Martin Van Buren High School

Grades: 9-12

Our Insights

What’s Special

Programs in engineering, health science and law; instruction for hearing impaired

The Downside

Graduation rate needs to improve

At Martin Van Buren High School students can enroll in themed programs including engineering, health and law and take college-level courses offered both on-site and at CUNY colleges. There's a nice range of options to keep kids engaged, including arts and music classes, sports teams, clubs and activities such as the robotics team.

Once a giant neighborhood school with a population topping 3,000, Martin Van Buren had gone through some tough years with dwindling enrollment and below-average graduation rates. In recent years, the infusion of extra resources and expanded partnerships with organizations is helping Martin Van Buren rebound. New York State has deemed the school in good standing and graduation and college readiness rates have increased steadily, though they still have a ways to go.

Sam Sochet has been the school’s principal since 2012. A former science teacher at Cardozo High School and assistant principal at Thomas A. Edison High School, Sochet has bolstered learning opportunities such as internships at Rockefeller University and Cornell Medical School and business courses through the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.  

In the health science program, students get hands-on exposure to the medical field through internships with Long Island Jewish Medical Center as well as guidance for college and careers. Students are encouraged to take courses that will help them pursue degrees in their chosen field. For instance, students are encouraged to take Advanced Placement biology, because college-level biology is required for pre-med or nursing studies.

Students in the law program take classes such as criminal law, civil law and forensics. Some take more advanced classes at John Jay College.

Engineering students can either pursue a sequence of classes in computer programming and robotics or one that is more design-focused with courses such as computer animation and web design.

A patient care technology program run by Queens College trains students in the kinds of skills—such as drawing blood and conducting EKGs—that will help them secure jobs with better wages than a nursing aide. Students who complete the program, which requires a substantial commitment of time after school, are prepared to take state certification exams upon graduation.

Regardless of the program they’re admitted to, all freshmen take a research class to bolster their skills. They are also assigned to a small learning community that has a dedicated staff of teachers and counselors who get to know their group of 9th-graders well. A program run by My Brother’s Keeper pairs 9th and 10th grade boys with older students who serve as mentors. 

In addition to Advanced Placement courses, students may earn college credits by taking classes at Queensborough Community and York Colleges, as well as classes at Martin Van Buren that are certified by Syracuse University.

Spanish is the only foreign language taught.

Extracurricular activities include sports teams, and an array of clubs. There are also competitive academic teams such as math, mock trial, moot court, debate and robotics. Art and music offerings—either as classes or after-school activities—include piano, band, chorus, cartooning, fashion, graphic design and fine arts.

Van Buren shares its large building with Business Technology Early College High School. The two schools share use of common spaces including the gymnasium, cafeteria, auditorium and library. Each school has its own entrance to the building.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are self-contained and ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes, SETSS, a program for hearing-impaired students and dedicated English classes for ELLs (English language learners).

ADMISSIONS:  The health science program admits students based on a review of their grades, test scores and attendance records. The law and engineering programs admit students based on the educational option formula, which is designed to enroll students of mixed abilities. Students who live in the school’s zone and are admitted through the zoned program, may choose one of the three themed programs to join. (Laura Zingmond, web reports, November 2018)


School Stats


How many students graduate in 4 years?
How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
How many English language learners 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 achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
From the 2019-20 School Quality Guide and 2020-21 NYC School Survey


Number of students
644 Citywide Average


Low-income students
Students with disabilities
Multilingual learners
From the 2020-21 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?
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
7 Citywide Average
Number of students for each guidance counselor or social worker
157 Citywide Average

Teachers’ Race/Ethnicity

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
Are teachers effective?
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey, 2019-20 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



Computer Science




Advanced Foreign Language


AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science


AP/IB Math or Science



From unpublished, anonymized data from the 2019-20 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?
From the 2019-20 School Quality Guide
How many students filled out a FAFSA form by the end of their senior year?
From the 2020-21 FAFSA data released by Federal Student Aid, brought you by
How many graduates of this school received Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funding to attend a NYS college?
How many of those TAP recipients made it through college? Learn more
From unpublished, anonymized student-level data for the class of 2011-12 provided by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) in coordination with the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), 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

STEM Institute for Science Research

Admissions Method: Screened

Program Description:

Students interested in Medical careers can choose from classes in STEM Research, Anatomy, AP Biology, AP Calculus, Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, Forensics, Physics, AP Physics, AP Psychology, and CUNY College Now Biology, STEM Research, Algebra and Health. Partnerships include: NASA research, Wrigley Marine Science Center at USC, Cohen Hospital LIJ, DNA Learning Center, QCC Courses, Cornell Weil Medical School, and NY High School Pathways.

STEM Institue for Engineering and Robotics

Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.

Program Description:

Students interested in Engineering, Robotics, or Computer fields take STEM classes in Engineering I and II and Robotics III and IV, along with options for Calculus, Chemistry, Computer Application, Computer Languages, Computer Science, Earth Science, Physics, AP Physics, and AP Calculus. Partnerships include: NYU-Polytechnic Institute and the First Robotics Competition; and UC-Berkeley Computer Science.

Institute for Law and Humanities

Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.

Program Description:

Students offered three-year tracks in Law, Art, or Music. Law classes in Criminal & Civil Justice, Constitutional Law, Mock Trial, Moot Court, Syracuse University Public Affairs & Personal Finance, AP Global, AP US History, and Model United Nations. Art sequences in Fashion, Cartooning, Graphic Design, and Commercial Art. Music ensembles include Piano, Orchestra, and Chorus. Partnerships include: Columbia University Law; CUNY John Jay; Cooper Union; Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; and NYU Law.


Admissions Method: Zoned Priority

Program Description:

Zoned students will have opportunities to choose from our three-year institutes-Health Science Research; Engineering and Robotics; and Law and Humanities.


From the 2021 High School Directory

Language Courses

American Sign Language, French, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Computer Science Principles, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Environmental Science, AP United States History, AP English Language and Composition, AP Psychology, AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP World History: Modern

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

Coed PSAL teams


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

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location


230-17 Hillside Avenue
Queens Village NY 11427

Trains: N/A

Buses: Q1, Q27, Q43, Q46, Q88, QM36, QM6, X68


Principal: Tracy Martinez

Parent Coordinator: Russell Chew


Other Details

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the building with Business Technology Early College HS (B-Tech)

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? No

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Business Technology Early College High School (BTECH)

230-17 Hillside Avenue
Queens Village, NY 11427


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