2014 High School Reviews

Name of School - Abraham Joshua Heschel High School
Location - Columbus Circle area
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience :
Very, very happy with this school. My oldest went to Laguardia, which we found academically mediocre. Now with my middle child at Heschel I see what a smart high school education should look like. Academic expectations are high but the faculty and other staff very supportive, with additional help always available to a child (like my daughter, sometimes) who might need it. The community is very warm and friendly, and I love that it is a school driven by Jewish values that include diversity, kindness and social justice. Creative and athletic opportunities abound. It is a long school day, however. 8AM to 4:45PM. That aside, my daughter is extremely happy as a Heschel student.

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 your child and his/her needs and abilities.

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Name of School - Bard HS Early College
Location - 525 Houston Street
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 pros and cons to this school. What I did not really understand is that their program, which races through the Regents curriculum in the first 2 years, is a real grind. My daughter was not engaged in the curriculum, and did not do well. She barely made it into the "college" program. Now that she is in it, she's completely thriving. The classes are challenging, discussion and papers are valued, readings are really interesting. For her, it's a complete turn around. Most of the teachers in first two years were sympathetic to her difficulties. Some were not. The Phd's, particularly in math and science, who teach at this school are not trained to connect with 15 year olds. They start with physics in 9th grade - which is brutal. The guidance counselor was a constant support, and is celebrating her newly minted success with her every week!

Did your child use the school's college office? 
She's a junior, so we are just starting the college search process, but so far I'm really impressed with the organization and focus of the CTO, They have a dedicated staff for college transfer, they start information sessions early, and the kids are given very focused work, in a weekly advisory (group) session. They will work on-on-one with their advisors as well.

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 :
Be prepared for LOTS of homework and a fast pace in 9th and 10th grades. The prize, Year 1 and Year 2, are worth it only if you and your kid are prepared to hunker down for 2 years.

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Name of School - The Beacon School
Location - Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review :
Amazing, committed teachers. Too much homework. Fantastic extracurriculars. The administration is not very responsive to parents or communicative with the students.

Did your child use the school's college office? 
The college office is very involved.

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


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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 amazing, smart, caring and invested. Every teacher is available for extra help. The times my son has been struggling, I have been told not to hire a tutor but to have him come spend some time with the teachers. I appreciate this attitude! The afterschool programs are good. The music program is fun for the kids but the teacher is very hands off so it's up to the kids to be very motivated. While there was a lot of criticism regarding how the school handled the recent chemistry explosion, I believe the principal and teachers handled a horrible situation the best way they could think to at the time of urgency. Whenever I request feedback from teachers by email, I get a response within 24 hours or sooner. The PT conferences are a little empty to me. I would prefer to meet with his teachers. I think meeting with a third party makes little sense and is not helpful. The facilities is changing next year and not a minute too soon. The kids that I have met are very nice. I wish the school did more the allow parents to be in contact with other parents better. Since the school is so large, it's difficult to know at the PTA meeting which families you may want to meet. There are house parties to raise funds which is nice but if the school had a student directory it would allow the parents to reach out more easily to friends parents to have a little more control of their kids and whats going on. The PTA suggested this but the staff seems to think the task is too difficult. The academics are good-- some rigor but not all. The English program is probably one of the strongest in the city. The math and science are satisfactory-good but not great. Spanish is amazing. Global is excellent and my son has to read the paper every day which he is very proud to be up on current events. The homework is a lot but can be managed. It takes a toll on family time however, which really is a drag. Difficult to get tickets for things or attend events during the week. I wish they would provide a little room for this- like no homework on hump day, or no homework on weekends. But that doesn't seem to be an option. Beacon used to be a big travel school with lots of exchange programs. Unfortunately I think some rules changes within the BOE so they need to hold off on trips. It's really unfortunate because this was a big draw to Beacon. We definitely feel lucky to be at this 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 :
Don't put your kid in one of the TOP high schools in NYC if they are struggling students. The rigor is too great and the kids and families really suffer. Listen to who you kid is and be brave enough to look outside the top 8 schools that everyone else is looking at.


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Name of School - The Bronx High School of Science
Location - The Bronx

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

Please write a review of your experience:
New principal this year made a big difference in the overall morale of the school. Mostly great teachers who are dedicated to getting to know the kids. I'm delighted at the p/t conferences to hear that they really know my kid (strengths and weaknesses) and have ideas about where to improve. All the teachers have responded to emails when questions arise. Sophomore year when my kid was struggling with Geometry, I was in touch with the teacher and we worked together to mandate small group instruction (SGI) even though that is usually reserved for kids who are close to failing. It made a big difference in both the relationship with the teacher and in the final grade. For a big school the administration does a good job of including parents and making sure you know where to turn. Lots of opportunities to volunteer. Strong PA. Kudos to the best parent coordinator ever!

Did your child use the school's college office? 
The college office offers a lot of talks from college night panels annually with admissions officers from colleges from schools like Tufts to NYU; sessions by reps from The College Board and the ACT; and, info about financial aid. They also publish a weekly newsletter letting parents of all grades know what is coming up. We are just starting the college process and the kids and the parents get one-to-one meetings to discuss building a college list and timelines as well as being able to follow the process on Naviance. Teachers are available at scheduled times for college essay help, too. So far I'm impressed.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give :
Value your kid's reaction to the school when you visit no matter how superficial it may seem.


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Name of School - Brooklyn Latin
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 :
The staff is very engaged. I am very informed as a parent of a high schooler. Teachers keep office hours to give students additional support if needed. Teachers a very knowledgable and they have high expectations for their students.


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


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Name of School - Brooklyn Prospect Charter School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - International Baccalaureate (IB) School
Location - Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review:
Brooklyn Prospect is an IB World School offering the prestigious International Baccalaureate program.

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

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

Please write a review:
I would say that we are happy with the school so far. My son is a Freshman, so our experience is limited at this point. The Accepted Student Open House was great ... described the programs in detail, gave realistic expectations of student experience and workload, and allowed for us to have a complete look at the school. It is what convinced my son to go to the school. The student/parent orientation that occurred right before school opened was not well thought out. It was disorganized and did not give out crucial information regarding school systems (on line systems used to monitor grades and look up student schedule). I did not know how to log in to view my son's information for almost 1 month. Parent Teacher/Report Card night well surprisingly well. We were able to see all of my son's teachers and they all knew him and were able to comment thoughtfully on his progress. My son seems to like the school, and is looking forward to being able to choose a major in Junior year. He has not gotten involved in any after school activities. I think he feels a little overwhelmed and is slightly intimidated about joining clubs where he may not know anyone. The size of the school was especially daunting for me. I was nervous that my son would be lost in the crowd, but he seems to be making his way, and his grades are good. The school sends out an email everyday with updates about the events at the school, and the PTA/school hosts workshops to educated parents about the school and school offerings. So far, so good. I'll update next year when we know more.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give:
I know this sounds corny, but go with the school that feels right. We had 2 great choices for my son for high school (both highly regarded but different programs). We went to the accepted students open houses for both schools, and we honestly went with the one that "felt" right.

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Name of School - Brooklyn technical high school
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Mechanical engineering
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 :
Tech is a mixed bag. There are very high standards and the kids are expected to take ownership of their learning right from the beginning (we liked that). What's been challenging for us has been the differences between teachers. Many are excellent, some less so. You'll get that at any school, but we expected more oversight from senior staff (departmental chairs) and administration. For example, one math teacher set the work at a ridiculously high level - most of the kids failed the final (he submitted curved grades on their report cards). What's the point of that? On the other hand, my son had a wonderful English teacher who took it upon himself to email students and parents with helpful information and deadline reminders regarding college applications. He was also a creative and inspiring teacher. But what about the kids who didn't have this guy? But we chose tech for the hands on science opportunities and that's been great. My son went in thinking he liked science and will graduate well on his way to being an Engineer.

Did your child use the school's college office? 
Surprisingly, tech's college office was pretty good. I tend to email, and all my questions were answered promptly and the office sent out all materials promptly as well. There's a lot of data online and if you're comfortable working that way, you can do pretty well. Because of it's size you probably won't get a hand holding experience here if that's what you're looking for.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people :

Don't fret over the brand names. Tour schools and see what feels right to you and your child.

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Name of School - Brooklyn Technical High School
Location - Brooklyn, NY
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience :
My son is a freshman at Brooklyn Tech, which was our first choice. So far we are happy with it. There is not much choice of program for freshmen, but the academics are appropriate. My son is really enjoying the DDP class which all freshmen must take. He has some teachers he really likes, others not so much. His grades are a little less stellar than they were in middle school, but he is not spending the hours and hours on homework daily that some people told us to expect. Overall I feel that he is getting a good program and the teachers have been engaged and good at communicating with students and parents.

Did your child use the school's college office? 
We have not yet used the college office specifically. I have attended some PTA events with college-related information such as info on the SAT and ACT and general transcript and admissions info.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:

Really look at the schools from your own priorities and perspective and don't just go by what "everyone says."

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Name of School - Edward R. Murrow
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Theater
Location - Midwood, 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 :

Murrow is a wonderland for a motivated and curious student. There is an enormous variety of high-quality extracurricular activities and a good amount of academic variety as well—both in terms of challenge level and electives. The school's recently refurbished planetarium is a real plus and makes the Astronomy class special. The high-level science program is terrific and very challenging; the arts offerings, both during school and after, are many and excellent. As in almost any school, there is a variety of skill level among teachers, but there appears to be a generally high level of quality and ability to engage students. Teachers offer office hours regularly and there is also a peer tutoring center for students who need a little extra help. The school is okay—not great—about communicating with parents, but by-and-large the administration and teachers respond promptly and thoughtfully to parent requests. Parent-teacher conferences, held several times a year, are surprisingly well-run given how many students there are, and in my experience, every teacher knew my child well and gave helpful suggestions for how to support her success. One of the very best things about Murrow is the school community. It is full of bright, engaged, interesting and kind kids. My child absolutely loves school, is challenged, supported and having great fun.

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 your child and identify schools that really play to his or her strengths but will also be supportive of challenges.


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Name of School - Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Fine Arts
Location - Queens, NY
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
Highly educated and skilled teachers work with the students to realize their full potential. Teachers are willing to work out time to spend with your child if your child needs extra help on a topic. Very knowledgeable and caring would best describe the teachers at FSSA. We have the option to review our children's progress through an online grade keeping system as well as check for lateness or absences. Teachers will respond quickly to emails (this is the only way that we have ever attempted to contact them) so there is excellent communication between the family and teacher. Academics for freshman year are basic but rigorous. There aren't any AP classes offered until sophomore year but don't let that fool you. Our freshman is taking Chemistry and Geometry and she is challenged (in the best way possible) every day. She is learning a great deal academically. Her art studio is equally challenging and the growth that we have seen with her art is amazing, excellent studio work and instruction. Overall, we are extremely happy and satisfied with FSSA's program.
Did your child use the school's college office? 
We have not used the college office yet, however, my daughter was called in by her guidance counselor to discuss possible college options down the road. Love this way of thinking and love how proactive they are with continuing education beyond high school.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give:
The best advice that I can offer if you are considering attending this school is to go to a few shows to see what our school is all about. Attend the fall open houses in October for an overview of the school.

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Name of School - John Dewey High School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - STEM
Location - 50 Avenue X, Brooklyn, NY 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 is a successful large high school. The great thing about it is that it offers my daughter electives and extracurriculars that coincide with her tastes. My daughter is in the STEM program, and it works along with an award-winning robotics team that she is a part of for the third year in a row. It awes me to see the dedication put forth by the students and teachers, yet these efforts arrive with merits--especially when they defeated Brooklyn Tech and Stuy in 2012's robotics competition. But even so, there are many students who are not involved with robotics and engineering. There's the group of artsy students, the mathematicians, writers, chess players, musicians, those who do set design for the school plays and participate in them, and so forth. The student population, teachers, and even the facilities are all diverse. Diversity rings loudly in this school, and it is so great to see and meet both faculty and students from everywhere and anywhere. If I could choose a high school all over again for my daughter, it would be John Dewey once more. It may not be as reputable as the other schools, but that's their loss. My daughter flourishes there. It is also inspiring to see such a caring and involved PTA that hosts fundraisers in order to support the school and pay for students' college applications. And the communication here is great. Parents actually get to know their child's teacher, have one-on-one conversations, and view frequently updated progress reports (many teachers create their own websites for their classes). All around, Dewey is an excellent school. If you're a student, you won't be left out; you'll find someone to relate with. Dewey feels like a big united family, and it's so wonderful to be a part of such a thriving community.

Did your child use the school's college office?
Not yet. She is a junior, but she is already receiving e-mails from the college counselor through Pupilpath. Also, I know that for seniors, there is an annual college fair.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give :
View as many factors as possible, like the school's size, location and programs offered to see if the school is the perfect fit for your child. You have to sense it. These four years of high school are important.


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Name of School - LaGuardia High School of music & art and performing arts
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Fine Arts
Location - Manhattan
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review :
When it comes to academics, the teachers are hit or miss. There are some great ones, and some that border on incompetent. However, all the teachers in the studio arts are amazing. The school is 10 floors with state of the art facilities, and lots of light in each class, except for tech in the basement. There is a huge array of programs offered in each studio. In art, there are so many classes and so little time. Academically, there are many AP courses. As a result the day is long. 8am start and last class ends at 4:10, then there are clubs and sports, and your child may not be home before 7:30pm. Then there are hours of homework. Some nights could be light, but some nights could be 2-3 hours. All the admin, guidance, and teachers get back to you right away when you have questions. My son loves it there, and says it is so worth the hour + commute each way. This is a special opportunity for a high school student.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give:
Student has to LOVE the school and want to go there or else he or she will not be happy with the amount of work and the commute.

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Name of School - LaGuardia High School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Drama
Location - Upper West Side
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 good experience overall, however, my child was not fully engaged academically. While I do think s/he had many good teachers, there were not many good science or math teachers and there were always many students who were not engaged academically and who reinforced her/his attitude. For most of the years, the communication between the school and us was good, however, my child got into some trouble this year -- after years of excellent behavior and no trouble at all -- and the school punished her/him excessively to the point that my friends and family were utterly shocked. They crossed the line from teaching a kid a lesson after a youthful indiscretion to breaking a kid's spirit. The violation was relatively minor. When they started to violate their own promises with regard to the repercussions, I tried to contact teachers and the (new) principal and the response was virtually non-responsive. It left me with a feeling that the school was not thoughtful and careful about the individual student.

Did your child use the school's college office? 
The college office provided minimal help or support. I believe this is because they are overwhelmed as the individuals I spoke with were very nice, however, the only help my child received was from me.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give :

If your child is passionate about drama, go ahead.

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Name of School - LaGuardia High School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Visual Art
Location - 100 Amsterdam Ave, 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 is very happy here. She loves the visual art classes and the work/instruction they receive is very advanced for high school. She felt a little intimated by the talent of the other students but she is making her own mark and working hard. The academics have been at a very good level-- not super hard but not super easy either. She took the Living Enviro. regents in 8th grade, so is in "sophomore" science now. She did not place in Honors English or Soc Studies for 9th grade, but was invited to be in Honors English and take AP World History as a sophomore because her grades are 90+ this year. I appreciate that she can have these opportunities and wasn't "shut out" for the rest of the time. For the most part, she really likes her teachers and they have assigned some interesting projects in addition to traditional tests. She does not have as much HW as she did in middle school, which allows her to keep up her extracurricular activities despite the long school day. The PTA and staff at LaG are terrific. There is so much information emailed or on the school website, I really feel in the loop and informed about the school. We had a couple of administrative matters come up but my daughter was able to address them herself at the program office. She feels comfortable talking to her teachers and the staff, not at all intimidated. They try hard to create a welcoming environment.

