Frank McCourt High School
Manhattan NY 10024
A nice racial mix with lots of group work and projects
Metal detectors, no music, limited art instruction
Frank McCourt High School, founded in 2010, offers an interdisciplinary curriculum with lots of group work; classes that mix math and science; and elective courses with titles like Genocide and Human Rights, American Capitalism, and Literature of the Post-Colonial World.
Housed in the Brandeis Educational Campus, the small school has a nice racial mix, with students from all five boroughs. Students may participate in campus-wide PSAL sports teams.
Instead of English, 9th- and 10th-graders take a double period of humanities, which combines literature and history. In a 9th-grade humanities class, students learned about world religions by reading books like the graphic novel Persepolis, the novel Siddhartha, and the play "My Name is Asher Lev." They invited community members to discuss Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism. In a 10th-grade humanities class, students read Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness as part of a discussion of European colonialism in Africa. Writing is taught as a separate class.
In 11th and 12th grade, students choose humanities electives that range from the traditionalsuch as a course in Shakespeareto the off-beat, like a course in participatory budgeting in which students nominate projects to be funded by the City Council.
Math and science are combined into one course called ISM (integrated math and science). The idea is to show the practical applications of math and science lessons. For example, 9th-graders pretended they were advising a pharmaceutical company on what type of enzyme would be most marketable to treat lactose intolerance. In the science lesson, they tested how enzymes break down food at different temperatures. Then, in the math lesson, they plotted the data on a graph using the quadratic equation in algebra. Math teacher Evan Smith said the new Common Core Standards put more emphasis on real-world applications of math, and this approach to math and science is in line with that.
Ninth grade ISM combines living environment and algebra (with some geometry) and 10th grade combines chemistry and algebra II. Three days each week students take separate classes for math and science. Instruction on the remaining two days merges the subjects. Math and science electives for 11th- and 12th-graders range from the traditional, like calculus, to the unusual, like a course that teaches chemistry through cooking.
Courses in the arts are limited. There is no music instruction, but students may take digital photography. Students must pass through metal detectors to enter the building.
Frank McCourt graduated its first class in 2014. The guidance counselor for the 11th and 12th grades serves as a college counselor. College acceptances include Vassar, University of Pennsylvania, Rochester Institute of Technology and a wide range of CUNY, SUNY and small private colleges.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes and SETTS.
ADMISSIONS:Open to students citywide. Applicants must write an online essay and are interviewed. Although the school looks at test scores, students with a range of scores are admitted. See the school websitefor details. (Clara Hemphill, April 2015)
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Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Soccer, Volleyball
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Bowling, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball