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Math, Engineering, and Science Academy (MESA) Charter High School

Grades: 9-12
231 Palmetto Street
Brooklyn NY 11221
Phone: 718-282-7426

Our Insights

What’s Special

Project-based math and science classes

The Downside

Metal detectors

On the first day of class at Math, Engineering and Science Academy (MESA), new students may find a “body” (a person playing dead) face down on the floor, sparking an investigation into forensic analysis of DNA from hair and blood samples. MESA offers project-based courses to bring math and science to life. This still-young school has a strong record preparing students for college.

The school is safe and orderly with steady leadership. It boasts excellent attendance; students are responsible for calling their own parents if they are even one minute late, according to the student handbook. Staff serve as mentors for small groups of students and try to “catch” them following rules and doing good work, rather than focusing on mistakes. Most teens say there is little bullying in school. 

Like many charters, MESA has a principal who oversees instruction and an executive director who oversees operations. Arthur Samuels, a Harvard Law School and Columbia Teachers College alumnus, designed the program at his previous post at East Harlem’s Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation. Principal Pagee Cheung is also a graduate of Teachers College.

Samuels says he is proud of MESA’s positive school culture. “It’s not a punitive culture: no demerits, no uniform, but we do have a dress code. Teens have some freedom to express their personalities. Rigor is not sacrificed for warmth. We don’t have silent passing in the halls, but it’s not chaotic.” 

MESA is a rare “stand alone" charter high school—unconnected to a middle or elementary school and not supported by a network of many schools under one umbrella. The school day starts later than usual, at 9 am, to mirror the start of a professional workday, the website says, and ends at 4:16 pm (Wednesday is a shorter day). During school breaks in February and April, MESA offers enrichment and remediation classes, which are not optional for students struggling academically.

Clubs meet about once or twice a week for an hour with topics such as ukulele, Spanish cinema, dance team, debate, art, math team and robotics. The gym, library, dance room, auditorium and cafeteria are shared with JHS 291 and Bushwick Community High School. Entrance times are staggered. The building has a metal detector.

Admissions: By lottery with preference to students in District 32. Eighty percent of the students come from the district.  (Lydie Raschka, web reports, January 2019)



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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 2019-20 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

From 2019-20 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
2% Citywide Average
Teacher turnover rate
35% Citywide Average

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From 2019-20 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 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2019-20 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 2019-20 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

Contact & Location


Bushwick (District 32)
Trains: J Line, Z Line to Gates Ave; L Line to Myrtle-Wyckoff Aves; M Line to Knickerbocker Ave
Buses: B13, B26, B52, B54, Q24, Q55, Q58


Arthur Samuels

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares the building with Bushwick Community HS and JHS 291
Metal detectors?

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