Brooklyn Technical High School
BROOKLYN NY 11217 Map
Brooklyn Technical High School
Buses: B103, B25, B37, B38, B41, B45, B52, B54, B62, B63, B65, B67, B69
Brooklyn Tech has achieved the rare feat of remaining true to its original goal of forming "a more technically literate workforce," while staying up-to-date with the latest technology and skills. The largest and most diverse of the city's specialized high schools, Tech offers an exciting environment for students who like to design, build and work with their hands.
Principal Randy Asher believes that when students can "touch, feel and do," they enjoy learning more. This was evident in classes across all subject areas, but most obvious in the workshops and labs of the 18 technical or scientific "majors." We saw aerospace engineering majors practicing on flight simulators, watched law and society majors conducting a forensic analysis of hairs left at a "crime scene," and walked through the two-story house the architectural engineering majors were building inside one massive classroom.
The first-floor hallway lined with an alumni Hall of Fame reminds students of the school's lauded history and high expectation of success, but Tech lacks the sense of pressure and competition that pervades the other specialized high schools in the city.
"There are a number of kids here whose parents are elected officials or high-powered business executives, as well as a number of kids whose parents work in restaurants," said Asher. "The cool thing about the kids here is that it just doesn't matter to them." He credits their sense of teamwork and the fact that students all start off together in two core technology classes—design and drafting for production and digital electronics—which teach them to work together using industry-standard drafting software, reading blueprints, wiring their own computer "bread boards," and printing prototypes on one of the school's many 3-D printers. These two courses are meant to introduce kids to the problem-solving and design skills they will need in any college major or career they pursue.
In the spring of their sophomore year, students rank all 18 majors according to preference, and those with the highest grade point average are given first choice. Some majors are more demanding than others and cannot be changed or dropped once assigned. Social science research, for example, requires a sequence of six AP courses over two years. Other majors, like software engineering, allow more flexibility because they only require two AP courses and two other computer-related courses. The wide array of Advanced Placement course offerings are open to all students, as are the school's 15 music, dance and drama electives.
Majors require a sequence of four to eight courses that students must complete over two years in addition to fulfilling graduation requirements in math, English language arts and social studies. Tech is generally stronger in math and science than in the humanities.
We observed students working collaboratively in most classes, guiding their own projects, while the teacher walked around to support them. Even the math class we saw was focused on research and students were designing original projects around the concepts they were learning.
Some classrooms are just as they were when the building opened; others have been recently renovated, like the mock courtroom, complete with a judge's booth, jury benches and portraits of Supreme Court justices on the wall.
The school, founded in 1922, moved in 1933 to its current campus adjacent to Fort Greene Park. The massive building has wide hallways, several elevators and many huge classrooms renovated to keep up with new technological demands. The 3,000-seat theater is one of the largest in the city, and is used for school plays as well as public events. Students in the "Stageworks" club manage the lighting, sound and sets for events.
There are 42 sports teams and 140 extracurricular activities, including drama, salsa dancing, quilting, photography and a robotics team which won a national championship in 2014. The robotics team captain proudly told us that the students designed, printed parts and built their entire robot in house, not relying on corporate partners as most school teams do. At a school full of budding engineers, though, it is hard to make the cut amongst the 400 applications for a spot on this 28-member team. A robust alumni network actively supports the school.
Tech's 22 guidance counselors work with individuals or small groups at key transition points, like freshmen year and during the college admissions process. Their offices are located near the cafeteria, so students can drop in and visit during lunch hour. Still, at this biggest of all city high schools, it's hard to provide individual attention to each student.
About one-third of graduates go to private colleges, the rest go mostly to schools in the CUNY or SUNY systems, including the Macaulay Honors College.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: Fewer than 1 percent of students receive special education services.
ADMISSIONS: Students take the SHSAT (Specialized High School Admissions Test) in the fall of their 8th- or 9th-grade year and are admitted solely based on their test scores. Ninth and 10th grades are the only two entry points. (Nicole Mader, March 2015)
At a glance
Number of Students 5447
Average Daily Attendance 96%
Metal detectors? No
INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.78 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?52% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?75% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?
How many students say they feel safe in hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?92% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?95% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How Many Students are Chronically Absent?7% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Class of 2014
How many students passed a Regents exam for algebra 2, physics or chemistry?99%
Is the guidance counseling helpful?
How many students say that this school provides helpful counseling on college or job-seeking?77% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Special ed & ELL
Programs and Admissions
School admission priorities:
- Open to New York City residents
Admission to this Specialized High School is based solely on the score obtained on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT). Students should speak to their guidance counselors in the Fall to register for the SHSAT.
AP COURSES: Biology, Calculus, Chemistry, Chinese Language and Culture, Computer Science A, Economics, English, Environmental Science, French Language and Culture, Human Geography, Physics, Psychology, Statistics, Studio Art, United States Government and Politics, United States History, World History
EXTRACURRICULAR: Academic Decathalon, Amateur Radio, Animal Rights, Anime, Art, ASPIRA, Beta, BETA Honor Society, BTHSNEWS, Chess, Chinese Culture, Civil Air Patrol, CSI Team, Dance, Debate Team, DECA, Drama, Film, Find The Cure, Future Business Leaders of America, Gospel Choir, Habitat for Humanity, Horizons Literary Magazine, Jewish, Key Club, Korean Student Association, Lady Dragons & Organized Chaos Step Teams, Math Team, Mentoring, Mock Trial, Mu Alpha Theta, Mural Painting, Muslim Student Association, National Honor Society (Arista), Opera, Paleo, Progressive Student Awareness, Radish Satirical Newspaper, Robotics Team, Salsa, Save Darfur, School Newspaper, Science Bowl, Science Olympiad, Scrabble, Seekers, SING, Spring Musical, Straight & Gay Alliance, Student Government, Student Magazines, Survey School Newspaper, Tech Internet Radio Project, US FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics, Web Design, Weight Training, World Summit, Yearbook, Young Entrepreneurs Association
BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Football, Handball, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling
GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Golf, Handball, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Stunt, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling
Other schools sports: Cheerleading