's questions? Were they speedy in getting transcripts, recommendations, etc to the colleges?
She has used the college office a lot. They have been more helpful to the students than I had feared, but not necessarily as in-depth as at a smaller school. Parents still need to keep on top of deadlines, searches, applications. But all her transcripts/recommendations, etc have been sent with no difficulties.

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!



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Name of School - Harvest Collegiate
Location - Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
We are extremely impressed. The teachers are extremely creative , patient, enthusiastic and attuned to the students. The curriculum is project based and there's lots of writing. Classes are small and the humanities electives are fascinating but also demanding. The only negative in my mind is the choice to teach physics in 9th grade as opposed to bio or earth science.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Listen to your kid.

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Name of School - Hunter College 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:
Its a great school, lot of interesting kids. There are a lot of cliques, however and some children are very self absorbed. The school deals well with difficult situations I think. The principal is very engaged. Feedback is there if you need it, but they are not very responsive to specific complaints about teachers.

Did your child use the school's college office? If yes, would you like to add some information about that experience? Did they help with the search? Applications? Were they helpful with parent's questions? Were they speedy in getting transcripts, recommendations, etc to the colleges?
They have a new counseling department that I think is going to very helpful.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Do your best to see the other kids that go there Snap decisions are sometimes highly accurate.

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 iSchool NYC
Location - Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
While we expected more from the school based on info and references we had before we put it on list we don't see any major lapses and drawbacks . Could be more extracurricular activities but it is freshman year so will see later. Teachers are mostly young and seem to like their job . Progress is updated every day by email ("Jupiter grades") . Would appreciate more interaction, teacher-parent conference is actually a meeting with homeroom teacher only. Reasonable amount of homework , usually takes less than an hour. A lot (or most) of it done and submitted online. Facilities-school takes two top floors in Chelsea HS Building, there is shared gym only ,no elevator.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Set expectations for both school and your child real and remembers that kids will have only one childhood in their life.

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Name of School - John Dewey High School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Computer Science Institute (C.S.I.)
Location - 50 Avenue X, Gravesend, Brooklyn, 11223
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
John Dewey High School has been a wonderful experience for my son. The school is much, much better than people say, or set it out to be, people do not give this school enough credit. I laud it for having so many different courses and extracurricular activities. The school offers so much resources, especially for my junior son who is currently attending SAT prep classes, regents review, after school tutoring, college assemblies for college prep, the College Now program to get college credits while in high school, college visits, student exchange programs, a lot of clubs he joined to share similar interests with peers, and provides a safe and relaxed environment for him. I actually think my son has spends more time at the school than he does at home. By the way, he's in the Computer Science Institute, which is highly regarded in the school. It's where the most advanced and intellectually gifted kids go, not all of them though, because entry is solely based on high grades and near perfect attendance. There are over 15 AP classes to take in which he has already taken two. His teachers are dedicated and go an extra mile to help out those lost in the shuffle, some stay after school and some willingly take the weekends to help students. While many people might say it is not that challenging, it depends on the program your child is in and what classes he/she is in. If you take advantage to what the school offers, you'll find yourself overwhelmed. There are also various languages offered such as French, Italian, Russian, Spanish and Chinese. The school even has its own kitchen! Students prepare food throughout the year, it's part of the CTE Culinary Arts Institute. It's truly impressive. Dewey offers 8 different majors, all of them are oriented towards one focus, whether it be visual art, theater, culinary arts, computer science, health, business, robotics and technology, or simply the experimental (International House) program which is a general program for students not interested in any major or career-oriented program. There is also a huge library in which many students relax during their lunch or free periods in a quieter environment. There's also a fair share of art classes, including a huge ceramics studio in which students make murals to beautify the school and classrooms. The teachers, for the most part, have been excellent. When my child does exceptionally good, I receive a call from the teacher, or an e-mail on PupilPath. However, there were two or three occasions where he did not like the teacher; other than that, John Dewey has some wickedly talented teachers. Their experience is impressive, and I take note of this at the parent-teacher conferences. Thankfully, my son has never been bullied or witnessed any bullying, but there are some occasional fights. Students are allowed to leave campus during the warm weather for their lunch and free periods. They can relax on the 13-acre campus. Dewey is nothing but unconventional in every aspect. Some classrooms look traditional, but the teaching is not classical, it's different. Apparently, that's what the school's foundation was based on. Of course, John Dewey is not for everyone as it has a very laid back, do-it-yourself, independent and autonomous environment. You make your own decisions here. Send your child to this school only if he/she is really dedicated, because it is very easy to trail off and cut at Dewey. That might be the only con for some, but it does brand student responsibility; which is something I like. There's always something going on at Dewey, and for that, it continues to thrive despite some budget cuts. The school also has great communication, and both the principal and the guidance counselor are readily reachable. I always hear about what happened in his classes when he comes home, or to hear his reason for coming home late. Helping construct a robot, or taking a prep class, or painting after school, it's anything and everything. This school truly has so much to offer.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Visit the schools you are interested in. Some are very strict while others are laid back. By visiting the school, you'll get to see if the environment is fit for your child or not.

