NYC Museum School
Manhattan NY 10011
Chance to study at city's greatest museums.
Some friction between between staff and administration
The NYC Museum School, where students spend one day a week at museums and other cultural institutions, has a good record for taking in kids whose academic skills are less-than-stellar and graduating them on time. In one recent year, two-thirds of the entering class was reading below grade level. Yet 92 percent of students graduate on time, and the majority go on to four-year colleges.
Students make regular visits to the American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Museum, South Street Seaport Museum, and other museums. These visits are an integrated part of their academic studies. For example, students visited Trinity Church and its cemetery, South Street Seaport Museum, the Customs House, and Fraunces Tavern as part of a course on the American Revolution They sketched colonial architecture and painted watercolors of the views from Battery Park. They read newspapers from 1776 which their teacher retrieved and copied from the archives of New York Public Library. From the classified ads in these papers, they identified real people such as a sea merchant or a runaway slave and painted portraits of what they might have looked like.
In past years, the school suffered from uneven student discipline, poor attendance and low levels of student achievement. The school had a chaotic middle school, a revolving door of principals, and uncertain levels of funding for its signature museum programs. But now, under the able leadership of Principal Darlene Miller, the school is on the upswing. Attendance is excellent, the graduation rate is rising, the building is orderly, and morale of both students and staff seems good. Having eliminated the middle school grades, the administration can now concentrate on building the high school into a solid, academically challenging program.
The math and science curriculums are standard for New York City high schools, with a sequence of algebra, geometry, algebra II and pre-calculus in math and biology, earth science, chemistry and physics in science. Some of these are taught in the traditional way, but trips to the American Museum of Natural History enliven many courses.
Museum shares a building with the NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies in Chelsea. It's a rather gloomy building made of gray poured concrete. But the shared gym, cafeteria and auditorium are adequate and the kids' artwork on the walls brightens things up. Museum and Lab field joint sports teams in basketball, baseball, golf, track, soccer and tennis. Museum has student teachers from Fordham, Teachers College and New York University.
College admissions: The college counselor encourages students, many of whom are the first in their families to apply to college, to consider out-of-state schools as well as CUNY and SUNY schools. Students have been admitted to Colby College and to the Rhode Island School of Design.
Special education: The school offers Collaborative Team Teaching (CTT) for students with special needs. These classes have two teachers, one of whom is certified in special education, and a mix of students in both general and special education.
Admissions: Tours for prospective parents are held in the fall. The school gives preference to District 2 students and to those who have at least an 80 average and who score Level 3 or Level 4 on standardized tests. Museum accepts more out-of-district students than other District 2 schools, and about 25 percent come from Brooklyn. (This school is included in New York City's Best Public High Schools. Clara Hemphill, December 2006)
About the students
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Programs and Admissions
French, Japanese, Spanish
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP Environmental Science, AP US History
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Indoor Track, Soccer
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Cross Country, Flag Football, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams