Food and Finance High School

An Insideschools pick for Special Education
525 WEST 50TH STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10019 Map
Phone: (212) 586-2943
Website: Click here
Admissions: Citywide
Principal: ROGER TURGEON
Neighborhood: West Midtown
District:2
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: CARMEN MERCADO
Culinary Arts
Wheelchair Accessible
Vocational
Citywide

Buses: M11, M20, M31, M34A-SBS, M42, M50, M57

What's special:

Fabulous culinary program; garden and fish farm

The downside:

Academics could be more rigorous

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

For students serious about learning to cook, Food and Finance High School offers a hands-on introduction to the restaurant business and food industry. The school, housed in the Park West Educational Complex, has become one of the most popular in the city, with thousands of applicants for about 100 9th grade seats.

Students grow fruits, vegetables and tilapia in labs in the school set up by Cornell University's Cooperative Extension. The food is sold at farmer's markets and used for catering special events. Seniors have paid internships at restaurants like Ililly, The Food Network, or Amy's Bakery. (Some students told us they opt out of the internships because their love of cooking fades when they realize how stressful restaurant work can be!)

We saw some inspired teaching during our visit, like in sophomore English class working to tease out a backstory for the mysterious narrator in Edgar Allen Poe's classic "A Telltale Heart." For social studies class, students compared French public school lunch menus to their own (and found they preferred the French two-hour lunch break!). A Living Environment class grows a hydroponic garden. Students take four years of art and one year of French--an important language to understand if you're serious about cuisine.

But a very bright student may find the academics are not challenging enough. Most students we spoke to said they do little homework, even in Advanced Placement classes. Work we saw on our visit shows that some students struggle with basic writing skills. "The school is not that hard if you just pay attention and do your work," one senior said.

Students can take three years of math -- the highest level regularly offered is trigonometry. (Special arrangements can be made to take calculus, said Jessica Mates, the school's community liaison.)

As a career and technical education (CTE) school, Food and Finance offers students the chance to earn three food-handling certifications (ServSafe, ProStart and NYC Food Handlers). Mates said the certifications help students get real world jobs. For example, she said, local restaurants often call her looking for grads with NYC Food Handlers certification.

Student wear uniforms of black or khaki bottoms and blue or white polos emblazoned with the school's name and matching chef's dress in the kitchen. Everyone must pass through a metal detector on the way in. Cell phones are not allowed but students may leave them at the door for a small fee. Some students have lockers. No one may leave the building for lunch.

Special education: About 20 percent of students receive special education services. The school creates plenty of opportunities for special needs students, said Mates. They may participate in the senior internship program and take AP classes. Some academic and cooking classes are co-taught, meaning those classes have two instructors, one certified in special education. The school has also found success using the Achieve 3000 online program. Food and Finance graduates an impressive number of special needs students. The Park West building is wheelchair accessible.

College: Most graduates go to college, including cooking schools like Culinary Institute of America and Johnson and Wales.

Admissions: Citywide, limited unscreened, with preference to students who attend the school's open house. "The only thing that's difficult is if the kids don't want to cook," said Mates. "They can't just like to eat." (Anna Schneider, December 2012)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

Park West Educational Campus

Number of Students 443

Average Daily Attendance 87%

Uniforms? Yes

Metal detectors? Yes

Students at this school

Asian

  
5%

Black

  
42%

Hispanic

  
49%

White

  
4%

Free Lunch

  
82%

Special ed

  
16%

English Language Learners

  
3%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.80 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

27 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

55% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

71% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

83% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

90% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

40% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many 2009 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

84% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2007 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

83% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many 2008 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

77% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

1% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2006 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

93% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen dropped out within 4 years?

9% 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?

1%

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

31%

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

4%

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?

11% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

399
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

67%

SAT math scores

386
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?

73% 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?

53% 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

83% 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

95% 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. Priority to New York City residents who attend an information session
  2. Then to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

Food and Finance High School

Limited Unscreened

Focuses on Culinary Arts in cooking and baking and the financial aspects related to the industry.

Academics

AP COURCES: English Language and Composition, Environmental Science, Government and Politics: United States, Studio Art: 2-D Design, United States History

Online: N/A

Language classes: French

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: 4-H, Anime, Arts, Baking, Cornell Nutrition, Drama; Educated and Aware Teens Who Inspire Smart Eating (EATWISE), Entrepreneurship, Gay/Straight Alliance, Guitar, National Honor Society, Peer Mediation/Conflict Resolution, Poetry, ProStart, Saturday Academy, Scholarship, School Newsletter, SkillsUSA, Step Dance, Student Government, Technology, Weight Training, Yearbook, Youth Leadership, Youth-run Business

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball & JV Basketball, Handball, Soccer, Volleyball

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball & JV Basketball, Handball, JV Softball

Other schools sports: Step Team, Yoga

Source: High school directory

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