________________


Name of School - LaGuardia Arts
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Drama
Location - 65th and Amsterdam
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 drama program is excellent and engaging and feels like a small school within a big school. They manage to create an atmosphere of inclusion, support and encouragement in spite of the huge egos many of the kids in the program have. The academics are mixed. The overwhelming M.O. is teach to the test and there is very little creativity. Some teachers are excellent and some are terrible. Many are somewhere in between. The guidance counselors are very responsive and teachers seem to know my child much better than they did in his much smaller middle school. There are many kids who are serious about academics but more who aren't and it is easy for a kid who is unsure to get swept up in the idea that they are artists and don't need to study hard.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
The arts are a hugely important part of education and can form the foundation of a child's interest in many other things. For that, LaGuardia can't be beat. However, if your child is needing some inspiration to stay engaged in academics, this may not be the best fit.

_______

Name of School - Fiorello LaGuardia High School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Vocal Major
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 daughter is in her Junior year at LaGuardia. She is in vocal talent. She loves her school and has made great friends there. "Friends for a lifetime", she says. There are AP classes for students that wish to take them (you usually need to have a 90 average on the subject), they offer about 15 AP classes. My daughter is in AP English Language & Composition, AP Italian, and AP Environmental Science. The school day is long (usually 8am to 4:10pm), but there's not a lot of homework, at least compared to Mark Twain (where my daughter went to middle school), so there's time to socialize. They have many after-school clubs, as well as a Science enrichment program called DaVinci Scholars. I know nothing about the DaVinci program, but my daughter has attended a couple of the after school clubs. The club catalog this year has 8 pages! The academics are very good, although there are a few teachers that leave a lot to be desired. Last year we had a problem with a incompetent Chemistry teacher, but my daughter was able to switch classes after we complained (this usually can be done mid-year). The Chemistry teacher is no longer at the school. This year we had an issue with a Math teacher (mostly because Math is my daughter's weakest subject and the Algebra II/Trig teacher did not take enough time for questions and review), but again my daughter was able to transfer to another class mid-year. Her History teacher this year is weak, but is not enough of a problem for her to rearrange her schedule. If there is a problem with a teacher, I suggest speaking to the Guidance dept right away to request a transfer. For such a large school, the teachers do keep you informed of what's going on with the kids. I got a call from a math teacher last year to find out why my daughter was out (she was sick), because she had missed an important test. This year the English teacher called me to let me know that my daughter had been late to class 7 times! Some teachers also communicate via email. They don't let kids slip through the cracks. But as a parent, you have to be involved, ask questions, attend parent-teacher conferences, etc. I think you would have to be disconnected in order to not know what's happening with your child at the school. There are some stand-out teachers at the school. Particularly in the talent areas, there are teachers that are worshiped. In the vocal talent you can witness that at school performances: kids cheer LOUDLY for their teachers. For creative kids, this is a stellar school. The problem is that, with so many talented kids, the school does not have enough performance opportunities for everyone, and the competition is fierce. However, the students really do support one another at school performances. They also create their own opportunities outside school: they put on shows, they gig in different venues around the city (many kids are in bands, even kids that are not in music talent). If you're looking for a progressive, no Regents testing school, this is not it. All the kids have to take the Regents. If you're looking for strictly academics, this is not the school either, the creative/talent factor is HUGE. Some kids can get absorbed in that at the expense of academics. Having said that, there are kids that do not plan to pursue their talent in college. My daughter has a good friend in the Art talent that wants to be a neuroscientist.

Did your child use the school's college office? If yes, would you like to add some information about that experience? Did they help with the search? Applications? Were they helpful with parent's questions? Were they speedy in getting transcripts, recommendations, etc to the colleges?
I haven't yet, but I hear they are very helpful.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Know what fits your child best. If they want/need immersion in their talent, this is the school for them.



_________



Name of School - LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Dance
Location - W. 65th St and Amsterdamn, manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
So far my daughter has been over the moon about her experience at LaGuardia. She lves that she gets to take three hours of dance every dance, and I'm pleased that the school also puts an emphasis on academics. Her teachers seem good and she has been very engaged and enthusiastic about much of her classroom time and some of the projects she has worked on. Although she gets a good amount of home, I admit that I am relieved it is usually only about an hour or two a night, as I thought some of the schools that boasted about assigning three or four hours of homework ha lost perspective. She has made some very nice friends at LaGuardia also, and I am very impressed by the level of commitment of so many of the children there. Plus, they are so outgoing!

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
I was very impressed by the many many interesting high schools out there--we cast a very wide net and found many optioons besides the three or four top schools that everyone seems to obsess about. I think if you let your child follow their passion they are more likely to be en thusiastic about school than if you make it all about a school's reputation. Also, don't be scared off by the large schools--the kids at LaGuardia that I've met all seem to be handlign the size very wel.

__________



Name of School - La Guardia
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - theater
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 theater program is wonderful. It is similar to the curriculum I had as a theater major in college. The acting teachers get to know their classes very well and my impression is they care very much for the individual kids and know, better than any guidance counselor, what is going on with them. They have my daughter's back. The academics are hit and miss. My impression is, if you come in skilled in or passionate about a subject, you will do well in it. If you come in thinking you are bad at it, hate it, or find it boring or unnecessary, you will likely flounder. My daughter is doing very poorly in science and math. The classes are very large. She has had some bad teachers (favoring the children who are inclined to do well in the subject, impossible to get hold of, not very interested in making the subject accessible to all, uninspiring lecturers - according to the one who listens to the lectures anyway). She has also had some good teachers, but I get the sense they are overwhelmed with the number of students. They're rooting for the ones who are floundering to improve, but other than suggesting tutoring, there's not much they can do. Not all of the teachers use the class jump application that posts assignments and course material online. The facilities are good, i think. Her performance at la guardia has convinced me that she should pursue a conservatory education in college. I don't want to pay tuition for her to suffer through more math and science. This is not particularly applicable to my child, but if i were the parent of a senior girl with musical theater chops, i would've been seriously pissed about this year's musical choice. Sweet Charity - basically a showcase for one girl's (considerable) talent, with too many solo numbers going to the star. I got the sense that the faculty decided they're sitting on the next Kristin Chenowith and wanted it known for the ages. This girl also played one of the two female leads in last year's Guys and Dolls. Again, nothing against her talent - she's fantastic. BUT, I feel it was not the most responsible choice of material.

Did your child use the school's college office? If yes, would you like to add some information about that experience? Did they help with the search? Applications? Were they helpful with parent's questions? Were they speedy in getting transcripts, recommendations, etc to the colleges?
not applicable - she's a sophomore.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
If you can be at peace with your child's commitment to his or her art trumping his or her academic studies, it's a good place.

________________


LaGuardia High School
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:
My husband and I were worried about the quality of the academics at LaGuardia, but we have been pleasantly surprised. Yes, there is a lot of emphasis on the arts, but our son's academic teachers have generally been quite good, and the work seems challenging without being overwhelming. My son took one AP class sophomore year (global history), but only got a 3 on the test. I think he didn't study much outside class, though. He is taking three APs this year (English, U.S. history, and environmental science), plus pre-calculus. His science teacher is not very good, but the others are, and he's learned a lot. Both the humanities teachers are focusing on making him explain and analyze more in his writing, which is good. He took French his first two years (which, with his middle school coursework, made three years at the high school level), but it was touch and go as to whether he would be allowed to take it the second year. You have to have a certain grade freshman year in order to be allowed to continue, because they don't have enough money to provide foreign language classes for everyone. He really likes his drama classes, and the teachers are generally enthusiastic and creative. (My son's exception is dance; he doesn't get along with the teacher, and unfortunately, they have her every year.) The teachers are also good about encouraging the kids to go watch students in other "talents" perform. One thing we rather like is that the drama students don't perform in plays until senior year, unless they get a part in the annual school musical or talent show, which are open to everyone. Otherwise, they just work on scenes, and they don't even perform for the parents until junior year. We're just as glad not to have him do all the extra work that would go with rehearsals for a full-length play. This year, they have begun having scene performances--both drama and musical theater--where the students perform in pairs or small groups. Next year they'll have the Senior Drama Festival, 3 plays, with every senior playing a role in one of them. Our son has also been quite happy at LaGuardia. This year especially, his friends have gelled into a nice group, and he willingly gets himself to get to school and to extracurricular obligations.

Did your child use the school's college office?
He's a junior, so we just started this year. They have had a series of "college information nights" (4 in all), which are quite helpful in terms of letting us know what to expect and what to do when. Unfortunately, like most public schools, LaGuardia doesn't have the money for a lot of one-on-one college counseling. The PTA pays for part-time "college mentors" who meet with students individually, but not until the end of junior year or beginning of senior year (since they are also busy with the current seniors), which is a bit late for helping students figure out where to look! I'm sure it will be helpful when it does happen, though. The school also uses a computer system called Naviance, where the kids can take an interest survey to help them figure out what they might want to major in, and also fill out their preferences in other areas (i.e., big school vs. small, urban vs. rural, etc.). Then it suggests schools the student might be interested in. This has worked out pretty well so far for my son, who is pretty organized and self-motivated. I don't know if it would have for my older one, who is less of both!

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Visit the schools and see what speaks to the student.

_________

LaGuardia HS
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Instrumental Major - Saxophone
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:
LaGuardia has been a great high school for my son. He is a saxophone player and was able to be in a jazz ensemble in his junior year, which he loves. As far as homework and music balance. He works very hard. He gets out of school at 4pm, and then goes home to do homework until about 9pm. He takes AP and honors courses and also plays soccer, so he actually doesn't have as much time to devote to music as he should. He has learned to prioritize. Most of the teachers have been very good. He has had terrific English teachers, math teachers and science teachers. There have been one or two that didn't work for him, but all in all we have been very pleased. He loves the friends that he has at school, and that is worth a lot, not to mention the rich environment where the arts are rated as important as any other subject.

Did your child use the school's college office?
We are only starting the college process at LaGuardia. So far, the college office has been terrific. They hold seminars regularly throughout the school year for parents and kids, and they are always reaching out to encourage students to begin thinking about the college process. That said, they are slightly overextended since there are over 600 students in the senior class, and that is a lot of college applications. Parents should realize that some responsibility will rest with them.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Choose the right school for your child. Not every school is a good fit. A terrific school that is highly rated may be wrong for your child. Listen to what they want and help to guide them to a situation where they can be successful and happy.

__________


Midwood High School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Medical Science
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:
My child's experience at Midwood has been exceptional. He has been challenged and motivated by many of his teachers and has excelled and gained confidence academically and socially. He has sought out the challenging classes and has worked hard to succeed. The academic tone is rigorous yet supportive. His involvement with athletics has been a major plus, helping him to make connections with other students and providing a balance to his studies. The social environment is easy--the kids mix well and get involved with alot of different things at the school.

Did your child use the school's college office?
The college office supports many students. They have a good system to manage all of the transcript/recommendations deadlines. The office writes a personal recommendation for every student. Their efforts and communication are directed to the students, but I always received quick, thorough replies when I reached out to the office.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Don't underestimate your child's ability to navigate a large school. When a large school is run well, like Midwood, the benefits are many.

________


Name of School - Millennium
Location - Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
Some teachers are great, Some are inexperienced.My child was having some issues the school could have been more attentive.Over all it is a good school for some but in our experience a little cold and impersonal.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
It is a very traditional school .

___________

Name of School - Edward R Murrow
Location - Brooklyn, 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:
Most of the teachers have been good with a few exceptions. My daughter has taken mostly honors and AP classes which have challenged but not more than she could handle. Being such a large school, they seem to keep things pretty manageable, I think that being in one of the screened programs is better (mine was not) for having a more accessible peer group.

Did your child use the school's college office?
We are just starting to deal with college office so I'm not sure.

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

_________

Name of School - E.R. Murrow High School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - screened theater
Location - Brooklyn (Midwood)
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
As an "ed opt" school, it is a very mixed environment. On the one hand, there are high-achieving students who load themselves up with honors and AP courses. There are also a great many students who try to get by on minimal effort. Often they are in the same classroom. The result is that either the smart kids get bored or the slackers get lost. There are many wonderful teachers, but more than a few mediocre teachers as well. Theatrical productions (musical and dramatic) are a big draw, and all students can participate--not just those in the screened theater program. Furthermore, the school tries very hard to let everyone participate. The result can be chaotic, but there is a real feeling of comradery between the participants that is not easy to find in the classrooms. But beware--theater productions are a HUGE time drain, which gets worse as the shows near opening. Those kids who have booked themselves into a challenging program will NOT have enough time to do the more demanding academic courses justice. The teachers of the advanced courses quite understandably don't care if your child was at rehearsal until 9 PM the previous night. My child's guidance counselor was just about useless when a combination of impossible demands on time collided with sleep deprivation and anger, cut classes and illness. I became far too acquainted with the AP for academic affairs, who says all the right things, but was unable to help in a crisis. Other than that, Murrow has the problems of any big public NYC high school--drugs, teenage angst, far too much tolerance of cheating and a curriculum that (with notable exceptions) is like a big test prep. Individualism is not generally rewarded in the core subjects, but may be in the arts. Best for social, assertive kids, and parents who are willing to stay on top of things (because the school just ain't gonna tell you).

Did your child use the school's college office?
Our child is a junior. She just met a couple of weeks ago with the college counselor. Most of the advice so far has been boilerplate, including the choice of colleges to look at. Too early in the process to evaluate further, but our daughter had a generally good impression

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:
High achievers or anyone getting involved in the arts at Murrow need to manage time well; problems with work load should be discovered early and managed aggressively.



____________



Name of School - Edward R Murrow
Location - Brooklyn, New York
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or morePlease write a review of your experience in the box provided:

Try to give some specific information about your experience:
Skill of teachers varied widely, some terrific, caring and creative -- and some really dreadful and some in the middle... I guess this would be the case at any school. MStar science program very good, especially the first year - living environment; chemistry--not so great. ONE physics teacher for the whole school - kind of a loon. The Honors classes and the Humanities program (a combination of honors English and honors Social Studies) was quite good. There were quite a few AP classes offered. I have the impression that the non-honors "regular" classes, were not as well-taught and that for the most part, the students in these classes are much more dissatisfied and are more likely to feel lost and alienated in this school of 4,000 kids. But for those in honors classes or a talent area it's a good experience. Parent teacher conference nights are chaotic and overcrowded, it is possible to get feedback on your child's progress but in some instance it can take persistence. But mostly emails & calls were returned. The school is in flux and changing...new acting Principal, new scheduling and policies - don't know what impact this will have.

Did your child use the school's college office?
Yes, my son is a senior. The personnel at the College Office do their best. Sadly, it's a joke. For over 700 graduating seniors -- ONE college counselor!!!! (she had two or three people working with her to process paperwork and field general questions). It's a dreadful situation in terms of guidance. Each senior had about 8 minutes of college counseling. Again, not the fault of the college counselor, she certainly did a great job given the situation. The college office did get my son's paperwork out so we appreciate that. But expect to do your own research.

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:
Regarding Edward R Murrow, if your child will be specializing in a talent area or is likely to take mainly honors classes then I recommend it. Otherwise I'd stay away. But many kids can take the honors classes, they are not killer hard by any means.
___________


Name of School - Nest + M
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - High School
Location - Columbia Street

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

Please write a review of your experience:
My daughter started this year at Nest + M and we couldn't be happier. She absolutely loves this school. The classes are both engaging and challenging, the teachers helpful. She is very much a self professed 'nerd' so she loves to learn. If your child isn't into research, math, science this will not be the school. She's happy with all the classes she has right now (latin, physics, world history, literature, algebra). She normally has about 2-3 hours of homework. Sometimes less. Overall, I think the school is great. Very clean sunny cute school, safe. The only downside for me is that Freshman have an extra course so their day ends near 4:00 pm. Most of the clubs you can't join until Sophomore year and there is not a lot of after-school offerings such as art and or sports and the few community service programs are in the early morning (too early for her commute which is an hour).

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Make sure your child is interested in math, physics, science, the classics and they will do great here.

______


Name of School - NYCi
Location - SOHO
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 can't say enough positive things about this newish school. The teachers are inspiring and hard working. Because it's a small school, the teachers seem to be able to create classes based on what the students are interested in. The administrative staff and the teachers are easily available by phone/email/or in person. I get a weekly detailed update about my child's progress in all his classes. I haven't had to deal with any difficult situations, so I can't comment on that. You should know, there is currently no gym, although there is a major effort going on right now to fix that situation.

Did your child use the school's college office?
We are just beginning the college search. NYCi has a college councelor dedicated to meeting with the students and parents to help with the process. They have taken the students to visit several colleges, as well as having colleges come visit the school. I can comment further when the process is over, although so far, I feel they are on track.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Don't pay attention to what other families are doing. Only you and your child know the right fit/school for them.

_____________

Name of School - NYC Lab HS
Location - West 17 st Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
no, he or she already graduated in June 2012

Please write a review of your experience in the box provided: Try to give some specific information about your experience-- what you liked and disliked (if anything) and include feedback on things such as:: ----Skill of teachers ----The facility and programs offered ----How the school dealt with difficult situations ----Feedback you received about your child's progress
Very dedicated teachers - they will go the extra mile for your child Advanced but not ball-breaking like the specialized schools Can be rigid re rules but there was always a person on the other end Not a lot of choice of classes however - almost no electives, and by senior year my son was taking only 4 classes and getting out at 1. He stopped being challenged by senior year College office was extraordinary - answered emails at 11 pm, TOTALLY went the extra mile for my son

Did your child use the school's college office?
One of the strongest aspects of our Lab experience and changed what I was looking for for my younger son, it made such a difference. I will give you one example of how my son (and we) knew that the college counselor was really on my son's side. Not only did she read and re-read his essay, think seriously about who he was/is and what he wants, and help him put his best foot forward - but - he applied early to Tufts and had his heart set on it. We knew it was a long-shot but a shot worth taking. Well as it happens the guidance counselor had a Tufts banner on her wall. She promised my son that he could have it if he got in; and if he didn't get in, that he could burn it. She "got" him. PS He got in and it's on the wall of his bedroom here at home.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
help them make their own choice. This is the turning point from parent-directed to student-directed; but having said that, they need guidance.





______________


Rachel Carson Coastal Studies
Location - Coney Island, Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
Our son started this school in his junior year. Academically, it is a mixed bag. Not targeted for very high achievers, but very supportive for previously low achieving students who are willing to put in some work. The principal and VPs are quite dedicated, and accept that the teens they have attending there are not necessarily the easiest group to work with. Some teachers are outstanding, some not so much, just like almost any other school, but very good in a school that is not known for being academically rigorous. Very diverse racially and ethnically. The school partners with the New York Aquarium. Seniors do 1/2 year internships. Students who want organized sports can join teams with Grady Tech HS (has been great for my son). Small enough that everyone knows each other, so not a lot of choices for language (only Spanish) or AP courses, but a community vibe. We've been pleasantly surprised and think this school is only going to be getting better.

Did your child use the school's college office?
Although he is a junior his guidance counselor was very helpful with info about colleges etc.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Know your child and listen to him/her. Don't let ideas about what you would like for them interfere with what is practical and best for them personally.

__________





Name of School - Eleanor Roosevelt High School
Location - 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:
I have reviewed ELRO before, but have more to say now that my daughter is a junior. This year, especially, she has great teachers. Since it's a small school, she has had many of these teachers during either her freshman or sophmore year. The teachers get to see how their students have progressed over the years. The teachers who have had her for more than one year have expressed that she is participating in class more as a junior than she did in her early years of high school. For the two AP courses that she is taking, there is a lot of discussion in class and they write a lot of essays/papers. She has had the opportunity to take videography as an elective for all three years that she has been at ELRO with the same teacher. This year the class has only 8 students and she has had the opportunity to write, direct, and produce her own student film with student actors from the school.

Did your child use the school's college office? If yes, would you like to add some information about that experience? Did they help with the search? Applications? Were they helpful with parent's questions? Were they speedy in getting transcripts, recommendations, etc to the colleges?
We are going to be having our first private meeting with the college counselor this week. Each student has a private meeting during the spring of Junior year and again during the fall of Senior year. In January, Juniors had a 1/2 day college process overview with the college counselor and were given a handbook that gives them help. I have emailed the college counselor several times about college tours and have gotten and quick and descriptive response. The college counselor also has a very helpful blog that she updates frequently.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
This is a small school with many more girls than boys. The student population is not especially diverse and many of the students went to middle school in the neighborhood. However, the academics are very good and I am impressed with most of the teachers.
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Eleanor Roosevelt HS
Location - 411 East 76 Street, NY NY 10021
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 can not have been happier with the school. Is it perfect??? No, but what school is. They have an amazing administration, teachers that care and students that want to be in school. They offer an abundance of choices for such a small school with many sports, clubs and after-school activities. It has been an amazing four years and I have another three to go as I also have a 9th grader.

Did your child use the school's college office?
College office experience was good. I think you have to do a lot of the research on schools yourself, but that should be the case. We have only applied to 7 schools, got into 5 and waiting to hear from the last two....

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Be honest with yourself about your child....can they handle the commute? Can they handle the amount of work?

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Name of School - Stuyvesant
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 daughter is a sophomore this year at Stuy. She's been happy there in general, though it took a while for her adjust Freshman year (partly due to being placed in 2nd year French and behind from the first day). I've gone to four of the open school mornings where parents can observe classes and found them interesting and engaging. The teachers vary, some are terrific, some not as good. My daughter's on the track team and in Symphonic band and likes both. There are really more opportunities at the school than she has time to take advantage of. She chose to go to Stuy for the math and science (she also got into LaGuardia) and has been happy with her decision. She really wanted to go to a big school with lots of challenging classes and lots of choices.(Even though she is a bit shy and not very competitive.) She particularly likes her computer science and literature courses this year. Every time that I've reached out to teachers, her councillor and the parent coordinator they have been responsive and helpful. She's taken advantage of in school tutoring that's available weekly with teachers and also peer tutoring with volunteers in the school's honor society. She keeps on top of her homework without too much trouble, but, in my opinion, goes to bed too late because she procrastinates and spends too much time on social media.

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

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Name of School - Stuyvesant HS
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 child is very self-motivated, has always been a strong student, is a traditional learner, and excels at science and math, so Stuy seemed like the obvious choice for him. We would probably still make that choice again, but we definitely do not see it as an ideal academic environment. For the most part the school revolves around memorization and test-taking -- not so much the Regents, SAT2s and APs (though they lurk in the background), but the weekly grind of tests. This week my child has 5, plus an English paper. The difference between a high 90s average in a class and a low to mid 90s average is often the ability to remember minutiae. One real positive of the school is that the education is fairly well rounded -- everyone is well-versed in all academic disciplines and art, music and computer science are required on top of the core subjects. It is common knowledge that the quality of the teachers at Stuy is quite mixed. Some are great; some far from great; some barely speak English. In our experience, the teachers are better in the AP and Honors classes. In general, the English and History departments have fewer dud teachers than the math and science departments, but according to my child, the students tend not to take those classes as seriously. We have found most of the Spanish teachers to be quite lacking. Most classes are not especially inspiring, and are more of a grind. Part of what is exciting about the school is the many great kids from a wide variety of backgrounds, quite a few who have overcome significant obstacles to have gotten there. But the downside is that many of the kids seem much more intent on getting into college than getting a genuine education. But, on the subject of college, the good news is that most kids do get decent-very good grades and get into good colleges. Teachers offer a variety of extra ways to help kids get their grades up so that most kids are in a good position to get into very strong colleges. I think this is a big difference from what I've heard about Bard, for example, where it seems that very smart, very hard-working kids often do not get good grades. At Stuy, if you're a good enough test-taker to get in, and you work relatively hard, you will likely do just fine and have good college choices. The extracurricular opportunities are amazing, though many of the most exciting ones (Speech and Debate, and sports) can be quite demanding. The facilities and location are great.

Did your child use the school's college office? If yes, would you like to add some information about that experience? Did they help with the search? Applications? Were they helpful with parent's questions? Were they speedy in getting transcripts, recommendations, etc to the colleges?
We are just starting with the college search. The school has 3 college counselors for 850 students, which is an absurdly low ratio. Each family is allotted one 30 minute meeting with the counselor. We understand that we will be essentially on our own with this process.

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:
This is not the most important factor to base your decision on, but it is worth having the college decision in the back of your mind as you consider high school choices. What college options might a school open up or close for your child? Colleges care about class rank and taking the most rigorous course load available. What HS will allow your child to excel academically?

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Name of School - Townsend Harris High School
Location - 149-11 Melbourne Ave., Flushing, NY 11367
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
Most of the teachers are wonderful, and inspirational. Large selection of clubs and teams, but work load is hugh, so not much time left for these activities. All classes are honor classes, many AP classes offered, and college courses at Queens college.

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:
Not just how great the school is, but is it a good fit for your child.


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Name of School - Urban Academy
Location - Upper East Side Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
We couldn't be more pleased with Urban Academy. My daughter transferred in this year after two unhappy years at Bard High School Early College Manhattan. The teachers are all very engaged and invested in the children. The school is very small so all of the children are known to their teachers and nobody falls through the cracks. All of my daughters teachers so far have been excellent. And the Principal is also very invested and involved with the kids. He even sent my daughter a card at the holidays! It has a small, very diverse student body and a very individualized approach to learning. It is a performance based assessment school, so the children are very active in their learning process. My daughter has a lot of say in what she studies and says she is learning more now than she did in her 2 years at Bard.

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 and make choices according to what is right for them instead of others.

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Urban Assembly NY Harbor School
Location - Governor's Island
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
Skill of Teachers--Excellent. My son is in the honors program. The teachers are energetic and excited about what they teach. They genuinely want to work with each child to make sure that he or she has a great and fulfilling time at the school and is motivated to learn. FACILITY AND PROGRAMS OFFERED: Harbor School is a themed school with a specialized program. Everything relates to NY Harbor. More, and uniquely, every class involves hands-on learning. The honors program accepts high-achieving students including smart students with learning disabilities (although CTT-needing students are in the regular program). While a themed program may seem limited, in fact it applies to real-life situations what children learn in all classrooms in New York because of Regents requirements. In addition, the students have unique opportunities to study a field in depth. Students in their freshman year take the Harbor course. This acts as an overview of the various specialties, of which they will choose one during their second year. The specialties include vessel operations (driving boats and navigation); aquaculture (growing oysters and tilapia); ocean engineering (engineering skills plus technical boat building and engine work); marine biology (developing a research project over three years that leads to very high-level academic paper); SCUBA (science-related SCUBA diving). In all fields, the children are out in the field--driving vessels and interning; diving in the Bahamas; tracking falcons in Jamaica Bay. And so on. Because the school has 400 students, that means that every student is well known almost from the first day. Don't be surprised if the principal calls you to make sure that your child is happy and adjusting well! CHILD'S PROGRESS: We are in March of our first year, and so far I'm amazed at the level of dedication and service to my child's needs. He is thriving and the teachers are helpful in all ways--not that this is a mamby-pamby school. They are clear, distinct, and expect results from the students. My son is motivated like never before to study. When the student performs, it's reflected in the grades. And because the students really deal with water, boats, and other areas with real safety concerns, the school is very careful to create a safe environment for all students. This means rapport among students is carefully managed (if a student has a problem and acts up or begins to clique off and bully, the staff are well trained to counsel the student to help him or her grow and the result is a no-bullying, very kind community). There is no substance abuse in this high school.

Did your child use the school's college office?
The college office has 2-3 dedicated consultants for 400 children. They begin on the first day or week of school helping the children prepare for college. The school accepts a wide variety of students, socioeconomically, racially, and in terms of ability. They already have helped my child apply for internships and other opportunities to build his resume for college applications.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:
Listen to your child and hear what he or she says about a school. As a parent, open your mind to what's possible in a school. Look off the beaten track of schools, and you may find a gem like this one.

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