Frank McCourt High School

145 WEST 84 STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10024 Map
Phone: (212) 362-2015
Website: Click here
Admissions: Selective; citywide
Principal: Danielle Salzberg
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
District:3
Grade range: 9-12
Humanities & Interdisciplinary
New School
Citywide

Buses: M10, M104, M5, M7, M79, M86

What's special:

Diverse school focused on writing with non-traditional courses.

The downside:

Metal detectors. Concern over integrated math and science curriculum.

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Frank McCourt is a small, selective high school with a diverse mix of students and an enterprising approach to learning. Students study writing as an independent subject, and math and science in a combined course. In the upper grades, students will have flexible schedules that will allow them to spend up to half their time off campus at internships and taking college courses.

The school shares space with four other schools in the Brandeis High School Campus building on Manhattan's Upper West side. It opened in 2010 with a ninth grade and is adding one grade a year until it reaches capacity serving grades 9 through 12. The school attracts students from all five boroughs.

Founding principal, Danielle Salzberg is a veteran of selective admission schools, having worked as an assistant principal at Millennium High School and as a teacher at Baruch High School. She also served a brief stint as principal of Khalil Gibran.

There's definitely a non-traditional bent to the curriculum. Instead of English, 9th and 10th graders take a double period of humanities, which combines literature and history. For instance, in 10th grade humanities, a class-wide reading of Lord of the Flies is tied into a unit on China's Cultural Revolution. Writing is taught in a separate class. Students compose essays, conduct interviews, and learn to take writing cues from literature, such as analyzing scene structure in Othello as a precursor to writing one-act plays.

Math and science is taught through an integrated curriculum known as ISM (Integrated Math and Science). Ninth grade ISM combines Living Environment and Algebra (with some geometry) and 10th grade combines Chemistry and Algebra II. Three days each week students take separate classes for math and science. Instruction on the remaining two days merges the subjects. Some parents have expressed concern that ISM will not prepare students for higher-level math. "In college, students are expected to make connections between math and science, but teenagers don't do that instinctively. They need to be shown it," said Salzberg who pointed out that the 10th grade ISM covers the concepts tested on the SAT II exams in math and chemistry.

The upper grade curriculum was still in development at the time of our visit, but Salzberg envisions that "it will look less like a traditional high school," with students spending time off campus at internships and taking classes at CUNY colleges. Though the school emphasizes writing and communications, students can pursue internships in other interests. "We've already spoken with a science lab about placing students," said Salzberg.

In classes we visited, students were calm and engaged. Many seemed at ease participating in class discussions. Students interviewed said that they have two to three hours of homework each night, "except when there's a big project due," said a 9th grader.

Students take classes in art and media and study a "world language", either Spanish in traditional classes or French, German, Latin or Mandarin online. Daily, small-group advisories blend independent reading time with skills-building activities. All students must fulfill community service requirements.

Parent involvement is good and growing in tandem with the school. The Parent Association fundraises to support student activities and trips. A parent committee is helping the administration set up the college advisory program for juniors and seniors.

After school: Students can participate in campus-wide PSAL sports teams and campus-wide clubs, such as art, dance, photography and Model UN, which are popular with Frank McCourt students, according to Salzberg. The school runs its own activities including the school newspaper, student leadership and an outdoors club.

Special education: The school has ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) classes and SETTS.

Admissions: Open to students citywide. Admission decisions are based on a range of criteria including 7th grade transcripts, test scores, attendance and an interview. (Laura Zingmond, December 2011)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

Louis D. Brandeis Educational Campus

Number of Students 373

Average Daily Attendance 94%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? Yes

Students at this school

Asian

  
10%

Black

  
15%

Hispanic

  
42%

White

  
30%

Free Lunch

  
50%

Special ed

  
17%

English Language Learners

  
1%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.10 2.80 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


1 = Far below grade level 2 = Below grade level 3 = At grade level 4 = Above grade level

Safety & vibe

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

NA 24 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

61% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

87% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

How many students say they feel safe in hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?

81% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?

100% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

16% 34% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of

How many -4 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

NA 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many -6 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

NA 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many -4 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

NA 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen earned an advanced regents diploma within 4 years?

NA 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many -6 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

NA 73% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen dropped out within 4 years?

NA 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

College prep

Does this school offer a college preparatory curriculum?

How many students took an AP or IB class and scored at least a "3" on the AP exam or a "4" on the IB exam?

0%

How Many Students took a College Course and Got a "C" or Higher?

NA

How many students passed a Regents exam for algebra 2, physics or chemistry?

NA

Are students ready for college?

How many -4 freshmen graduated in four years with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?

NA 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

NA
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

How many 0 freshmen graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

NA

SAT math scores

NA
425 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 514 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

Is the guidance counseling helpful?

How many students say that this school provides helpful counseling on college or job-seeking?

65% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students starting school in 2008 graduated within 4 years?

NA 44% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students starting school in 2006 graduated within 6 years?

NA 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students with disabilities spend most of the day with non-disabled peers?

97% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say students with disabilities are included in all activities?

87% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners starting school in 2008 graduated within 4 years?

38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners starting school in 2006 graduated within 6 years?

57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Open to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

Frank McCourt High School

Screened

Selection Criteria

  • English (80-100) , Math (80-100) , Science (80-100) , Social Studies (80-100)
  • Math Levels: 2-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: 2-4

There may be additional selection criteria, see the High School Directory for more information

Academics

AP COURCES: N/A

Online: N/A

Language classes: Spanish

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Asian Cultures, Brandeis Student Campus Council, buildOn, Model UN, Newspaper, Outdoors Club, Peer Tutoring, Student Leadership Council. As we expand we expect to add other student-initiated extracurricular activities such as: Debate Literary Magazine, Chess Club, Film Club

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Soccer, Volleyball, Wrestling

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Bowling, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

Other schools sports: As we expand, we plan to offer select intramural sports based on student interest. PSAL sports are offered through the Louis D. Brandeis Educational Campus.

Source: High school directory

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