Spotlight on Great High School Options

These schools – both screened and unscreened – represent just a slice of the diverse, high-quality educational settings available to New York City’s students. Although not comprehensive, we hope this list represents that in every community there are excellent options for young people. 

Academy for Software Engineering

Principal: Shawn Raeke

Address: 40 Irving Pl, New York, NY 10003 

About: Academy for Software Engineering is an Open Enrollment school that provides students with a four-year sequence of computer science education complemented by work-based learning opportunities through programs like Future Ready and Modern Youth Apprentice, and professional mentorship matching through iMentor to develop and refine postsecondary plans. Students participate in a rigorous and culturally responsive academic experience through Mastery Based Learning and Project Based Learning and cultivate social emotional competencies through restorative practices and participation in a four-year advisory program. 

Academy of Finance and Enterprise High School

Principal: Victoria Armano

Address: 30-20 Thomson Ave, Queens, NY 11101

About: The Academy of Finance and Enterprise High School is a NAF Distinguished Academy that encourages students to accumulate credits across content areas in the different career and technical education programs. These programs include Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Hospitality/Tourism. We engage students in test prep for the PSATs and SATs as early as 9th grade, and maintain a supportive team of teachers, parents and students who work together to support the academic and socio-emotional needs of all students. 

University Heights Secondary School 

Principal: Hazel Rosboro

Address: 701 St Ann's Ave, The Bronx, NY 10455

About: University Heights High is a high-performing Consortium school in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx that has consistently ranked among the top high schools in the country, according to US News and World Reports. Within the last 5 school years, UHHS has had a 100% graduate rate 3 times and a 99% graduation rate 2 times. In addition, the school has had a 99% college readiness rate for the last 5 years. It has exceeded the borough and citywide averages in both categories for many years.

UHHS lives up to its motto, “a high school that feels like a college”, in the way it is designed to prepare students for the future. Referred to as a “hidden gem” by the NY Post, University Heights has an award-winning robotics team which recently placed 20th in the world, that is 1 of over 100 extracurricular programs. The school’s robust menu of high-quality programs support students with the school with hands-on elective classes, work-based learning experiences, community service, enrichment clubs, media production, sports, college access services and family engagement initiatives among others. These programs are designed to meet the demands of preparing students to be college and career ready while also keeping families engaged throughout the course of their child’s high school career.

A graduate of University Heights herself, the school’s principal has worked to ensure a rich, engaging and rigorous learning environment for her students. UHHS’ history, culture and tone of kindness, as well as its focus on project-based inquiry learning, has resulted in multiple news stories about the school. The focus on project-based learning provides students with 

Gaynor McCown Expeditionary Learning School 

Principal: Maggie Tang

Address: 100 Essex Dr, Staten Island, NY 10314

About: Gaynor McCown Expeditionary Learning School is a college preparatory school partnering with NYC Outward Bound Schools and EL Education to offer challenging, student-centered curriculum that incorporates fieldwork and concludes with projects presented to audiences. As a small school on Staten Island, Gaynor McGowan provides highly personalized support to students, who are expected to complete 100 hours of community service by graduation, and exemplify integrity, citizenship, perseverance, respect and responsibility. Students are encouraged to earn college credits through two dual-enrollment programs in partnership with St. Francis College and the College of Staten Island.

High School of Art and Design

Principal: Maximillian Re-Suguira 

Address: 245 E 56th St, New York, NY 10022

About: The High School of Art and Design is New York City's premier arts high school. The school’s eight majors and rigorous core curriculum creates college and career pathways through hands-on internships and a unique agency model. High Schools of Art & Design cultivate community through strategic professional partnerships and a culture of celebration that includes: the alumni association, an incredibly supportive PTA, and artist-educators who champion equity and affirm identity in both curriculum and practice.

The Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music 

Principal: Jerrod Mabry

Address: 2780 Reservoir Ave, The Bronx, NY 10468

About: The Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music was the first performing arts high school dedicated to music in the Bronx. Unlike other audition-based music schools in New York City, students are admitted based only on their talents. Students’ grades, attendance, and state test scores are not considered for admission. As a result, the school has a diverse student population, and the percentage of students with disabilities is consistently higher than city-wide and Bronx averages. Under the leadership of Superintendent Fred Walsh and the support of the CUNY Affinity Group and our partner Lehman College, Celia Cruz’s graduation rate soared to 98% or higher for the last three consecutive school years, the 18-month post-secondary enrollment rate rose to 81%, and 75% of students graduate with AP or college-level coursework.

Pelham Preparatory Academy

Principal: Benvenuto Ferron

Address: 925 Astor Ave, The Bronx, NY 10469

About: Pelham Preparatory Academy (PPA) is a school community that prides itself on academic excellence and youth development through embracing student voice and developing teacher leaders. The school leadership team continues to cultivate and nurture partnerships with the University of Vermont; College for Every Student, Equal Opportunity Schools, and Lead Higher. These relationships speak to how Pelham Preparatory Academy lives and breathes the motto, “High School with a College View.” The blend of veteran and new teachers working together to embrace tradition and welcome new philosophies has been the main catalyst for progression since 2002. Principal Benvenuto Ferron was born and raised in the community that he serves. This provides him the unique opportunity to continuously communicate and connect with students and parents in the surrounding neighborhood. Alumni remain active in supporting the mission of the school and have even returned to PPA as teachers and have emerged as leaders within the school community. 

