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Martin Van Buren High School

230-17 Hillside Avenue
Queens Village NY 11427
Phone: 718-776-4728

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)


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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 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
76% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many students graduate in 4 years?
82% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
48% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
41% Citywide Average
How many graduates stay enrolled in college for at least 3 semesters?
67% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2019-20 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2018-19 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 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
66% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
68% Citywide Average

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.


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


Bellerose (District 26)
Trains: N/A
Buses: Q1, Q27, Q43, Q46, Q88, QM36, QM6, X68


Tracy Martinez
Parent Coordinator
Russell Chew

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares the building with Business Technology Early College HS (B-Tech)
Metal detectors?

Zone for the 2019-2020 school year. Call school to confirm.

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Business Technology Early College High School (BTECH)

230-17 Hillside Avenue
Queens Village, NY 11427


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