Midwood High School

An Insideschools pick
2839 BEDFORD AVENUE
BROOKLYN NY 11210 Map
Phone: (718) 724-8500
Website: Click here
Admissions: neighborhood school/selective
Principal: Michael Mcdonnell
Neighborhood: Midwood
District:22
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: CAROL ARDITO
Humanities & Interdisciplinary
Science & Math
Screened

Buses: B103, B11, B41, B44, B49, B6, B8, Q35

What's special:

Great programs for high-performing students, college emphasis

The downside:

Overcrowding, students who aren’t self-motivated can get lost

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

The packed Midwood High School building, right next to Brooklyn College, buzzes with bright, motivated students who may choose from 16 Advanced Placement classes and electives ranging from constitutional law, to psychobiology to medieval literature. Teachers are experienced and many are Midwood graduates themselves.

About half of the massive student body is enrolled in selective programs that compete with the top schools in the city. In one class we visited students were completing a DNA extraction. Downstairs, the library was filled with students studying during their free periods. Several juniors left mid-day for an internship in doctors' labs.

The other half of the student body is zoned for the school. As in many large schools with big classes, students who are not self-motivated sometimes don't get the attention they need, although the school has recently put programs in place to try and engage its at-risk students. This massive and genuinely diverse school functions well, although dirty bathrooms and crowded hallways make some students uncomfortable.

Students in the Medical Science Institute take five years of science in four years and concentrate in research, robotics or medical issues. Those with good grades may pursue research projects in local hospitals and universities. Students admitted to the Humanities program must take at least four years of foreign language, including one year of Latin. Thousands of students apply for 300 seats in the medical science program and 175 seats in the humanities program.

All science classes, including organic chemistry and anatomy are held in a beautiful building that opened in 2008, with brand new lab equipment. There is an emphasis on hands-on learning.

The zoned students are admitted into the Liberal Arts and Science Institute and may choose from four strands: pre-engineering and technology, performing arts, law, and communication media arts. Those who do well may choose to focus on American history or health careers in their second year.

Ninth graders in the zoned program may to move to a selective program after their first year if teachers believe they can handle the workload. About 10 percent do move. "We see the whole picture," said a veteran guidance counselor who sent her own child to the school. "It's crazy that just one number could define a child."

Principal David Cohen is well-regarded by most of his teachers and is committed to improving the school where needed. "We look at weaknesses so we can fix problems," said Cohen. He wants to give more individual attention to struggling students and improve communication within the school. He plans to implement a school newsletter in the 2011-12 school year. Level 1 and 2 students are tracked onto a three-semester course with smaller class sizes for remedial work. A big brother program for black males meets twice a week to help improve the graduation rate for those students.

Teachers post homework assignments and test scores on a website that parents can access. Several parents said they find it helpful in keeping up with their children's progress. They also appreciate the school's lenient "don't ask don't tell" cell phone policy, which allows students to keep their phones in their bags, as long as they do not pull them out during school hours.

Peer and departmental tutoring is available if a student is willing to seek it out. "If you are self-motivated, you will do fine here, teachers will help you," said one student. "But you have to be willing to say if you need help, because it's not going to just come and find you." Although the school has 12 guidance counselors, some students reported on the 2011 Learning Environment Survey that there weren't adults in the building with whom they felt comfortable discussing a personal problem.

Classes in the zoned program are less rigorous, but students participate and teachers treat them with respect. Some kids complain that a small handful of disruptive students can derail a class conversation. Students from different programs mix in a handful of classes such as robotics and in the many clubs. Although there is somewhat of a racial divide between the selective and zoned programs, students say that there is not a big social divide. In 2009 79 percent of the students in the zoned program graduated in four years; the overall school graduation rate was 92 percent.

Midwood's size allows it to offer a huge spectrum of courses (including 17 AP classes), clubs and sports. There is a court room where students can take mock trial in conjunction with a local law firm. Electives include megatronics, forensics, symphony, marching band, gospel choir, video production and history of resistance. There are 33 athletic teams and more than 50 clubs including Bollywood dance, environmental club, philosophy, step team and composers club.

College is a primary focus for many students. The day we visited seniors were huddled in the college office where there are two full-time college advisors for 800 seniors. The school is proud of its three Harvard acceptances for its class of 2011. Many students go to CUNY and SUNY colleges, especially Baruch, Albany, Binghamton, Brooklyn College and City College. Others enroll at Brandeis, Cornell, Cooper Union, Howard University, Johns Hopkings, Wesleyan, Temple and Penn State. About 84 percent of the 2010 grads went to four year colleges and 11 percent to two year programs. Office staff help seniors prepare applications. English teachers make themselves available to read student college essays.

