A wide variety of classes, activities and sports
Few spots for students outside the school's zone; metal detectors
The alma mater of senators, a Supreme Court justice, Nobel Prize winners and Chris Rock, the almost century-old James Madison is a popular high school with a wide array of classes, sports and activities. It is one of the city's biggest schools. It boasts good attendance and a high graduation rate.
Perks here include three gymnasiums, a football field, a swimming pool and tennis courts. It is “a good school for a kid who is independent and can find their own way,” a parent wrote on our site. “Get involved in something right away—theater, sports, a club. There you will meet other focused kids.”
Most seats go to students living in the surrounding Midwood neighborhood, though the school has two small “screened” programs open to children from elsewhere in Brooklyn: Information Technology and Law Institute. Both programs attract dozens of applicants per seat. Zoned students also may select these programs.
Children in the zoned program select one of seven “houses” upon admission, with guidance from staff, who consider grades, interests and needs. The International House is for kids learning English and includes the school’s foreign language offerings: Spanish, Russian, Chinese, French and Italian. The Academy of Citizenship and Community Service offers a double period of English for incoming students with low tests scores. The Instructional Support House welcomes students with disabilities. Academy of Finance, Liberal Arts House and Bio-Medical Institute round out the offerings. Students take many—but not all—of their classes with others in their house.
Madison offers more than a dozen Advanced Placement classes. According to the school's yearly plan, teachers make sure all eligible students have access to these classes by hosting a fair and conducting assessments to determine ability and willingness for participation.
The school fields about 30 interscholastic varsity and junior varsity sports teams for boys and girls. Students stage a number of performances, including SING!, a musical competition, a Shakespeare Festival and an “oratory olympics,” in which kids learning English perform recitations from the canon of English poetry and prose. Other activities include robotics, math club, gardening, newspaper and band.
Attendance is fairly high for a large high school. Students who are late to class are sent to a special room for that period. Some children raise concerns about safety and bullying on school surveys. Principal Jodie Cohen said she and her staff take feedback from surveys seriously. The school has seen improvement in these areas, including fewer suspensions, according to the yearly plan. "The past three years has been an upward trend," Cohen said.
All students must pass through a metal detector.
College representatives visit the school every week, and graduates go to a wide range of colleges. Some win scholarships to competitive programs, such as CUNY'S Macaulay Honors College.
ADMISSIONS: Zoned school. Two small screened programs accept students from elsewhere in Brooklyn but there is little room for children outside the zone. (Lydie Raschka, web reports & interview, February 2018)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
Advanced Foreign Language
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Explore the world of Science through a challenging and comprehensive sequence of courses, including focusing on careers in the medical/health professions. Courses of study will include: AP Biology, Living Environment Honors, AP Chemistry, Physics Honors, Anatomy and Physiology, AP Psychology, Forensics and AP Environmental Sciences.
This is a four-year honors program, introduces students to legal concepts and terminology that include, but are not limited to, constitutional law, criminology, international law, and family law.
Guaranteed offer to students who live in the zoned area.
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
French, Italian, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Computer Science A, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP Statistics, AP European History, AP Chinese Language and Culture, AP Macroeconomics, AP English Language and Composition, AP Spanish Literature and Culture, AP Chemistry, AP World History: Modern, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP Biology, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Art History, AP Calculus BC, AP Calculus AB, AP Psychology, AP Seminar, AP Human Geography, AP United States History, AP Computer Science Principles, AP Research, AP Environmental Science
Boys PSAL teams
Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Football, Handball, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Rugby, Soccer, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling
Girls PSAL teams
Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Flag Football, Golf, Handball, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling
Coed PSAL teams
Contact & Location
3787 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11229
Trains: , to Kings Highway
Buses: B100, B2, B31, B41, B44, B44-SBS, B49, B7, B82, BM3, BM4
This school is in its own building.