Brooklyn Preparatory High School 

Principal: Noah Lansner 

Address: 257 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

About: Brooklyn Preparatory High School focuses on engagement, empowerment and effort to help all students achieve their college dreams. Brooklyn Prep empowers and prepares students to be leaders by giving them unique opportunities to teach other students about their passion in student-designed electives including Sociology, Cosmetology and K-Pop. Other student leaders meet with teachers to help plan and lead core courses from 9th grade Writing to Physics and Statistics. Brooklyn Prep engages students through a core sequence that is culturally relevant, such as Latin American & Caribbean studies as our core 10th grade global class and financial literacy as a required senior math course. The school encourages effort by offering a choice of ten different Advanced Placement Classes, from AP Calculus to AP Studio Art to AP African American Studies. Brooklyn Prep is one of only 64 schools nationwide selected to participate in the APAA pilot this year.

Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School

Principal: Dawn Meconi 

Address: 284 Baltic St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 

About: Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School, a Brooklyn North High School, is a small school with dedicated staff and faculty. The unique academic program combines rigorous coursework and AP classes with authentic learning experiences in computer science, digital art, and film production. Students use state of the art equipment and partner with organizations that provide them with hands-on experiences in the arts and college mentoring.

Brooklyn College Academy

Principal: Shernell Thomas Daley 

Address: 350 Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11218 

About: Brooklyn College Academy, Early College High School attributes success to a school wide community effort. Students are invested in their dream of going to college becoming a reality and are committed to the rigorous undertaking of being an Early College student. Teachers set high expectations for students, collaborate with one another and share best practices resulting in high quality instruction that prepares students for college and beyond. Brooklyn College Academy partners with a CUNY Liaison who ensures that all students have access to rigorous college courses and are provided student supports unique to the individual needs of the students. Brooklyn College Academy believes that parents in partnership with the school is essential to student success. 

Aviation CTE High school

Principal: Steven Jackson

Address: 45-30 36 Street, Queens, NY 11101 

About: Aviation CTE High School is one of the city's most unique career and technical education schools. The school's main focus is to train, license, and prepare graduates for lucrative careers in the field of aircraft maintenance, engineering, and careers in the 21st century aviation industry through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulated aviation maintenance program. Student success is grounded in the high standards and industry aligned, rigorous FAA airframe and powerplant license pathways that all students participate in throughout their four years of high school. Students’ focus on attaining their airframe and powerplant FAA license drives stellar attendance outcomes and graduation rates. When earning both of these FAA aircraft maintenance licenses, students can go directly to work for our nation's airlines and aircraft manufacturers, right out of high school. 

The Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice

Principal: Kristin Ferrales 

Address: 283 Adams Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

About: The Urban Assembly School for Law & Justice is a small, law-themed, non-charter public high school located in downtown Brooklyn. The school’s mission is to prepare students, many of whom come from underserved communities across the city and will be the first in their family to attend college, for success in college and career. The three pillars: rigorous instruction, individualized supports, and access to a variety of enrichment offerings, are the framework for the school. These pillars reflect the conviction that educating is in itself an act of social justice, and that learning can be amplified when done through the lens of the law, with a focus on analysis, critical thinking, and persistent, reasoned questioning.

High School for Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture

Principal: Lakeisha Gordon 

Address: 94-06 104th Street, Queens, NY 11416

About: High School for Construction Trades, Engineering & Architecture is a CTE school that was founded in 2006. The school is committed to providing students of diverse cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds with a sense of belonging. This is conducted in an educational environment that allows them to explore their talents and interests while receiving a solid academic foundation that prepares them for post-secondary education, as well as careers in Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture. The supportive learning environment is collaboratively designed to promote academic achievement through connecting the student’s career interests to the real world.

Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology

Principal: Kristina Dvorakovskaya

Address: 439 West 49th Street, Manhattan, NY 10019

About: Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology is Hell's Kitchen best kept secret. It's where the tech geeks, the tech curious, the tech savvy and the tech wannabes go to study one of three technology pathways. Those who prefer hands on, study IT. Those who thrive on problem solving, study Software Engineering. And those who are artistic, study Digital Design & Animation. Gateway levels the playing field by offering rigorous academic and technology content to each student. Students graduate not only ready for college but ready for careers with industry certifications. The school’s goal is not only to have students graduate from high school, but to provide scholars with options so they are successful in what they do after high school. Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology credits relationships as the foundation for their success. The school incorporates the use of small group instruction, community events, and home visits to maintain a tight-knit community.

Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School

Principal: Co-Principals Damon Mccord and Hillary Mills

Address: 91-30 Metropolitan Ave, Queens, NY 11375

About: MELS, located in Queens, is an open enrollment 6-12 school that serves one of the most diverse student populations in all of New York State. As an EL Education and New York City Outward Bound School, MELS focuses on real-world, project-based curricula along with an emphasis on culture and character. This results in a student-centered environment where students' success is paramount. Since it's first graduating class in 2016, MELS has had an average graduation rate of 98%, with graduation rates for students with disabilities consistently outperforming the state average by over thirty percentage points. MELS also boasts a post-secondary enrollment rate persistently over 80%. MELS's graduation and post-secondary outcomes for boys and young men of color were also recognized as exemplary by the My Brothers Keeper Initiative for New York State. 

High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology

Principal: Xhenete Shepard

Address: 350 67th St Brooklyn, NY 11220

About: The High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology adheres to a few core values: young people are amazing and will find endless success when we support and encourage them to take risks and embrace challenges; we must model a growth mindset and be accountable for fostering genuine respect, confidence, and the ongoing pursuit of knowledge; we inspire each other to be our personal best when we are a community of lifelong learners; when students are in an environment where they can be curious, independent and critical thinkers who question and investigate, they will be equipped to address both local and global challenges; and we must be kind, be kind, be kind. HSTAT’s greatest asset is our unending drive to be better than we were the day before. Proud of our long history and sound foundation, we’ve learned a lot over many years of collaboration. Improved with each new student, staff, and family to come through our doors, we are always on edit, continuously revising so we can provide our students with options, resources, and the confidence to make good choices in an ever-evolving world. 

Young Women’s Leadership School

Principal: Colleen McGeehan

Address: 105 East 106th Street, New York, NY 10029

About: The Young Women's Leadership School, a single gender school, celebrating 25 years of focusing on post-secondary readiness. The school staff works to build relationships and over time has adapted advisory programming to include community building and restorative circles. There is a focus on engaging with families to support students with tutoring, and various after school activities. Students created a Big Sibling program that has morphed into 11th/12th graders co-constructing advisory lessons for 6th and 7th graders.

Hillcrest High School

Principal: Scott Milczewski 

Address: 160-05 Highland Ave, Queens, NY 11432

About: Hillcrest is a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) school that proudly offers its students a world-class education with a dynamic faculty and challenging curriculum. Students get the benefits and warmth of a small school setting with seven Small Learning Communities all within a large comprehensive high school that offers a wide range of Advanced Placement classes, four NYS approved CTE Programs, a FutureReadyNYC program, and one of the largest College Now programs in New York City. Every student enters a Small Learning Community which is run by a teacher-leader, a school counselor, and a dozen teachers who use rigorous instruction and data-tracking analysis to ensure credit accumulation and graduation success. SLC is linked to a career theme and has connections to the professional world with various partnerships and internships with elite organizations around New York City. Hillcrest offers its students several award-winning programs such as Virtual Enterprise, Model United Nations, Moot Court, Nursing, Software Engineering, Journalism, Theatre, and many PSAL sports.

Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School

Principal: Thomas Rochowicz 

Address: 511 West 182nd Street, Manhattan, NY 10033

About: WHEELS is a New York City Outward Bound School serving students in PreK-12, most of whom describe WHEELS as a family. As part of NYC Outward Bound Schools, we implement the EL Education model, which includes how we do school culture, curriculum, instruction, assessment, and leadership, as well as our English literacy curriculum for K-8. The fundamental idea of EL is a focus on character and high-quality work along with mastery of knowledge and skills, and these three “dimensions” of student achievement permeate throughout our school. Crew is a foundational practice that supports teacher-student and student-student relationships, creating the sense of membership and belonging that is a crucial prerequisite to academic growth. Our robust college and career supports, in partnership with Futures Ignite, beginning in 9th Grade and culminating senior year with a 1:50 counselor:student ratio, ensures our students have strong postsecondary plans and alumni counselors to continue the support beyond graduation.

Eagle Academy for Young Men II

Principal: Rashad Meade

Address: 1137 Herkimer Street, Brooklyn, NY 11233

About: From an early vision, detailed in an eighty-page document, the Eagle Academy for Young Men at Ocean Hill would emerge. It was 2008, a time when the notion of a single gender public school was unfamiliar to most, and one specific to address the needs of young men of color in New York City was especially inconceivable. That September, fourteen educators rose to the occasion as our doors officially opened to sixty-five black and brown sixth-grade boys. Fast forward 15 years later, and the over 100 educators and 600+ are still soaring high. A structure is only as good as its foundation. At the core of Eagle Academy are committed educators, who share in the belief that a supportive school family and access to opportunity will inspire change. The school is upheld by parents who believe in the vision, and the student body is comprised of young men who identify themselves as brothers.

Bronxdale High School

Principal: Grace White

Address: 925 Astor Avenue, Bronx, NY 10469

About: Our school fosters a realistic, relevant, and hands-on educational experience for students. We use collaborative approaches that benefit students by teaching them skills they will need beyond high school, such as the ability to work in teams, solve multi-faceted problems, and apply what they learn in various settings. We have an extended school day to provide structured time, individual attention, and other supports students may need to succeed, and have folded tutoring into the school day. Bronxdale helps each child develop the critical-thinking skills and habits of work necessary for success beyond high school.