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Middle School High School

Park East High School

Grades: 9-12
Staff Pick Staff Pick for Special Ed
Phone: 212-831-1517
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Our Insights

What’s Special

Small, lively classes and well-rounded curriculum

The Downside

Cramped quarters, limited music and art

Located in East Harlem, Park East High School has lively classes and a demanding, well-rounded curriculum. Teachers have mastered the art of helping students who may have had poor preparation in middle school catch up and excel in high school. Nearly all students graduate on time and the majority are well-prepared for college.

Students say the curriculum reflects different ethnicities, races, and cultures in a positive way and that lessons are relevant to their own lived experiences, according to a school survey.

Culturally relevant materials, such as novels by Junot Diaz, keep students engaged. Tenth graders pick a text which they share and discuss through blog posts with students at neighboring schools, culminating with a fair where students from different schools meet for the first time. Examples of texts students have chosen include “Evicted,” non-fiction exploring the trauma of unstable housing, and “Just Mercy,” the memoir of a lawyer who founded the Equal Justice Initiative to defend the poor.

Teachers bring math and science to life with real world applications, interesting experiments and class trips.

On one of our visits, kids in a chemistry class marveled at the amount of sugar they could dissolve in a beaker of water--and learned why soft-drinks are so caloric. In a statistics class, each student posed a question on a topic of his or her own choosing (such whether Hispanics are more likely to drop out than other groups) and conducted a sophisticated statistical analysis to test their hypotheses.

All students take four years of math and science. The strongest students may take advanced placement classes, but even the weak students take classes like algebra II, chemistry and statistics. Ninth graders take two periods of math (rather than just one) for one semester, which teachers credit for the school’s very high pass rate for the Algebra I Regents exam.

Housed in a cramped building that was once a music school, the building’s limitations have turned out to be an advantage: Classrooms are so small they can’t possibly hold the 34 students that most public high schools have. Instead, class size is about 20, and students get far more attention than in a typical New York City school.

Park East has more sports and extracurricular activities than are typical at small schools because it shares resources with other schools in East Harlem. For example, the Heritage School has DJ and salsa classes after school that Park East students may take for credit. The PSAL East Harlem Pride team is made up of several small East Harlem schools.

Park East offers digital art, which involves elements of coding and robotics, studio art, and more advanced classes where students can develop art portfolios on their own. While there is no music room, there are several staff members willing to cover clubs and general music classes, depending on availability. The ESL teacher, for example, also teaches chorus and vocal lessons. A full time librarian helps students with their research projects.

Students make trips to Washington DC and college visits to CUNY/SUNY schools.

The guidance/college office provides insight on financial aid and college and career preparedness. Students have been admitted to private liberal arts colleges such as Bates, Ithaca, and Smith as well as top state schools like SUNY Binghamton and SUNY Stony Brook. Many attend CUNY schools, according to the school’s website.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Small group attention provides students with IEPs and those who may just need extra help with personal attention and assistance with the transition into high school. After school tutoring and Saturday Academy help is also available. In 9th and 10th grade, all students with IEPs have an extra resource period programmed in their schedules where they may receive small group attention. Teachers work hard to give extra help without stigma. Students may receive what the school calls instructional support services whether or not they have an IEP (individualized education plan). The school offers ICT team-teaching classes (with two teachers, one of whom is trained in special education).The graduation rate for students with disabilities is significantly higher than the citywide average.

ADMISSIONS: Open to students citywide. Priority given to District 4 residents who are eligible for Free or Reduced Price Lunch ( for up to 26% of seats. Admissions decisions are based on a review of students' grades, test scores, records of attendancea and punctuality,  and demonstration of interest by visiting the school. There are far more applicants than seats available. (Isabel Corpus, phone interview and web reports, May 2018)

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School Stats

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

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2018-19 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
86% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
37% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
80% Citywide Average

From 2017-18 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
2% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
75% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many students graduate in 4 years?
80% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
45% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
39% Citywide Average
How many graduates stay enrolled in college for at least 3 semesters?
67% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2018-19 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
87% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
38% Citywide Average

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
64% Citywide Average

For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

From the 2019 High School Directory

Park East High School
Admissions Method: Screened
  • Attendance
  • Punctuality
  • Course Grades: English (74-100), Math (74-100), Science (70-100), Social Studies (71-100)
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (2.0-4.5), Math (1.9-4.5)
  • Demonstrated Interest: School Visit
Program Description:

Priority given to District 4 residents who are eligible for Free or Reduced Price Lunch (based on family income) for up to 26% of seats.


Language Courses


Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Calculus AB, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Environmental Science, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP United States History


Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Football, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Flag Football, Golf, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on NYCDOE’s MySchools
NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location


East Harlem (District 4)
Trains: 6 Line to 103rd St; Q Line to 96th St
Buses: BxM1, BxM11, BxM2, BxM3, BxM4, M1, M101, M102, M103, M106, M15, M15-SBS, M2, M3, M4, M96, M98


Kevin Mccarthy
Parent Coordinator

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.
Metal detectors?

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