High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College

An Insideschools pick
240 CONVENT AVE
MANHATTAN NY 10031 Map
Phone: (212) 281-6490
Website: Click here
Admissions: selective
Principal: Crystal Bonds
Neighborhood: Harlem
District:5
Grade range: 9-12
Engineering
Wheelchair Accessible
Screened

Buses: BX19, BX33, M10, M100, M101, M11, M2, M3, M4, M5

What's special:

Challenging, racially diverse school on a college campus

The downside:

Claustrophobic classrooms

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

The High School for Math, Science and Engineering is a haven for smart, curious, affable teens who want to take college-level classes while still in high school. The school has a nice racial balance, with whites, blacks, Asians and Latinos each making up about one-quarter of the student body.

Housed in the 100-year-old Bakersville Hall on the City College campus, HSMSE offers students access to the college cafeteria, gym and libraries as well as college credit for some of their classes. The school’s small size and devoted staff—some of whom have PhDs--help make a heavy workload manageable.

The school focuses on the applications of science, and classes have a practical bent. “You learn a lot but you don’t realize it,” said a senior who wants to study art at Cooper Union. “It’s information you can apply right away.”

In the Innovation and Design elective, we watched students compare their cell phones in order to evaluate user-friendliness in a diverse, relaxed atmosphere with lots of inter-racial interaction.

Spanish is offered, as is German, the language of engineers. Not all parents agree that German is the most practical choice, but Principal Crystal Bonds calls the language a “leveler,” in which kids can learn and grow together.

Beginning junior year, students concentrate on engineering, math or science. All of the teachers in the engineering concentrations are trained engineers. Students in the math concentration take two college-credit math courses their junior year and may take Advanced Placement Calculus BC their senior year. Only 20 juniors and 20 seniors are admitted to the science concentration; they travel by city bus to Mt. Sinai Hospital to don white lab coats and learn about research and clinical practice. Back at school, this close-knit group is apt to be found in an upstairs hallway, eating brown bag lunches, before attending afternoon classes and electives.

The school may specialize in math, science and engineering, but the humanities teacher points out that students do better on the Regent’s English exam than any other subject.

The versatile teaching staff offers electives like astronomy, history of the 1960s, and gastronomy (where students taste prosciutto, chocolate and cheese, and report on tasting trips on their foodconsidered.com blog.) Teachers, many of whom are also college professors, say they like their work. In turn, students feel supported. A parent said, “Teachers plead with the kids to come and get one-on-one tutoring if they have any problems.”

Bonds, who became principal in 2011, has experience as both an administrator and a parent in the city's specialized schools: she was formerly assistant principal for guidance at Brooklyn Tech and her daughter attended Bronx High School of Science. One parent told us she has brought a fresh perspective and lots of enthusiasm. On our visit, she articulated the school's goals clearly and seemed to have a good rapport with teachers.

The building is an obvious downside. You enter on the basement level dominated by air vents. Large pillars make already small classrooms feel claustrophobic. However, the building’s downsides are balanced by an accepting atmosphere and students’ ability to roam the City College of New York campus: they eat on the grassy quad, play sports in the Nat Holman gymnasium and have access to six libraries.

College: Graduates have been admitted to highly selective colleges such as Brown, Columbia, Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore, and Johns Hopkins. About half the graduates go to engineering schools and half to liberal arts programs.

Special education: The school has about a dozen students with Individualized Educational Plans.

Admissions: Students are admitted based on their scores on the entrance exam also given for Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech and the other specialized high schools. Prospective parents may attend an open house in October. (Lydie Raschka, October, 2012)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 456

Average Daily Attendance 94%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
37%

Black

  
9%

Hispanic

  
24%

White

  
25%

Free Lunch

  
47%

Special ed

  
3%

English Language Learners

  
0%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.80 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

31 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

63% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

90% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

94% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

100% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

15% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many 2009 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

99% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2007 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

98% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many 2008 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

99% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

88% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2006 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

100% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen dropped out within 4 years?

0% 11% 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?

84%

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

99%

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

99%

Are students ready for college?

How many 2009 freshmen graduated in four years with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?

99% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

626
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2009 freshmen graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

97%

SAT math scores

669
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?

85% 76% 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 45% 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?

0% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

97% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

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

40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

58% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Open to New York City residents who take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT)

Source: High school directory

Pre-Engineering

Test

Nationally validated pre-engineering curriculum enriched by the City College faculty, culminating in a senior thesis project.

Academics

AP COURCES: Calculus BC, Chemistry, English Literature and Composition, German Language, Statistics, World History

Online: N/A

Language classes: German, Spanish

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Art, Art History, Astronomy, Band, Cheerleading, Chorus, Creative Writing, Cross Country, Dance, Drama, Dr. Dragon, Math and Science Magazine, EAT NYC, Euro-Challenge, Fed-Challenge, Film, FIRST Tech Challenge, Flying Dragons Cross Country Running, Gastronomy, German, Glee, Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), Harlem IS (Dwyer Docents), Honor Society, Junior Statesman of America (JSA), Key Club, Mock Trial, Model United Nations, Modern Dance, MOUS, National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Peer and Teacher Tutoring, Photography Club, Poetry, Ping Pong Club, Science Research, Spades/Chess Club, Student Government, Tennis, Varsity and JV Math Team, International League of Youth (ILY) Yearbook

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Volleyball

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Soccer, Softball

Other schools sports: N/A

Source: High school directory

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