Did your child use the school's college office? 
Not yet, but they have had several parent meetings about the college process or course selection for APs, etc that are open to all and well-advertised.

Would you recommend this school to other parents for their children?
Highly recommend
What is the ONE piece of advice you would give people:

It makes a big difference if your child is excited about the school that he/she ends up attending. Help your child find something positive and exciting about the school choice.


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Name of School - Fiorello H LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Voice
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 :
Some really terrific teachers but a surprising number of terrible teachers that languish there The studios are, as you'd imagine, amazing and make for a terrific academic career. LaGuardia produces the best prepared students in the world. On college applications, LaGuardia is a huge differentiator.

Did your child use the school's college office? 
College applications are a big job, and you can't rely on the college office to do it all. Do a lot fo the work yourself if you want your kid to have good choices.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give :

It's a long day and a lot of work. But the rewards are immeasurable.

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Name of School - Midwood
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Med-Sci
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 have mixed feelings about Midwood. Or son is not very motivated and that situation did not change at Midwood. He had a few good teachers but a lot of mediocre ones too. In certain classes they are totally focused on teaching to the Regent's tests and I think the kids would be better off learning more interesting material rather than just what they need to pass the tests. We were also disappointed in the lack of writing that was required. In four years our son never had to write a paper of any length and if he ever got any feedback and advice on editing drafts for shorter assignments we never saw it. He is in Med-Sci so maybe there is more (some?) focus on writing in the Humanities program. Would also have been nice if we ever got a syllabus for a class that actually mentioned anything about what they'd be studying. Instead all you get is rules and grading policies. For more motivated kids who are interested in getting involved with school (and there are a lot of kids like that at Midwood) though I think Midwood can be a good and challenging school. My son's friends who are better students seem to have done well and gotten more out of it. The school administrators are very busy but they care and can be very helpful. Our guidance counselor was kid of useless though and we had to go around him to push to get our son in an AP class since kids with better grades were getting all the APs. Feedback from teachers can be limited. There is no consistent use of Jupiter grades or any online system and some teachers don't use email. The school is in dark ages when it comes to technology.

Did your child use the school's college office? 
The college office was challenged this year since both college counselors went off on maternity leave. They are severely understaffed to begin with since they only have two college counselors for 4000+ kids. All they really can do is help with the process and there is little guidance given. Kids who are more proactive may get more help but our son got very little guidance. They have been slow in sending transcripts and updating the Naviance online system they use. Might have been better with the regular counselors, but with just two for 1000 seniors they can only do so 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 :

Good school for motivated kids who like taking tests.

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

Please write a review :
I love that the faculty is new. Everyone on staff is so enthusiastic. The school is only in their third year, and so far my son's teachers have made learning exciting. Because it's new the extra curricular programs are limited but seem to be getting better. I would love to see some type of Explorers club for weekend or even week long trips to build social and educational travel experiences. I've received great feedback from teachers last year but they seem to be busier this year and have not answered emails.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give:
Meet the principal and the faculty.

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Name of School - Poly Prep Country Day School
Specific Program or major (if applicable) - Upper School
Location - Brooklyn, NY
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review:
We are privileged to be able to attend this school. My daughter got need-based financial aid or we would not be there. She probably would not have been offered aid if she was not a straight A student who plays a sport and is very involved in extra-curriculars. The program features a college-type campus, small class groups (there are only seven students in her Latin class), lots of extra-curricular activities, including travel opportunities, and a very diverse (for an Ivy League Prep School) student population. The kids need not start specializing too soon, although they can place into advanced language, math and science programs if they wish. It is expensive but tuition includes bus service from all five boroughs. All students are required to pay for school lunch, which she tells me is pretty good, and is eaten in "Commons" which looks like the Dining Room at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books. Many Upper School (middle and high school) students have been at Poly since they were in lower grades, but there is an influx of new kids in 9th grade. When I expressed concern to her dean about how my daughter was settling in, she responded right away and was helpful. The school is very tech friendly and the students can communicate with all teachers via internal email, and I have found the teachers responsive to my emails as well. The school is very committed to being inclusive, but it may be difficult to get that policy to all levels, especially the sports teams. There is a certain amount of "Poly Pride" that seems to translate to athletic yahoo-ism. There are some privileged students, but also plenty of nerds, jocks, artsy-types etc. Part of what they are there for is to make contacts for the future. The teachers seem happy to be there, and the level of work is quite high. Most classes are still challenging to my child who came up through the NYC public schools G & T Programs. We are very grateful for the opportunity!

Did your child use the school's college office? 
No yet, because she is a freshman, but we have already received information from them for the future.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give:
Consider who your child is and where he or she will be comfortable and happy. They are the ones who have to attend school there for four years.

___________________

Name of School - Secondary school for journalism
Location - Park slope
Is this the school your child attends now?
no, he or she already graduated in June 2013
Please write a review of your experience :
Teaching is getting better all the time under the expert facilitation of new principal.

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

Highly recommend

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

Please write a review of your experience :
The strengths and weaknesses of Stuyvesant are well known, though it's a different experience from the inside. Academically, it's an amazing place, with classes to challenge even the most advanced and gifted learners. Freshman biology has a separate section for students who've already passed living environment. Many final exams, i.e. history, science, math, are normalized across the department, so that if a teacher doesn't cover all the material, a student can be penalized. The math department placement exam for freshman is really tough, and students can find themselves in classes for which they've already passed the regents. Even freshman from very challenging middle schools will find themselves challenged, but at the same time, the workload IS manageable. But it takes organization and a willingness to stay off social media and away from computer games--the twin sirens of procrastination. The students themselves are great--as has been said many times; one of Stuy's huge strengths is its peer group. Some of the teachers are absolutely wonderful, and some are very much not. I've been surprised at the number of nurturing adults in the place, and certainly at parent-teacher conference, the teachers all knew my child very well. The new principal is responsive and seems quite aware of long-standing problems; she's trying to effect change and, I suspect, will be successful. There is actually a fairly new vacation homework policy, for instance. The kids seem reasonably supportive, more competitive with themselves than with one another--but there's no denying that even freshmen are aware of college on the horizon and the necessity of getting good grades. And that leads to pressure--some if it self-imposed--and quite a bit of stress. It's a wonderful school--but know what you're getting 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:

Know your child, make sure that if your child is to attend a school like Stuy, that he or she really wants to go there and understands what the commitment is.

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Name of School - Urban Academy HS
Is this the school your child attends now?
yes, now and for the last year or more

Please write a review of your experience:
Urban Academy, was a breath of fresh air for my daughter, after being a freshman at Murrow HS with 4000 other kids. She was a lost student, no connection with teacher and doing very poorly academically. After researching the transfer schools, I visited Urban, their philosophy and teaching style, was what my kid needed. The school has 140 kids, everyone knows you, teachers and students. Classes are very interesting, teachers are able to design their own classes, discussions and opinions are encouraged...Communication with the staff is good, written reports are given and all kids have an adviser that meets with them in a weekly basis.

Did your child use the school's college office? 
My daughter is a junior, she had her first college meeting this semester. I did email the two teacher's that work as college counselors and received prompt replies.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice you would give :
To think of your kid's personality, I have seeing so many kids not finish HS, because of a bad match. I think that the HS years are the most difficult, challenging academically and socially for the teenagers.
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Name of School - West Side High School
Location - Upper West Side
Is this the school your child attends now?
Just started our first year

Please write a review of your experience:
My son is attending this school because he has been doing poorly and had to transfer. He is also getting up there in age and needed to be in a new setting. This school is perfect for a teen that needs extra credit and is trying to get of school quickly. They have the option to take extra classes...starting early and ending later giving them 2 extra credits. The school is also very efficient in reporting attendance. I get a text each day on what time my son got to school, on time, late or even if he has been absent.

Did your child use the school's college office? 
I have not pressured my son regarding colleges. I have left that area to him as he has been having a hard enough time getting out of high school.

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

What is the ONE piece of advice :
This school is mainly for transfer students with IEPs..my son transferred here to finish out his senior year.


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