Brooklyn Technical High School
BROOKLYN NY 11217 Map
Brooklyn Technical High School
Brooklyn Technical High School, the largest school in the city and one of the most selective, has a huge array of courses ranging from digital electronics to computer-integrated design. The curriculum emphasizes the practical applications of science, and many of the classes involve hands-on projects. Students may collect water samples from the Gowanus Canal as part of an environmental science class or build a two-story house (and take it down again) in an architecture and civil engineering class conducted in an enormous two-story woodworking shop. Tech is racially and ethnically diverse. About two-thirds of the students have parents who were born outside the United States. Its enrollment has increased significantly in the past five years, and now tops 5,000.
Brooklyn Tech is housed in a gigantic yellow brick building constructed in 1932 that dwarfs the neighboring townhouses and stretches the length of a city block. The building is well kept and most classrooms are brightly lit. A hyperactive alumni organization has raised millions of dollars to upgrade the school's physical plant, and many labs have state-of-the-art facilities, such as a 3-D animation lab and an elaborate robotics lab. "If you are a very bright kid who wants to explore technology, this is the place for you," said Principal Randy Asher.
The size of the school is one of its main strengths, as well as its main drawback. The large population means many more courses can be offered, but it also means some kids get lost. Kids eat lunch in shifts of 1,000 students each, cramming into a cavernous lunchroom. There are only two full-time college counselors for a class of 1,100 seniors. Each of the guidance counselors, who also assist with admissions, has a caseload of 300 to 400 students.
Students declare a major at the end of their sophomore year and take at least two periods a day of that subject in their junior and senior years. Majors include aerospace engineering, architectural engineering, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, electronic engineering, environmental engineering, media, mathematics, biological science and industrial design. A new law and society major and the social science research major are geared toward students who are more interested in humanities. Students say they have two to five hours of homework a night.
Tech is generally stronger in math and science than in the humanities. It has an extensive sports department with many teams, a swimming pool in the basement, and a playing field located a few blocks away.
Nearly all Tech graduates go to college. Many are admitted to schools of engineering and architecture. While some go to private colleges, a large proportion go to CUNY and SUNY schools, often because the tuition is reasonable.
Special education: Fewer than 1 percent of students receive special education services.
Admissions: Students are admitted to Brooklyn Tech according to their tests scores on the specialized high school exam administered in the autumn. In the fall, the school offers weekly tours at 8 a.m. for prospective parents. An evening open house is held in October. (Clara Hemphill May 2011)