Bronx High School of Science
BRONX NY 10468 Map
Bronx High School of Science
Buses: Bx1, Bx10, Bx2, Bx22, Bx26, Bx28, Bx3
The Bronx High School of Science, one of the most famous schools in the country, has a proud history of training not only scientists but also authors, business executives, and academic leaders. Its graduates have won eight Nobel prizes, more than any other school in the country. Many of the faculty members are Bronx Science alumni and have PhDs in their fields.
With a typical class size of 34 and a demanding curriculum, Bronx Science can be a stressful place. Kids are chronically sleep-deprived from hours of homework and long commutes, and many take on multiple extracurricular activities on top of their heavy academic load. Almost all students come in with some Regents exams under their belt, so freshmen who are lacking algebra will take it alongside geometry their first year. Many students exhaust the extensive Advanced Placement curriculum (the school offers all possible AP courses except AP German), so Bronx Science offers several “post-AP” classes like genetics, multivariable calculus and organic chemistry. Other electives include smart phone app development, a horticulture class which makes use of the greenhouse on the roof, an engineering course on drones, and a history course which trains students as docents for the on-campus Holocaust Museum.
In addition to the fast-paced science and math curriculum, all Bronx Science students take a writing seminar and a research literacy course in 9th grade where they learn how to design testable experiments, analyze peer-reviewed science articles, and defend their arguments in writing and discussions. About 10 percent of students go on to a three-year research track which culminates in an independent research project under the supervision of one Bronx Science faculty member and an outside expert from the field. Those students work in labs or field settings throughout the summer and enter their projects in national competitions, where several have won prestigious awards.
The enrollment has ballooned to more than 3,000, an increase of nearly 600 students since 2006 and well over the 2,300 the building was designed to accommodate, but students we talked to say they do not feel anonymous. One benefit of its large size is the school can offer a wide array of courses. Students may choose from eight foreign languages, including Latin, and may take electives such as Spanish narrative and film. Students may take band and orchestra as a sixth “major” class. Many students take required classes such as drama, visual arts and health during the summer to free up their schedule for more academic electives. There are dozens of clubs and afterschool activities, including one of the top debate teams in the country. To draw more female students into the robotics club, the school recently established an all-girls team called the Iron Maidens.
To support students who are struggling, the school now offers special seminar-style after-school classes called “small group instruction” or “SGI” to give students the chance to review material with their teachers. The student-led National Honor Society has also organized a peer-to-peer tutoring system, where students can find tutors by subject area on an online database. The “Big Siblings” program, where four to five seniors are paired with each freshman homeroom class, has also grown stronger in recent years.
Since Principal Jean Donahue took over in 2013, the curriculum has shifted towards more applied learning activities to hook students in to the abstract concepts they are studying. In every science class we visited, students were engaged in hands-on activities, working in groups to solve real-world challenges such as building prototypes for a collapsible wall to shield combat troops. Math, English and social studies classes, too, had built-in time for working in pairs or teams, though discussions in most classes were still largely teacher-driven.
Enabling this “change in culture” is more time built into the daily schedule for teachers of the same subject to plan lessons together, Donahue said. As an alumna of the school, parent of a recent graduate, and former teacher at Bronx Science, she knows the school well. She has a PhD and a background in cancer research, which she put to use as the head of Bronx Science’s three-year research program prior to becoming principal. Her experience in the field and her history with Bronx Science seems to have earned her the respect of her faculty and the alumni association, a welcome change after years of tension with the previous administration.
COLLEGE ADMISSIONS: The guidance office has grown in recent years, now up to 12 counselors, some of whom double as college advisors, and one full-time college advisor. They run a six-week transition program for freshmen, host college admissions officers on campus, and bring Bronx Science alumni in to conduct practice interviews with seniors. Students attend a range of top-tier private colleges—Yale, Haverford, Tufts, Wesleyan, and Barnard, to name a few—as well as CUNY and SUNY schools.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The building is wheelchair accessible. At the time of our visit, 40 students received special education student support services and between 10 and 20 received 504 accommodations for conditions such as ADHD or limited vision.
ADMISSIONS: There is one open house in the fall. It's crowded, but well worth attending. Students offer tours of the building in the evening, and both students and staff are available to answer questions. Admission is based on the Specialized Science High School Admissions test (SSHAT) given in the fall. (Nicole Mader, October 2014)
At a glance
Number of Students 3037
Average Daily Attendance 97%
Metal detectors? No
INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.90 2.40 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Safety & vibe
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average english class33 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?
How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?60% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?87% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?
How many students say they feel safe in hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?90% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?97% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How Many Students are Chronically Absent?3% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Class of 2014
How many students passed a Regents exam for algebra 2, physics or chemistry?100%
Is the guidance counseling helpful?
How many students say that this school provides helpful counseling on college or job-seeking?88% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Special ed & ELL
Programs and Admissions
School admission priorities:
- Open to New York City residents
Source: High school directory
The Bronx High School of Science
AP COURSES: Art History, Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Chinese Language and Culture, Comparative Government and Politics, Computer Science A, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, Environmental Science, European History, French Language and Culture, Human Geography, Italian Language and Culture, Japanese Language and Culture, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Music Theory, Physics B, Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, Physics C: Mechanics, Psychology, Spanish Language and Culture, Spanish Literature and Culture, Statistics, Studio Art: 2-D Design, Studio Art: Drawing, United States Government and Politics, United States History, World History
Source: High school directory
EXTRACURRICULAR: Arista Honor Society, Big Sibs, Bridge Building, Biology, Math; Physical Science, English and Social Studies Journals, Envirothon, Euro Challenge, Fed Challenge, Mock Trial, Model UN, Math Team, S!NG, Musical and Dramatic Theater Productions, Oceanography, Robotics Teams, School Newspaper, Yearbook, Science Olympiad, Speech and Debate Team; Over 80 clubs; students can start new clubs
BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball & JV Baseball, Basketball & JV Basketball, Bowling, Cricket, Cross Country, Fencing, Golf, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling
GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball & JV Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Handball, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball & JV Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball & JV Volleyball, Wrestling
Other schools sports: Our Girls' Soccer team was 2012 city champions! Please visit the Bronx Science Homepage for a list of sports, coaches and achievements.
Source: High school directory