public high schools in NYC
June 23, 2008 8:45 PM   Subscribe

What public high schools in Manhatten should I look at for my Daughter?

September is coming: Tours, apps, interviews – Yikes!
posted by pmaxwell to Education (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Speaking as an alumnus of Stuyvesant, I would suggest she prepare for the SSHSAT (Specialized Science High School Admission Test) for admittance to Stuy, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech. If she's into math/science, I would stress this, but even if she's not she should do so anyway. The schools are pretty much excellent all around. I was (and still am) pretty awful at math, but I got a whole lot out of Stuy's English and Drama departments.
posted by Bromius at 8:54 PM on June 23, 2008

Stuyvesant High is excellent, as is Hunter College's high school. Check out for some really helpful info on NYC public schools.
posted by HotPatatta at 8:54 PM on June 23, 2008

My friend's daughter is drama geek, make your clothes sort of girl and she had a wonderful high school experience at Bard High School Early College. Smart misfits aren't supposed to like high school, are they?
posted by shothotbot at 9:09 PM on June 23, 2008

If she is an art or drama nerd, I recommend either Music and Art or School for the Dramatic Arts. Like Stuyvesant you have to be admitted based on aptitude, so she need an art porfolio or appropriate drama piece. Also n'thing what Bromlus said as a fellow Stuy alumna - Stuyvesant is a fabulous school. She will have to study for the test.
posted by zia at 10:19 PM on June 23, 2008

Don't just look at public schools! Many of the best private schools have large financial aid budgets, and work overtime to find deserving smart kids who will attend for a tiny fraction of the $50k+ average tuition plus contribution of full-fare families.

Another important reason to consider going private: if your daughter isn't an ace test-taker, her chances of getting into Stuyvesant are minimal, and I believe that Hunter actually admits at the 7th grade and not 9th grade level. The rest of the public high schools in Manhattan aren't (at least academically) in the same class with Hunter, Stuy, or any of dozens of private schools.

Pursuing private school with financial aid in New York really isn't a different game from pursuing private school period: you are looking for a match between the school's culture and aspirations, your child's talents and ambitions, and your family's values and structure. The matching between the school's aspirations and family structure becomes modestly more important because each school has a different idea in mind for its financial aid -- some want to use it for kids from single-parent African-American or Hispanic families from poor neighborhoods, some want to use it for kids of striving immigrant families who live above their family store in Flushing, some want to use it for the kids of diplomats or UN employees from third world countries which don't subsidize New York tuition, etc.
posted by MattD at 3:07 AM on June 24, 2008

I know a couple alums of Bronx Science and they spoke glowingly of their experience.
I also knew an English teacher at the Beacon School and did a visitation of the school - it's and excellent school and hopefully the regents hasn't totally raped their portfolio-based program.
posted by plinth at 3:28 AM on June 24, 2008

FWIW, Wikipedia apparently has an article on New York City specialized high schools. Bunches have been added since I went to Stuyvesant in the 1980s. Perhaps obviously, I'm going to highly recommend Stuy.

My brother went to Hunter. I don't believe you can enter Hunter as a high school student.
posted by chengjih at 7:06 AM on June 24, 2008

There are a lot of great High Schools in NYC. Going through the process of finding the right one is a pain in the butt. I work with a lot of parents and teens so these are some schools that I think might be worth checking out. Some of them have been mentioned already:

The Beacon School (know many kids that go their now and in the past. Good school)

Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies (Relatively new school but is the older "child" of two well established exeditionary learning schools: Brooklyn New School and BCS Middle School)



Bronx Science

School of the Future (an Apple School)



Erasmus (Mae West, Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand graduated from there!)

Good luck!
posted by Hydrofiend at 7:16 AM on June 24, 2008

Sorry, ignore the ones in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Didn't realize you were asking for only Manhattan.
posted by Hydrofiend at 7:17 AM on June 24, 2008

Hunter College High School (where I went) admits only in kindergarden and 7th grade. To get in, you have to score in the top 10% on the 5th-grade math and english tests, then take the Hunter entrance exam and rank above thousands of other kids seeking 150 or so spots. Once in, it's a challenging and competitive environment - but Hunter matriculates a greater proportion of its students to the Ivy League than any other public school in the country.
posted by nicwolff at 8:09 AM on June 24, 2008

My wife is a teacher and we hear nothing but good things about Lycée Français, where she eventually hopes to work.
posted by JaredSeth at 10:43 AM on June 24, 2008

My beloved girl graduates TOMORROW!! SOB!! from The Beacon School. Run, don't walk. It has been an amazing four years -- progressive, multi-cultural, excellent teaching staff, great administrators, strong parent groups! I can't recommend it highly enough.
posted by thinkpiece at 11:25 AM on June 24, 2008

The Lycée Français de New York, where I currently work, is not a public high school. It is a private high school, though it's tuition is significantly lower than other competitive schools, and we do offer financial aid.

If you are going to look at private schools, by the way, you will need to start the process BEFORE you know whether your child has been admitted to the competitive public schools.

This is a tough question. Apart from the schools you have pass a test or a lottery to get into, the public schools in Manhattan are not the best place for a hard working student.

My insider advice:

1) Know your kid. Be aware of his or her strengths and weaknesses, and where he or she might fit best. Does your child tend to get lost in a large population? Is she into math and science? Does she care about the arts? You want to know your child's priorities (not yours!) before you find a good place.

2) Know your options. Research, visit when you can, speak to anyone you know who works in a NYC school. Get advice from your child's current teachers and administrators. Be a good listener, and when they're done, ask if they know anyone at the places they recommend who might be able to talk to you or show you around.

3) Only apply to places your child would be very happy to attend.

Good luck. But do remember: nobody ever asks or remembers where you went to high school.
posted by Topkid at 11:12 AM on June 25, 2008

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