High School for Environmental Studies

444 WEST 56 STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10019 Map
Phone: (212) 262-8113
Website: Click here
Admissions: educational option
Principal: Amber Najmi Shadid
Neighborhood: Hell's Kitchen
District: 2
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: Wanda Adams
Humanities & Interdisciplinary
Environmental Science
Wheelchair Accessible
Screened

Buses: BxM2, M10, M104, M11, M12, M20, M31, M5, M50, M57, M66, X1, X14, X30

What's special:

Molecular biology lab; 10th-grade internships

The downside:

While strong students are challenged, others may find the work too easy

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

At the High School for Environmental Studies (HSES), students maintain a rooftop garden and beehive and learn about composting and recycling. Any 9th- or 10th-grader willing to put in the time and effort may take part in a science research project and those who stick with it are paired with a professional mentor to refine their research in 11th and 12th grades. Roughly 50 sophomores have internships at places such as Wave Hill, Bronx Zoo and the New York Hall of Science.

HSES boasts one of the few high school molecular biology labs in the city. Students may work with professional grade equipment such as a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machine, which is used to isolate and extract DNA from insects, plants, fruits and even samples provided by the American Museum of Natural History. Students present their research at a symposium sponsored by the Urban Bar Code Project run by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

There are plenty of challenging courses for top students. The highly selective Honors Academy admits a small group of high achievers. In addition, there are honors classes and plenty of advanced and college-level courses open to students not in the Honors Academy. However, students who are learning English, students with disabilities and students on the bottom third of their class tend to have less challenging classes, according to the Quality Review.

While there are lots of opportunities for motivated self-starters, the school’s size is daunting for some. Some parents have complained that the school is slow to alert them to problems such as a failing grades or spotty attendance. Each guidance counselor is responsible for hundreds of students.

During our visit we saw lots of engaging instruction. Many classrooms were nicely decorated and lined with student projects; students seemed relaxed and attentive. Students write essays in all subjects—not just English and history.

In addition to honors classes, Advanced Placement (AP) courses are offered in physics, chemistry, biology, environmental science, calculus (AB and BC), English, American history, world history, government and Spanish. Motivated students can take additional AP classes online. For students with weaker skills, the school offers options such as non-Regents chemistry and a math class in financial literacy.

Foreign language instruction is offered in Spanish, Italian and French. In addition to visual art classes, choir and band, students may take gym electives in weight training, yoga and dance—the latter taught by an instructor from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

There are PSAL sports teams and a range of clubs such as fantasy science fiction, math team, Model UN, marketing, dance and photography.

A student representative from each homeroom class participates in a leadership program that meets daily at 7:30 am. On our visit, students worked in groups to identify qualities of good leadership such as knowing how to resolve conflicts, or as it was described in class, how to “agree to disagree without being disagreeable.”

A fulltime college counselor meets with 11th-graders multiple times during their scheduled English class to walk them through the application and financial aid process. Many students attend CUNY and SUNY schools. Roughly 25 percent of graduates attend private school and out-of-state schools, according to the Quality Snapshot.

Special education: The school offers self-contained classes and SETSS.

Admissions: To be considered for the Honors Academy students must have grades of 85 in core subjects, level 3 or 4 scores on standardized tests and a good record of attendance. The Honors Academy admits only 34 students each year and has many more applicants than available seats. Admission to the Environmental Studies program is based on the educational option formula, designed to ensure a mix of low-, average- and-high-achieving students. High achieving students admitted to the Environmental Studies program are placed in honors classes. (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 1259

Average Daily Attendance 89%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
13%

Black

  
15%

Hispanic

  
64%

White

  
6%

Free Lunch

  
73%

Special ed

  
17%

English Language Learners

  
8%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.58 2.38 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

25 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

57% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

87% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

88% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

68% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

30% 36% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2015

How many students graduated within 4 years?

82% 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

18% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

90% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

5% 10% 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?

28%

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

17%

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

35%

Are students ready for college?

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

42% 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

454
423 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 495 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

79% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

469
431 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?

83% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

72% 48% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

83% 57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

77% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

94% 97% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

47% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

55% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Open to New York City residents

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

Environmental Studies

Ed. Opt.

Interdisciplinary program emphasizing environmental studies: the natural environment, the urban environment and environmental ethics. Students are expected to engage in research, environmental projects and internships and complete a senior thesis.

Honors Academy

Screened

Mathematics and science research, work in university laboratories.

Selection Criteria

  • English (Scores 85-100) , Math (Scores 85-100) , Science (Scores 85-100) , Social Studies (Scores 85-100)
  • Math Levels: Levels 3.0-4.5 ; English Language Arts Levels: Levels 3.0-4.5

There may be additional selection criteria, see the High School Directory for more information

Academics

AP COURSES: Biology, Calculus, Chemistry, Economics, English, Environmental Science, Human Geography, Physics, Spanish, United States Government and Politics, United States History, World History

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Art, Badminton, Board Games, Envirothon, Fantasy Science Fiction, Leadership Class, Literature, Marketing/Public Relations, Model UN, Multicultural Aspects,National Honor Society (Arista), Photography, Student Government, Weight Training, Yearbook, Youth Environmental Stewards (YES), Yoga, Salsa Dance, Marketing/Public Relations, Video games/Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Math Team, French

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Handball, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Handball, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

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