Here are some recommendations for high schools that still have room—either new schools opening in the fall or established schools that haven’t filled their 9th grade seats, according to the Department of Education "Round 2 program list."


Westchester Square Academy, housed in Lehman High School, has seats in its new honors program. Founded in 2011 by the former assistant principal of Brooklyn Latin, Westchester Square has lots of good word of mouth.

For strong students, the Macy’s honors program at Dewitt Clinton High School still has seats. Although there are some concerns about safety and discipline in the building, the smaller honors program has challenging academics.

Bronx Design and Construction Academy is a new school that's off to a good start.

Bronx Latin has high expectations and a classical education.

Fannie Lou Hamer, Bronx Guild and Bronx Compass offer progressive, non-traditional education.

Bronx Collaborative High School, a new school housed in Dewitt Clinton High School, is modeled after the popular Institute for Collaborative Education (ICE) in Manhattan. Brett Schneider, former ICE assistant principal, is the new principal.


Abraham Lincoln High School has a good photography program that still has seats. Overall, the school is better than its reputation and a good place for kids who can handle the huge size.

Brooklyn Studio School in Bensonhurst has interesting arts offerings—and you don't have to audition to get in. It also has strong special education services.

Fort Hamilton High School is an old-fashioned school with traditional academics, strict discipline, and lots of school spirit. James Madison and Midwood High School still have room for students who live in their attendance zones.

Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School offers lots of trips and interesting projects

High School for Enterprise, Business and Technology on the Grand Street campus has a good arts program as well as a Gateway program for students interested in math or science.

High School for Service and Learning on the Erasmus campus is good for a kid who may need a lot of individual attention to graduate. We recommend two more schools in the same building: Science, Technology and Research (STAR) and High School for Youth and Community Development.

Origins, on the Sheepshead Bay campus, is headed by John Banks, a former teacher atArts & Letters. Like the popular District 13 middle school, Origins will focus on in-depth projects which students will present to panels of teachers and community members twice each year. It's holding an open house at Shell Bank middle school on April 9 at 6:30 p.m.

School for Classics engages students through theater, writing and dance.


Phillip Randolph High School in Harlem is on the upswing. A new principal, David Fanning, is restoring the school's reputation, improving its academic focus and rebuilding ties with City College.  

Frank McCourt High School, on the Upper West Side, is a racially diverse school with a focus on writing.

High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies was ranked one of the top schools in the city by U.S. News and World Report.

The Institute for Collaborative Studies has a laid-back atmosphere and lots of projects.

Frederick Douglas Academy has a long history of demanding academics and FDA IIis improving since a new principal came.

The High School of Environmental Studies offers solid academics.

Some very popular schools have a few seats reserved for children receiving special education services: Eleanor Roosevelt, NEST, Millennium, and NYC Ischool.


One of the most promising new schools isVeritas High School,to be housed on the campus of Flushing High School. Veritas is designed as an extension of the successful Queens middle school, BELL Academy. The high school will be led by Cheryl Quatrano, now principal of BELL. Her goal is to apply the best practices of gifted education to all children, based on the so-called Renzulli model which offers enrichment classes and interdisciplinary projects based on students' interests. The middle school offers classes that range from Latin dance to cartooning. In a middle school astronomy class, students figured out how to calculate the diameter of a star. For more information, attend an open house at the BELL Academy on March 20 or 21. 

If you’re interested in studying Mandarin Chinese, you may want to considerQueens High School for Language Studies. This new school, also housed on the campus of Flushing High School, aims to duplicate the success of the very successful High School for Dual Language School and Asian Studies in Manhattan. Half the students will be native speakers of Chinese and half English. The idea is to make all students bilingual in both languages. Melanie Lee, a history and ESL teacher at the dual language school, will be principal. Call 718-935-3572 for information.

Queens School of Inquiry in Flushing and Scholars' Academy in the Rockaways are both demanding academic programs.

Some popular neighborhood schools, including Forest Hills and Francis Lewis, have seats for zoned programs.

Some very popular programs, including Baccalaureate School for Global Education and Bard High School Early College in Queens, have seats reserved for children receiving special education services.

Staten Island

Most Staten Island students go to their zoned high schools, which still have seats.

Additional reporting by Gail Robinson.