Millennium High School

Phone: (212) 825-9008
Website: Click here
Admissions: Priority to downtown Manhattan
Wheelchair accessible
Noteworthy Special Education
Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan
District: 2
Grade range: 09 thru 12
Parent coordinator: Angela Benfield

What's special:

Pleasant building and well-rounded curriculum

The downside:

No gym. Drama and music only offered after-school

The InsideStats


Our review

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2012: Colin McEvoy, a history teacher at Millennium for nine years and an assistant principal for two, became principal in 2012 after Robert Rhodes resigned to take a post as principal at a high school in Chappequa, New York. In an interview with the Downtown Express, McEvoy said Millennium has a "longstanding commitment to academic rigor and creating opportunities for students, despite withering budget cuts." He said the need to find outdoor and indoor space where sports teams can practice is an ongoing challenge. The school is building relationships with neighboring schools and institutions where teams can play and practice. All sports teams are shared with Millennium Brooklyn.

2011 REVIEW: A pleasant building, an experienced and talented staff and a well-rounded, gimmick-free curriculum have made Millennium one of the most popular schools in the city. Housed on several floors of a1929 office building near Wall Street, the Millennium boasts river views from its cafeteria, a cheery library and comfortable lounge areas.

Class changes are smooth and hallways are not congested. Students seem happy in the relaxed atmosphere. They chat with friends in the cafeteria during their free periods, or meet informally with teachers. Most classes are seminar-style, with plenty of discussion. Students read literature classics such as the Odyssey, Frankenstein and Hamlet. There are more science offerings than is typical at a small school including advanced courses in biology, physics, chemistry, anatomy, geology and astronomy. All students take a two-year bio-chemistry sequence, plus physics. Advanced Placement courses are offered in English language and literature, calculus, U.S. history and studio art.

Everyone takes four years of English, history, math, and science and three years of a foreign language (Spanish or Mandarin). Principal Robert Rhodes, who founded the school in 2002, says some students complete their nightly homework in 1 1/2 hours while others may take 3 hours; Teens we spoke to said the workload is heavy. In addition to regular tests, students must complete “exhibitions” in which they write term papers and present their ideas to a committee.

Budget cuts have taken their toll: class size has grown and is close to the contractual limit of 34, especially in the upper grades. The school has eliminated the 9th grade introductory writing class which gave students extra practice in addition to their regular English literature class. Still, Millennium assigns more writing than many other New York City high schools, and learning to write well is a focus of the instruction.

There is no gym; students take physical education either in the fitness center or the multi-purpose room that also doubles as an auditorium. Varsity sports include basketball, soccer, baseball, fencing, swimming and cross country. There is a ping pong club, a girls soccer club, a running club and an ultimate frisbee team.

Millennium offers no music or drama classes but there is an after school drama club and the School of Rock club, made up of seven student bands, performs two rock shows each year.

There are two college counselors. Nearly all graduates attend college, and about 10% attend community colleges. Some 40% of graduates attend CUNY schools. Top students have been admitted to Barnard, Columbia, Yale, Smith and Bryn Mar.

Special education: Millennium is one of the few high schools in the city to offer a challenging college-prep curriculum to children with special needs. About 10% of the students receive special education services; these students may be assigned to classes with two teachers (called Integrated Collaborative Teaching or ICT) or may meet regularly in a small group with a teacher (called Special Education Teacher Support Services.) A few severely disabled children from District 75 are integrated into regular classes.

Admissions: Priority is given to students who live below Houston Street in Manhattan. Applicants must have at least a 90 average and fewer than 10 lateness and absences. An essay is optional. Tours are offered in the fall, but they fill up quickly so book early. More than 5,000 students apply for 150 seats. (Clara Hemphill, October 2011; updated September 2012)

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