Midwood High School

Grades 9-12
Staff Pick
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2839 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11210
Flatbush (District 22)
Trains: 2, 5 to Flatbush Ave-Brooklyn College
Buses: B103, B11, B41, B44, B44-SBS, B49, B6, B8, Q35


Michael Mcdonnell
Parent Coordinator
Carol Ardito

What’s Special

Strong science and math, racially integrated student body

The Downside

Large class sizes, little opportunity for individual attention

Our Review

Midwood High School includes a zoned neighborhood school and two selective, well-regarded programs in science and humanities that draw students from across Brooklyn, regularly sending finalists to the Intel Science Talent Search. The tone is traditional and highly structured; teachers expect a high level of responsibility and motivation from their students, especially in the selective programs. Rules of decorum such as no hats are strictly enforced. The school has strong programs in drama, music, and sports.

Midwood is racially integrated, and students say making friends with kids from different ethnic groups is one of their favorite things about the school. The school is also mixed in terms of students' interests, talents and abilities. Kids say they like the fact that they don't need to specialize in one discipline: They may play in the band and also conduct science research. They can be active in sports and still be good students. Moreover, they may change programs once they arrive: Kids from the zoned program can move up to one of the selective programs if they do well their first semester. A humanities student who gets cold feet about taking Latin can switch to science. A student who is talented in one area may take an honors class in one subject and more basic classes in others.

Principal David Cohen, who came to Midwood in 2006 from his post as assistant principal at Robert F. Kennedy High School in Queens, is committed to helping teachers hone their skills, and one reason teachers like Midwood is the chance they have to learn new things. A social studies teacher was thrilled to take part in a summer program for teachers sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the teaching of American history. Teachers were invited to various college campuses to meet well-known historians; the Midwood teacher was excited to be able to ask questions directly of scholars whose work he admired. The staff is experienced, close-knit and loyal to the school. A number of the teachers are Midwood graduates.

Midwood struggles with severe overcrowding. Up to 4,000 students are packed in a building designed for 2,300, located across the street from Brooklyn College. The staggered start times help to spread out the demand on the building, making the crowding less acute but some classes start as early as 7 a.m. The opening of a 3-story annex in 2008 is designed to alleviate the worst of the overcrowding, but the school will still be overcapacity. Even the successful kids complain that the giant size has drawbacks; no one likes showing up for physics as the sun's just climbing into the sky. And it makes for a very long day for students taking part in after school sports.

Some students find Midwood's sprawl impersonal and say it's easy to be overlooked. Others, though, say that they've been able to connect with teachers, students, coaches and guidance counselors, and feel that they're far from invisible. Students who reach out to adults, or who participate in activities such as Midwood's annual Sing! musical performance find a niche. Passive students who are neither academic stars nor socially gregarious can get lost in the big-school shuffle.

About 300 students are admitted each year to the medical science program. Course offerings include robotics, meteorology there is a weather station on the roof space sciences, and computer. Some kids even learn to fly airplanes on computerized flight simulators. Students from the medical science institute were named finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search in 2004 and 2005. The program has also produced finalists in other competitions such as the Siemens-Westinghouse Science & Technology Competition, and some students have published scholarly papers based on their original research. (The Medical Science Institute has its own website: midwoodscience.org.)

About 175 freshman are admitted to the humanities program, in which students take five years of English, five years of social studies, two years of Latin, three years of a modern foreign language, three years of science and three years of math. The collegiate program is for students who are zoned for the school and who are not admitted to the selective programs. The school offers English as a Second Language and has a bilingual program in Haitian Creole. A small number of Haitian Creole speakers are in a bilingual section of the Medical Science Institute.

College admissions: Students from the two selective programs often attend top-ranked colleges, many on significant scholarships. Posted just inside the front door is a list of acceptances: Several dozen graduates each year go to Ivy League schools. A number of students have won prestigious POSSE Foundation scholarships, which provide a four-year free ride to certain selective colleges such as Middlebury or Vanderbilt.

Special education: About 200 students received special education services. Some are in segregated classrooms, but many are in classes that mix mainstream kids with kids with special needs. In these team-taught classes, two teachers, one of whom is certified in special education, work side by side. Students with special needs take part in the life of the school, performing in the school play, band and orchestra, for example.

Admissions: Students who live in the zone are guaranteed a spot in the collegiate program if they list it on their high school application. Successful candidates for the selective programs generally have an average of 90 or above in English, math, social studies and science as well as good standardized test scores and attendance. The school offers regular tours starting at 8:30 a.m. in the fall. (This school is profiled in NYC's Best Public High Schools. Clara Hemphill, March 2007)

About the students

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

About the school

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
Metal detectors?
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average


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

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
37% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
85% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
57% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
80% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
86% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 6 dedicated spaces for Music, Visual arts, and Media arts
This school has 14 licensed arts teacher in Music (part-time), Visual arts (part-time), Music, Theater, and Visual arts

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
54% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
71% 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?
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
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 English language learners graduate in 4 years?
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?
68% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
90% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Liberal Arts and Science Institute
Admissions Method: Unscreened
Program Description

Students in the LASI Honors Academy track take course work leading to an Advanced Regents Diploma. Students in the college and careers track are able to enroll in one of our CTE programs (pre-engineering, law and media arts). Our college support track provides the academic support for students so that they are college-ready by the time they graduate from high school.

Humanities Institute
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description

Creative writing, American classics, journalism, medieval literature, Intel social science research, criminal law, law internship, and Latin.

Medical Science Institute
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description

Biology, chemistry, physics, calculus, statistics, medical issues, environmental sciences, Intel research.

Bilingual Haitian Creole Institute
Admissions Method: Screened: Language & Academics
Program Description

Biology, chemistry, physics, calculus, statistics, medical issues, environmental sciences, Intel research. Ninth grade core subjects taught in bilingual Haitian Creole. Students then transition into our English as a New Language program.


Language Courses

French, Latin, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Art History, AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science, AP Economics, AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP European History, AP Human Geography, AP Physics, AP Psychology, AP Statistics, AP US Government and Politics, AP US History, AP World History


Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Football, Handball, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Flag Football, Handball, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball

Coed PSAL teams

Cricket, Golf

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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