James Madison High School

Grades 9-12
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

A wide variety of classes, activities and sports

The Downside

Few spaces for students who don't live in the school's zone

Our Review

The alma mater of senators, a Supreme Court justice, Nobel Prize winners and Chris Rock, James Madison is a popular high school with a wide array of classes, sports and activities. Sometimes viewed as the weakest of Brooklyn's 3Ms -- the other two are Midwood and Murrow -- Madison has received mediocre scores for student progress and performance on recent school progress reports. But by most accounts, it is a safe, successful school with a high graduation rate and many enthusiastic staff members and students.

Although enrollment has shrunk from a high of 4,200 in 2006, with more than 3,000 students Madison still ranks among the city's biggest schools. It has a 9-period day with students coming and going at different times but no double sessions.

Most seats go to students living in the surrounding residential Midwood neighborhood though the school has two small programs called houses open to children from elsewhere in Brooklyn: Information Technology and Law. Both programs get many more students than they can admit; in 2013, 2,670 students applied for 34 seats in Information Technology. Zoned students also can select these programs.

Madison has six other houses, all with a guidance counselor and core of teachers to address students' interests and abilities. The International House has programs for English language learners and includes the school's many foreign language offerings: Spanish, Russian, Chinese, French and Italian. The Academy of Citizenship and Community Service offers instructional support, including a double period of English, for incoming students with low tests scores. Children in the zoned program select their academy upon admission to Madison with guidance from staff who consider grades, interests and needs. Students take many - but not all -- of their classes with others in their house.

"If a kid is motivated and wants to do well, this is a great school, and we try to motivate all kids," a counselor told us. But, she added, "If you're unhappy, you have to speak up."
Students participating in an open house for prospective students seemed enthusiastic, particularly about the specialties of their respective houses. Those in Information Technology, which attracts a large number of girls with an interest in computers, were particularly eager to discuss their studies.

Madison offers about a dozen Advanced Placement classes and a range of instrumental and vocal music and visual arts classes.

Students told us the school is not excessively difficult. "You just have to keep on task and stay focused," one 9th grade boy said. "There's not a lot of homework." Two junior girls, both in the law program, said the work can be difficult, but one added, "Teachers help you so you don't fail out of it."

In 2013, Jodie Cohen, who had been assistant principal of administration, became principal, replacing Joseph Gogliormella, a former Madison teacher who had served as principal since 2003.

Attendance is fairly high for a large high school, and the suspension rate low. Despite a spate of tabloid stories several years ago about alleged sexual improprieties by teachers, the school scores above average for safety and respect on its annual survey.

Students must pass through a metal detector, meaning, one girl said, they have to learn to get along without their cellphones. Two students told us they thought the school was too strict, citing a policy where students who are late to class are sent to a special room for that period.

After school: The school fields about 30 interscholastic varsity and junior varsity teams for boys and girls. Students stage a number of performances, including SING, a musical competition, and can participate in a variety of clubs.

Special education: Madison has team teaching and self-contained classes. Students with IEPs are placed in the Instructional Support House.

College admissions: Madison's college office is staffed by a full-time counselor. Different colleges visit the school every Wednesday and graduates go to a wide range of colleges.

Admission: Zoned school. Two programs accept students from elsewhere in Brooklyn. Information Technology has about 34 openings for incoming 9th graders, and the Law Institute has about 100 places. Applicants must have grades of at least 90 percent in major academic subjects, good attendance and have gotten a 3 or 4 on their 7th grade standardized tests. (Gail Robinson, November 2013. Open house, web reports and interviews.)

About the students

Enrollment
3418
Asian
19.4%
Black
18.1%
Hispanic
17.6%
White
43.9%
Other
1.0%
Free or reduced priced lunch
77%
Students with disabilities
15%
English language learners
13%
Male
58%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
Yes
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
135%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
94%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
15%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
86%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
25%
18% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
73%
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
2.8
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
90%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
90%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
82%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
92%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
94%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
92%
84% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 8 dedicated spaces for Music, Visual arts, and an Auditorium
This school has 17 licensed arts teachers in Visual arts (part-time), Music, and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
82%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
45%
49% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
74%
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?
81%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
27%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
8%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
45%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
59%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
73%
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?
67%
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?
62%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
90%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
88%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
91%
89% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
62%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Information Technology
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description

Explore the world of technology through a challenging and comprehensive sequence of courses. Course of study includes: Computer Applications, Web Design, Graphic Arts/Digital Photography, Digital Music, Multimedia, AP courses, Java, and Animation.

Law Institute
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description

The Law Institute, a four-year Honors program, introduces students to legal concepts and terminology that include, but are not limited to, Constitutional Law, Criminology, International Law and Family Law.

Zoned
Admissions Method: Zoned Guarantee
Program Description

Comprehensive Academic Program.

Academics

Language Courses

Chinese (Cantonese), Italian, Russian, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science, AP Economics, AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP Human Geography, AP Spanish, AP Statistics, AP US Government and Politics, AP World History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

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

Girls PSAL teams

Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Flag Football, Golf, Handball, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Rugby, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling

Coed PSAL teams

Golf, Stunt

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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