A focus on history
Facing History High School encourages students to look at events in history as a basis for making decisions in their own lives. It is a progressive school that favors projects, research, debate and oral presentations over tests. Safe, orderly and well-run, it enjoys excellent ratings on school surveys from parents, teachers and students.
Housed on the second floor of the Park West Educational Campus, Facing History has an informal feel. Students call teachers by their first names, and the school dress code (white, black, navy or black shirts, and dark or khaki pants or skirts) is flexible enough to allow students some choice about what they wear.
The school is part of the New York Performance Standards Consortium, a group of schools exempt from all Regents exams except English. Students receive a regular Regents diploma when they graduate.
Despite the lack of typical Regents exams, student work goes through a rigorous assessment process. Ninth- and 10th-graders present their work at a portfolio roundtable, while juniors and seniors present to a panel of judges during one-hour review sessions known as the Performance Based Assessment Task, or PBAT. In these, students often are asked to explain subjects in depth or work through a math problem on the board while the panel observes. They get used to defending their work, either in writing or in person.
Principal Dana Panagot was among the founding administrators when Facing History opened in 2005. The not-for-profit organization Facing History and Ourselves offers professional development for faculty.
A big challenge here is that more than half the students miss a month or more of school. The majority of the incoming students are academically below grade level, and many are dealing with behavioral and social-emotional needs, according to the CEP (comprehensive educational plan). Attendance has inched up in recent years but still has a long ways to go.
Facing History shares the Park West complex with Manhattan Bridges High school, High School of Hospitality Management, Food and Finance High School, Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction and PS 138 (a small school for severely disabled students). The schools take turns using the cafeterias, gymnasiums, auditorium and library. Students must pass through metal detectors, but students say they feel safe on school surveys.
Admissions: Educational Option. The school seeks a range of low-, middle- and high-performing students. (Lydie Raschka, DOE data and reports, November 2018)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
CalculusNot offered in 2019-20
Computer ScienceNot offered in 2019-20
PhysicsNot offered in 2019-20
Advanced Foreign LanguageNot offered in 2019-20
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
MusicNot offered in 2019-20
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
The Facing History School
Our relevant, academically rigorous program and the supportive, caring structures we have in place make us an excellent learning community. With our lead partner, Facing History, we help prepare our students for the ethical and moral decisions of adulthood. As a member of the NYS Performance Standards Consortium, we are part of a waiver that allows our students to graduate with a Regents Diploma using performance-based assessment tasks in all core subjects and the ELA Regents.
Facing History School D75 Inclusion Program
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Computer Science Principles, AP Statistics, AP English Literature and Composition
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball
Girls PSAL teams
Contact & Location
525 West 50th Street
Manhattan NY 10019
Trains: , to 50th St
Buses: M104, M11, M12, M20, M31, M34A-SBS, M42, M50, M57, X12, X14, X30, X42
This school shares the Park West Educational Campus with four other schools