High School of Economics and Finance

Phone: (212) 346-0708
Website: Click here
Admissions: educational option
Wheelchair accessible
Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan
District: 2
Grade range: 09 thru 12
Parent coordinator: CARMEN BITAR

What's special:

Business and finance classes for all levels

The downside:

No gym; limited math and science

The InsideStats



Our review

Just blocks from Wall Street, the High School of Economics and Finance offers students the chance to draw up a business plan, study accounting and take part in both paid and unpaid internships at a range of companies and not-for-profit organizations. The school, housed in a 10-story office building, also teaches soft skills like how to shake hands and write a resume. It’s a safe, orderly school where most kids graduate on time and go on to college.

“I love being in the city and the staff is great,” a 9th grader from Brooklyn told us. “Learning business is a major plus. I love getting up and coming here.” There is a pleasant rapport among students and teachers. For example, we saw a physics class where kids laughed amiably as the teacher held up shoes to demonstrate friction, saying you want ridges on rain boots but not on dancing shoes. One drawback: although the school emphasizes preparation for college, student may only take a fourth year of math or science, not both.

Students must wear business casual clothes on Wednesday when industry professionals offer seminars to help students understand topics ranging from the role of the Federal Reserve Bank to the importance of global markets. The Theatre Arts and Dance Alliance also runs Wednesday workshops.

Professional experience is a big part of the school’s mission. Students are strongly encouraged to complete 80 hours of community service and 120 hours of an unpaid internship. Seniors with an average of above 75 are assigned to paid internships. Internships may be in law, financial services, accounting or in a community organization.

The school accommodates students with a range of abilities. Students who struggle with reading and math may take ecology and pre-algebra before taking Living Environment and algebra. “The great thing about this is that they can still get into Advanced Placement classes,” said Heather Page, assistant principal for math and science. “I have an AP student right now who took ecology.”

Ninth graders who passed the algebra Regents in 8th grade may take an honors course that offers a semester of algebra 2 and one of physics. Students may take college courses at Baruch and Hunter. Principal Michael Stanzione said 20 percent of students graduated in 2011 with more than three college credits. “I am not preparing kids for work,” he said. “I am here to make sure they’re getting into college.” All seniors write a 10-page research paper that they present to a panel of staff. The school also has a Virtual Enterprise program, a student-led business that trades with other schools world-wide.

The school building's architecture might be its biggest problem. Its 10 stories are connected by elevators, but students may use them only before 8:30 a.m. and after school. There is no gym. Physical education classes take place in the basement and consist of rigorous calisthenics routines.

Juniors who have an average above 85 and seniors may go out for lunch. Afterschool, students can play PSAL sports or join a number of clubs, including Science Olympiad and Euro Challenge. The Moody Summer Institute introduces incoming 9th graders to high school and financial topics.

Special education: Core subjects are taught in self-contained and ICT classes and nearly all students are mainstreamed for electives and gym.

Admissions: Educational option, based on a formula designed to ensure a mix of low-average and high achieving students. The school serves students from all five boroughs, mainly Manhattan and Brooklyn. (Aryn Bloodworth, November 2011)

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