City Polytechnic High School of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology
Chance to earn two years of college creditfor free
Curriculum is still evolving
Part of the city's effort to rethink vocational education, City Polytechnic offers students the chance to earn a high school diploma and an associate's college degree in six years. Students may study civil engineering, construction management and architecture at New York City College of Technology, the CUNY school just down the street.
Yusuf Muhammad, who became principal in 2013, works hard to build a sense of community. Students go on a "team-building retreat" to Frost Valley, a YMCA camp upstate. There are pizza parties and ice cream socials as prizes for good attendance. Muhammad seems to know every student and more than a few parents by name. He has encouraged teachers to lecture less, to give more group work and to organize more class discussions. With small classes and tutoring on Saturdays, students get lots of extra help.
"If kids feel loved, discipline problems decrease," said Muhammad, formerly a social studies teacher and acting principal at Benjamin Banneker Academy. He is a native of Bedford-Stuyvesant and a graduate of New Leaders for New Schools.
Muhammad suspends far fewer students than his predecessor, and, while his approach has angered some teachers, others say the climate of the school has improved. "The change has been tremendous," said physics teacher Henry Arias. "Students are proud to come to City Poly."
City Poly shares a building with Westinghouse High School and the middle school grades of PS 8, an elementary school in Brooklyn Heights. There is a campus-wide talent and fashion show, as well as shared sports teams. The schools share the cafeteria and gym. Students must pass through metal detectors.
We saw some hands-on projects on our visit. In an applied physics class, students discussed kinetic energy and acceleration after a trip to an amusement park where they rode a roller coaster. They made model "maglev" trainsusing the force of magnetism to move their cardboard train cars along a track. Engineering students took notes on traffic hazards on a street corner outside the school; they planned to give recommendations to city's Vision Zero project to decrease pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Students interested in architecture take CAD (computer-aided drafting).
Founded in 2009 in the George Westinghouse High School building, City Poly was originally designed as a five-year program in which students would complete their high school requirements in three years, then take college courses. The accelerated program didn't work for everyone, especially for the many students who began 9th grade with poor academic skills. At the time of our visit, staff were revamping the curriculum so students would have four years of high school and two years for college, similar to P-Tech, another Brooklyn career and technical education school.
COLLEGE: In addition to attending the two-year NYC College of Technology, some students go on to four-year colleges. We met a girl who was admitted to Penn State.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has seven special education teachers. It offers ICT team-teaching and self-contained classes.
ADMISSIONS: Priority goes to students who attend an open house. (Clara Hemphill, May 2015)
About the students
About the school
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About the leadership
About the teachers
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Programs and Admissions
Students may take up to six years to complete their high school program which includes earning an Associate degree (or up to two years of college credit) and participating in internships.
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Tennis
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Handball, Softball, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams
Brooklyn NY 11201
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Brooklyn, NY 11201
Brooklyn, NY 11201