West End Secondary School

Grades: 6-10
Noteworthy

Our Insights

What’s Special

6-12 school with a focus on interdisciplinary learning

The Downside

Too soon to tell

West End Secondary School (WESS) opened in 2015 to much local excitement: At last, District 3 would have a combined middle-high school that gives priority in admission to children who live in the district. In short order, Principal Jessica Jenkins and her staff have built a well-run, nurturing school with happy chatter in the hallways and substantive discussion in the classrooms. Students are on a first-name basis with their teachers and the young staff is eager to engage them.

When Beacon High School moved to a new building in Hells Kitchen, West End Secondary took over the space. It will add a grade each year until it serves 700 to 800 children in grades 6-12.

West End is part of the NYC Outward Bound network, a nonprofit that supports a dozen schools in the city, and follows the network’s EL Education model (formerly called expeditionary learning). "Children develop critical thinking skills and perseverance when they study topics deeply," says Jenkins, who founded the successful Marsh Avenue Expeditionary School on Staten Island. Students participate in several 12-week-long projects or expeditions each year, as interdisciplinary projects are known.

A study of the pollution of the Hudson River, for example, led to the dissection of oysters in science, the creation of documentary films with help from Take2 Film Academy, graphs of water quality data in math and a study of how major waterways (like the Nile in Egypt) have shaped ancient civilizations in social studies. Students took their work further, creating a Change.org petition to ask Governor Cuomo to renovate the city's outdated sewer system. Children created shadowbox landscapes of the Hudson River in art class and read Flush by Carl Hyacinth, a novel about kids who discover illegal dumping in their town.

"We promote collaboration, but we want students to have choice in how they learn," Jenkins says of the focus on group projects, noting that some students naturally like to lead and brainstorm while others might prefer research. All 8th-graders must make a presentation to a group of parents, peers and teachers based on their portfolio of work.

Students have gym four times a week, and recess takes place in a park around the corner from the school (because there is no yard). Electives include coding, art, film-making, modern dance and music (keyboarding or drums); while after-school choices include meditation, crochet, drama, scrapbooking, and creative writing.

There is also a traveling basketball team, a math team, speech & debate, and a seasonal musical. We spoke to a 7th-grader who had just nabbed the part of Adelaide in the schools production of Guys & Dolls, a feat she said was made easier because of the friendly environment of auditions. "Teachers who teach us in after-school are the same teachers we have in class," she said, noting that everyone gets a part.

The school only had grades 6 and 7 at the time of our visit, but plans for the high school include AP courses and plenty of Regents prep, a comprehensive sports program and courses such as "Geometry: Loci, Symmetry and Through the Looking Glass" and "Existential Literature: The Stranger, the Self and the Setting."

There are plans for a hydroponic science lab, a green wall, a renovated black box theater and a STEM media lab. The building is sparkling but has some quirks: pillars in the gym make team play difficult.

Special education: The school has two sections of ICT (integrated co-teaching) per grade that combine students with special needs and their peers in one class with two teachers. The ICT model will continue into high school, Jenkins said.

Admissions:  Priority District 3. (Aimee Sabo, February, 2017)

School Stats

Academics

School
Citywide
Average daily attendance
 
95%
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
 
13%
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
 
76%
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
 
71%
From the 2020-21 School Quality Guide and 2020-21 NYC School Survey

Students

720
Number of students
611 Citywide Average

Race/Ethnicity


School
Citywide
Low-income students
 
25%
Students with disabilities
 
20%
Multilingual learners
 
1%
From the 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

Safety & Vibe

School
Citywide
How many students were suspended?
 
0%
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
 
97%
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
 
13%
How many students say that some are bullied at their school because of their gender or sexual orientation?
 
6%
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey and 2019-20 NY State Report Card

Faculty & Staff

School
Citywide
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
 
69%
6.2
Years of principal experience at this school
8 Citywide Average
178
Number of students for each guidance counselor or social worker
226 Citywide Average

Teachers’ Race/Ethnicity


How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
 
76%
Are teachers effective?
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey, 2020-21 School Quality Guide, 2019-20 NY State Report Card, 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

Calculus

Not offered in 2019-20

Computer Science

 
11%

Physics

Not offered in 2019-20

Advanced Foreign Language

 
37%

AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science

 
100%

AP/IB Math or Science

 
59%

Music

 
31%
From unpublished, anonymized data from the 2019-20 school year provided by the New York State Education Department, brought to you by
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

From the 2021 High School Directory

West End Secondary School

Admissions Method: Screened

Program Description:

Students engage in in-depth discipline specific Learning Expeditions that are aligned to the regents curriculum. Field experiences enhance students learning. Students engage in original research and participate in a small group advisory program called "Crew."

Offerings

From the 2021 High School Directory

Language Courses

French, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Human Geography, AP Biology, AP World History: Modern, AP Spanish Language and Culture

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

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location

Location

227-243 West 61st Street
Manhattan NY 10023

Trains: 1 Line to 66th St-Lincoln Center; A Line, C Line, B Line, D Line to 59th St-Columbus Circle

Buses: BxM2, M10, M104, M11, M12, M20, M31, M5, M57, M66, M7, M72, X12, X14, X30, X42


Contact

Principal: Jessica Jenkins

Parent Coordinator: Karyn Gooden

Website

Other Details

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? No

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