Pace High School

Phone: (212) 334-4663
Website: Click here
Admissions: citywide
Principal: YVETTE SY
Neighborhood: Lower East Side/ Chinatown
District: 2
Grade range: 09 thru 12

What's special:

Personal attention from the principal and teachers

The downside:

Some students have trouble adjusting to unstructured environment

The InsideStats


Our review

Principal Yvette Sy greets students by name every morning as they enter Pace High School, a small school founded in 2004 in collaboration with Pace University. It’s part of the personal attention that has made Pace a popular choice for students from across the city.

Pace is known for class discussions and projects rather than lectures and textbooks. On our visit, we saw students recite their own poetry, perform a play they had written about the trial of the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, and display projects on poster boards about global warming and hurricanes, as well as some more traditional classes. Students are expected to finish a senior project in which they reflect on what they have learned and how much they have contributed to the school community.

Students begin their high school career with a program called "First Summer" held at Pace University's Westchester campus in August. Entering 9th graders spend two nights in college dorms in Pleasantville, getting to know their classmates and teachers, learning about the culture and expectations of the school and enjoying a swim in the college pool.

Each student is assigned to an advisory, a small group of students who stay together for four years and who may discuss everything from personal problems to college admissions.. Ninth grade English classes are half the size of regular classes, so that teachers can give kids lots of help writing.

Open to students of all achievement levels, Pace is designed to serve average students as well as kids who are struggling. One drawback: students used to a very structured environment, such as many charter schools offer, may have trouble adjusting to the freedom at Pace, Sy said.

Just north of the Manhattan Bridge, Pace shares a building with MS 131 and the Emma Lazarus School. A new outdoor track offers a pleasant place for sports as well as a gathering place for the Chinatown community.

Special education: About 50 students receive special education services, and teachers have thought carefully about how to integrate them in regular classes. The school has team teaching classes, with two teachers, one of whom is certified in special education. The special education teacher follows each student for all four years. The school takes pride in ensuring that students with IEPS get regular Regents diplomas, not the less rigorous local diploma.

College admissions: The college office encourages students to consider colleges outside of New York City. It provides translators for Chinese and Spanish speaking parents. Students have been admitted to Brown, Denison and Mt. Holyoke, and a large number have been admitted to Syracuse University.

Admissions: The school has regular tours and open houses in the fall. Students who attend an "information session" about the school are given preference in admission, but there are no minimum academic requirements. Thirty percent come from Brooklyn, 40 percetn from Manhattan, and 20 percent from the Bronx. (Clara Hemphill, May 2011)

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