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Our Insights

What’s Special

Students learn computer programming; school day starts at 9 a.m.

The Downside

Limited selection of classes beyond technology and core academics

The Academy for Software Engineering (AFSE), the city’s flagship computer science high school, delivers on its name, offering instruction in programing languages, web design, user experience, entrepreneurship, cyber security, 3-D computing, and mobile application development.

Academics & Instruction: AFSE is part of the Competency Collaborative, a network of New York city public schools that take a different approach to grading student performance. For instance, when writing a paper, students may be assessed on their research skills, steps taken to build their analysis, and the quality of their writing. If they struggled in any of those areas, they get to resubmit the work. Practice and revision are key.

Classes run for an hour, longer than the typical 43-minute period, which allows teachers time to incorporate discussions and activities. At the every semester, students complete and present projects in each of their classes. It may be a podcast, a visual display, or a research paper.

Despite the school’s emphasis on technology and math, there’s also a solid focus on literature and writing. Ninth-graders wrap up their reading of Macbeth by performing scenes from the play. Twelfth grade English classes write in genres such as documentary film, novel writing, storytelling and spoken word.

There are limited offerings beyond core academics and computer science. The school offers visual arts and a range of Advanced Placement (AP) coursess, plus Mandarin and German in the upper grades.

Culture & Environment: The school is divided into lower (grades 9 and 10) and upper (grades 11 and 12) academies. Each academy has its own teaching staff. Daily advisory groups are led by one of the teachers in their academy.

The school embraces Restorative Justice, which helps students resolve conflicts and make better choices through discussion, written reflection and corrective action such as an apology.

Roughly 80 percent of the students identify as male, reflecting a similar gender imbalance in the tech industry. During our most recent visit to the school, female-identifying students we met said they felt at ease speaking up in class and working alongside all their peers.

One huge perk for tired teenagers: AFSE’s day starts later than most high schools, at 9 a.m.

Themes & Programs: Everyone takes AP Computer Science Principles, and then may choose to continue with a four-year computer science program. It begins in 9th grade with students learning  Python programming language and studying robotics and game design.

In the upper grades, students choose courses based on their interests. Aspiring programmers may follow a standard computer science path heavy on math and programming. Others may prefer design classes that include coding but focus more on creative applications like 3-D printing.

Cybersecurity, the practice of protecting networks, devices and data from unauthorized access, is another option. Students pursuing this path take courses such as digital forensics.

Special Education & English as a New Language (ENL):  The school has integrated co-teaching (ICT) classes and a fulltime ENL teacher. 

Building & Facilities: AFSE is housed on three floors in the Washington Irving Educational Complex, a 13-story building near Manhattan's Union Square that is also home to Gramercy Arts High School; High School for Language and Diplomacy; International High School at Union Square; and Union Square Academy for Health Sciences. Success Academy Union Square, a charter elementary, is also located in the building. 

The schools share use of the cafeteria, gymnasiums, renovated library, science labs and on-site medical clinic. There is no outdoor space on campus. There are campus-wide PSAL sports teams. 

College & Career: Formal college guidance starts in 11th grade during advisory periods. Each student is matched with a mentor, a professional in the tech or a related industry. Students may continue with their mentor for a year post-graduation.  (Laura Zingmond, via interview, November 2023)

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School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average


How many students graduate in 4 years?
How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
Average daily attendance
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achieve the goals of their students' IEPs?
From the 2021-22 School Quality Guide and 2020-21 NYC School Survey


Number of students
Citywide Average is 615


Low-income students
Students with disabilities
Multilingual learners
From the 2022-23 Demographic Snapshot

Safety & Vibe

How many students were suspended?
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
How many students say that some are bullied at their school because of their gender or sexual orientation?
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey and 2019-20 NY State Report Card

Faculty & Staff

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
Years of principal experience at this school
Citywide Average is 7
Number of students for each guidance counselor or social worker
Citywide Average is 157

Teachers’ Race/Ethnicity

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
Are teachers effective?
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey, 2021-22 School Quality Guide, 2019-20 Report on School-Based Staff Demographics, 2021 Guidance Counselor Report, and this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Advanced Courses

Which students have access to advanced courses at this school? Learn more



Computer Science




Advanced Foreign Language

Not offered in 2019-20

AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science


AP/IB Math or Science



From unpublished, anonymized data from the 2021-22 school year provided by the New York State Education Department, brought to you by

College Readiness

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
How many students who have graduated from this high school stay in college for at least 3 semesters?
From the 2020-21 and 2021-22 School Quality Guide
How many students filled out a FAFSA form by the end of their senior year?
From the 2022-23 FAFSA data released by Federal Student Aid, brought you by
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

From the 2024 High School Directory

Academy for Software Engineering (AFSE) (A54A)

Admissions Method: Open

Program Description:

AFSE offers experiences that build capacity to solve problems, collaborate, engage in research, and expand awareness of careers through work-based experiences and professional mentoring.


From the 2024 High School Directory

Advanced Courses

Algebra II (Advanced Math), AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Computer Science A, AP Computer Science Principles, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP United States History, Chemistry (Advanced Science), Math (College Course [Credited]), Physics (Advanced Science)

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Handball, Soccer, Volleyball

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Softball, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on NYCDOE’s MySchools

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location


40 Irving Place
Manhattan NY 10003

Trains: 4 Line, 5 Line, 6 Line, L Line, N Line, Q Line, R Line to 14th St-Union Square

Buses: BM1, BM2, BM3, BM4, BxM10, BxM6, BxM7, BxM8, BxM9, M1, M101, M102, M103, M14A-SBS, M14D-SBS, M15, M15-SBS, M2, M23-SBS, M3, M34-SBS, M34A-SBS, M55, M8, M9, QM21, SIM10, SIM11, SIM1C, SIM3, SIM31, SIM33, SIM33C, SIM3C, SIM4C, SIM6, SIM7, SIM9, X27, X28, X37, X38, X63, X64, X68


Principal: Shawn Raeke

Parent Coordinator: Carmen Rosario


Other Details

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the Washington Irving Educational Campus with five other schools

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? Yes

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