The school day begins at 7:15 a.m. for some seniors and the last class for all students ends at 3:20 p.m. Students who have to travel long distances to the school are exempt from the early start.

Teachers consider Midwood a desirable school, and turnover is relatively low. Classroom styles vary and Cohen generally lets teachers choose methods of instruction as long as students are showing progress, teachers say.

Special education: The school has several Integrated Co-Teaching classes for special education students. About 75 students are in self-contained classrooms.

Admissions: Zoned school. Students who have at least a 90 average in their core courses and score Level 3 or 4 on their state exams and have good attendance may apply to the Medical Science Institute or the Humanities program. In addition, Haitian Creole speakers with grades of 85 or above may apply to a bilingual Medical Science Institute. (Meredith Kolodner, October 2011)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 3877

Average Daily Attendance 93%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
33%

Black

  
31%

Hispanic

  
12%

White

  
23%

Free Lunch

  
47%

Special ed

  
6%

English Language Learners

  
4%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.30 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

34 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?

70% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

82% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

89% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

16% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many 2009 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

85% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2007 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

93% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many 2008 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

86% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

47% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2006 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

96% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen dropped out within 4 years?

6% 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?

30%

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

14%

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

57%

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?

64% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

487
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

87%

SAT math scores

529
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?

77% 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?

43% 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

80% 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

63% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

96% 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. Open to New York City residents
  2. For K26H: Open only to students who reside in the geographical catchment area
  3. For K26L only: Open only to students whose home language is Haitian Creole

Source: High school directory

Humanities Institute

Screened

Creative Writing, American Classics, Journalism, Medieval Literature, Intel Social Science Research, Criminal Law, Law Internship, Latin

Selection Criteria

  • English (90-100) , Math (90-100) , Science (90-100) , Social Studies (90-100)
  • Math Levels: 3-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: 3-4

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

Medical Science Institute

Screened

Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Calculus, Statistics, Medical Issues, Environmental Sciences, Intel Research.

Selection Criteria

  • English (90-100) , Math (90-100) , Science (90-100) , Social Studies (90-100)
  • Math Levels: 3-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: 3-4

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

Bilingual Haitian Creole Institute

Screened: Language & Academics

Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Calculus, Statistics, Medical Issues, Environmental Sciences, Intel Research; 9th grade core subjects taught in Bilingual Haitian Creole. Students then transition into our ESL program.

Selection Criteria

  • English (85-100) , Math (85-100) , Science (85-100) , Social Studies (85-100)
  • Math Levels: 3-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: 3-4

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

Liberal Arts and Science Institute

Unscreened

Students choose among four concentrations: Pre-engineering & Technology, Performing Arts, Law Leadership & Community Service and Communication Media Arts.

Academics

AP COURCES: Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Economics: Macro, English Literature and Composition, Environmental Science, European History, French Language, Government and Politics: United States, Human Geography, Physics B, Physics C: Mechanics, Psychology, Spanish Language, Statistics, United States History, World History

Online: N/A

Language classes: French, Latin, Spanish

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Archon, Argus, Arista, Art, BioMed Society, Chorus, Concerts, Conflict Resolution, Dance, Drama, Fashion, Film, Gospel Choir, Historical Society, Japanese Animation, Knitting Circle, Marching Band, Model Congress, Patterns, Peer Tutoring and Mediation, Philosophy, Photography, Political Discussion, SING, Social and Emotional Learning, Step Team, Student Government, Writing, and Yearbook. Midwood High School currently has more than 50 clubs.

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball & JV Baseball, Basketball & JV Basketball, Bowling, Cricket, Cross Country, Football & JV Football, Golf, Handball, Indoor Track, Lacrosse & JV Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball & JV Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Handball, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball

Other schools sports: Aerobics, Basketball, Billiards, Bowling, Volleyball, Weightlifting, Yoga, Yoga Fusion

Source: High school directory

Comments

Please post comments

  • Give specific examples. Tell us why this school rocks (or doesn't)
  • No profanity. No racial or ethnic slurs. No personal attacks
  • Criticism is fine but don't be nasty.
  • Flag inappropriate comments. (Hover your cursor over comments to see flag)

New! Insideschools on your phone