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

Grades: 9-12

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)



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

Teachers’ Race/Ethnicity

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
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

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
From the 2020-21 FAFSA data released by Federal Student Aid, brought you by
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Contact & Location


231 Palmetto Street
Brooklyn NY 11221

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


Principal: Arthur Samuels


Other Details

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the building with Bushwick Community HS and JHS 291

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? Yes

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