Food and Finance High School

Grades 9-12
Staff Pick for Special Ed
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What’s Special

Fabulous culinary program; garden and fish farm

The Downside

Academics could be more rigorous

Our Review

For students serious about learning to cook, Food and Finance High School offers a hands-on introduction to the restaurant business and food industry. The school, housed in the Park West Educational Complex, has become one of the most popular in the city, with thousands of applicants for about 100 9th grade seats.

Students grow fruits, vegetables and tilapia in labs in the school set up by Cornell University's Cooperative Extension. The food is sold at farmer's markets and used for catering special events. Seniors have paid internships at restaurants like Ililly, The Food Network, or Amy's Bakery. (Some students told us they opt out of the internships because their love of cooking fades when they realize how stressful restaurant work can be!)

We saw some inspired teaching during our visit, like in sophomore English class working to tease out a backstory for the mysterious narrator in Edgar Allen Poe's classic "A Telltale Heart." For social studies class, students compared French public school lunch menus to their own (and found they preferred the French two-hour lunch break!). A Living Environment class grows a hydroponic garden. Students take four years of art and one year of French--an important language to understand if you're serious about cuisine.

But a very bright student may find the academics are not challenging enough. Most students we spoke to said they do little homework, even in Advanced Placement classes. Work we saw on our visit shows that some students struggle with basic writing skills. "The school is not that hard if you just pay attention and do your work," one senior said.

Students can take three years of math -- the highest level regularly offered is trigonometry. (Special arrangements can be made to take calculus, said Jessica Mates, the school's community liaison.)

As a career and technical education (CTE) school, Food and Finance offers students the chance to earn three food-handling certifications (ServSafe, ProStart and NYC Food Handlers). Mates said the certifications help students get real world jobs. For example, she said, local restaurants often call her looking for grads with NYC Food Handlers certification.

Student wear uniforms of black or khaki bottoms and blue or white polos emblazoned with the school's name and matching chef's dress in the kitchen. Everyone must pass through a metal detector on the way in. Cell phones are not allowed but students may leave them at the door for a small fee. Some students have lockers. No one may leave the building for lunch.

Special education: About 20 percent of students receive special education services. The school creates plenty of opportunities for special needs students, said Mates. They may participate in the senior internship program and take AP classes. Some academic and cooking classes are co-taught, meaning those classes have two instructors, one certified in special education. The school has also found success using the Achieve 3000 online program. Food and Finance graduates an impressive number of special needs students.The Park West building is wheelchair accessible.

College: Most graduates go to college, including cooking schools like Culinary Institute of America and Johnson and Wales.

Admissions: Citywide, limited unscreened, with preference to students who attend the school's open house. "The only thing that's difficult is if the kids don't want to cook," said Mates. "They can't just like to eat." (Anna Schneider, December 2012)

About the students

Enrollment
400
Asian
5.0%
Black
38.8%
Hispanic
52.0%
White
1.8%
Other
2.5%
Free or reduced priced lunch
79%
Students with disabilities
19%
English language learners
5%
Male
47%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the Park West Educational Campus with four other schools
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
Yes
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
71%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
90%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
32%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
83%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
19%
18% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
82%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
46%
56% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
12.0
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
80%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
80%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
86%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
79%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
90%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
74%
84% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 0 dedicated spaces for the arts.
This school has 1 licensed arts teacher in Visual arts (part-time)

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
56%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
44%
49% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
66%
70% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
88%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
0%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
7%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
23%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
35%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
69%
63% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
0%
0% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
82%
65% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
48%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
88%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
94%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
89%
89% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
85%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Food and Finance High School
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Focuses on Culinary Arts in cooking and baking and the financial aspects related to the industry.

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP US Government and Politics, AP US History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on the NYCDOE’s School Finder
NYC Department of Education: School Finder

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