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
Parent Coordinator: Cristin Hill
Engineering
Screened

Buses: Bx19, Bx33, M10, M100, M101, M11, M2, M3, M4, M5

What's special:

Small, challenging school on college campus

The downside:

Cramped facilities

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

The High School for Math, Science and Engineering (HSMSE) offers challenging academics in a close-knit and friendly environment. The workload can be heavy, but the school’s small size, accepting atmosphere and supportive teaching staff—which includes PhDs and trained engineers—helps kids manage the pressure and stay focused in school.

Students attend classes in Baskerville Hall, a 100-year-old building on the City College campus. The basement-level entrance, dominated by air vents and large pillars, make already small classrooms feel claustrophobic. However, the cramped space is offset by students’ access to campus facilities. They can get lunch in the college cafeteria, hangout on the grassy quad, play sports in the campus gymnasium and have access to multiple libraries.

Although the school specializes in math and science, English and history are strong as well. Students read selections from authors such as Kafka, Chekhov, Hemingway and Thoreau in English class, take Advanced Placement English their junior year and tackle topics such as existentialism and the American short story in 12th grade. There are sophisticated reading assignments not only in English, but in history (All Quiet on the Western Front), math (Freakonomics) and biology (The Double Helix) and more.

There’s no avoiding challenging math and science at HSMSE. Students take a three-year sequence of engineering courses—Design and Drawing, Civil Engineering and Architecture, and Principles of Engineering, the latter taught as a double period course with physics. All freshmen take a double load of math. Some take algebra and geometry. Those who passed the algebra Regents in middle school take geometry and Foundation in Higher Mathematics, which delves more deeply into algebra.

Beginning junior year, students choose a concentration: engineering (taught by trained engineers), math or medical research. Some engineering students secure paid internships with City College’s Grove School of Engineering.

Students in the math concentration compete on the math team and tackle college-level courses, such as statistics, by the 11th grade. By senior year, many take Advanced Placement Calculus BC and all take Advanced Topics, which covers graph, number and game theory as well Maple programming, computer language for mathematical computation.

Only a small group of students are admitted to the medical research program, which offers lab experience and research opportunities that far exceed anything offered in a typical high school science class. Run in partnership with Mount Sinai Hospital, students take courses such as bioethics, physiology and anatomy, and travel regularly to the medical center where they participate in laboratory and clinical internships.

Classes in core subjects—math, science, English and history—meet for 90 minutes on alternate days, which allows teachers time to incorporate lots of discussion and projects into class time. It also staggers the homework load for students. The one exception is freshmen math, which meets daily for 90 minutes because it covers two courses. Elective classes and lunch scheduled for shorter periods of 45 minutes.

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. “I’m even learning German,” said Bonds.

The school is not a pressure cooker, but students still feel the weight of challenging academics and high expectations. Weekly advisories help teachers keep tabs on students. The Freshman Academy, a year-long course focusing on study skills in the fall and research methods in the spring, helps new students acclimate to high school. “Before starting this, we had a bunch of freshmen who would fail a class. Now we have few,” said Bonds, whose own daughter attended Bronx High School of Science.

The versatile teaching staff offers electives like astronomy, poetry and gastronomy (where students taste prosciutto, chocolate and cheese, and report on tasting trips on their foodconsidered.com blog.). They also find ways to connect their interests to lessons in other classes. For instance in a film class, students watch Schindler’s List while studying World War II in history; in art, projects are tied to what students are reading in English.

Students are surveyed to determine what elective classes and programs are scheduled—something that helps them feel invested and happy in school, said Bonds. “Because we are so rigorous, we try to do a lot of fun and relaxing things too.”

An onsite mental health and wellness clinic sponsored by New York Foundling Hospital provides free counseling and resources to all HSMSE students.

Graduates have been admitted to highly selective colleges such as Brown, Columbia, Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore, and Johns Hopkins. The University Michigan creates customized brochures to recruit HSMSE students to its engineering school.

Special education: Students receive supports such as testing accommodations, but there are no ICT or self-contained classes.

Admissions: Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). The school also runs STEM after school and weekend activities and SHSAT prep for District 5 middle school students. (Laura Zingmond, March 2015)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Number of Students 475

Average Daily Attendance 96%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
35%

Black

  
10%

Hispanic

  
23%

White

  
27%

Free Lunch

  
43%

Special ed

  
4%

English Language Learners

  
0%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.77 2.39 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 NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

79% 74% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

94% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

97% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

7% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2015

How many students graduated within 4 years?

98% 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates earned an advanced regents diploma within 4 years?

88% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

99% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

2% 9% 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?

86%

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

100%

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

99%

Are students ready for college?

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

98% 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

610
424 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 495 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

96% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

683
432 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 511 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

Is the guidance counseling helpful?

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

NA 48% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

NA 57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

48% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

56% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

Pre-Engineering

Test

Admission to this Specialized High School is based solely on the score obtained on the Specialized High Schools Admission Test (SHSAT). Students should speak to their guidance counselor in the Fall to register for the SHSAT.

Academics

AP COURSES: AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science, AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP German, AP World History

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Art, Astronomy, Band, Cheer, Chorus, Writing, Cross Country, Dance, Drama, Dr. Dragon, Math & Science Magazine, EAT NYC, Euro-Challenge, Fed-Challenge, Film, FIRST Tech Challenge, Gastronomy, German, Glee, Gay Straight Alliance, Harlem IS, Honor Society, Junior Statesman of America, Key Club, Mock Trial, Model UN, Modern Dance, MOUSE Squad, National Society of Black Engineers, Tutoring, Photography, Poetry, Science Research, Spades/Chess, Student Government, Tennis, Math Team, Yearbook

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Soccer, Softball

Other schools sports: Table Tennis

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

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