Eleanor Roosevelt High School
Manhattan NY 10021
Traditional college prep curriculum and strong college office
Few openings for out-of-district students, tiny gym
Eleanor Roosevelt High SchoolELRO for shorthas a motivated student body, a traditional college-prep curriculum and an excellent record of college admissions. Wide hallways, polished floors, and spotless modern bathrooms make the former Sotheby's warehouse one of the most pleasant school buildings in the cityeven though the cafeteria and gym are small.
In a city where lots of schools have themes and specialties, Eleanor Roosevelt stands out for its gimmick-free curriculum and no-nonsense approach to teaching. Although class discussion and some project work are encouraged, many rooms have desks in rows and lessons led by the teacher standing at the front of the class. All students take four years of college-prep math, science, English, history, and a foreign language; many take multiple advanced placements exams.
The English curriculum focuses on the classics: 9thgraders read The Epic of Gilgamesh, "Oedipus the King," Beowulf and "Macbeth"; 10th-graders read Dantes Inferno (while they study the Italian Renaissance in history) and A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens (while they study the French Revolution); 11th-graders read The Scarlet Letter (while they study U.S. history.) All 9th-graders take geometry and a special class called foundations of math, designed to shore up algebra skills. Most seniors take calculus. The Spanish classes we saw were taught entirely in Spanish.
There is not a lot of choice, said Principal Dimitri Saliani. We expect you to take chemistry. We expect you to take physics. Sometimes, there is a choice between hard or harder, he said. For example, 10th-graders may choose between Regents-prep global history or advanced placement world history.
That said, there are a number of electives, particularly in technology. Students may develop apps for iPhones, study robotics, use a 3-D printer, make a film, or learn computer programming. While many schools ban cellphones and block access to YouTube and Facebook, ELRO gives students access to all websites and encourages them to BYOD (bring your own device). Kids have to learn to deal with distractions, the principal says. Students may leave the building for lunch.
Teachers work hard to build a sense of community among the students and, in a school this small, everyone knows everyone. In September, entering 9th-graders attend an overnight camp to work on team-building skills. There are lots of clubs, including Model UN as well as Zumba and yoga. Students told us the homework load is heavy but not oppressivetwo to three hours a night.
College: A full-time college counselor meets with all students and their parents at least twice for 40 minutes each time. Nearly all graduates go on to four-year colleges; a large proportion go to private colleges, some on full scholarship. Students have been admitted to the University of Chicago, Tufts, Carleton, Barnard, University of Michigan, Oberlin, Occidental and the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Special education: The school has several team-teaching classes, which mix children with special needs and general education students and have two teachers. Students with disabilities who are eligible for team-teaching classes need not meet the same admissions standards as other students.
Admissions: The school has nearly 6,000 applicants for 125 seats each year, so competition to get in is tough. Students must have good attendance, level 3 or 4 on standardized tests, and grades of at least 90 in core academic subjects. Priority in admissions goes to students who live or attend middle school in District 2, and there are very few openings for out-of-district children. There are occasionally seats available in upper grades. (Clara Hemphill, October 2014)
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Programs and Admissions
A program incorporating the arts and technology as essential components of learning.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Art History, AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP Comparative Government and Politics, AP Economics, AP English, AP Music Theory, AP Statistics, AP US History, AP World History
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Tennis
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Cross Country, Flag Football, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams