Excellent school. Ranked top 10 to top 25 nationally, year in and year out. Best in WNY and at the top of New York State rankings. All despite its place in a struggling district and having a third of its students at or below the poverty line. The administration, teachers, students, and parents are doing something right.
I must comment on the "teacher" who said this school does not represent the bps system. I completely disagree with the idea that technically to be a magnet school you must draw from bps students only. Everyone who lives in the city who pays property taxes has the right to test their child into this school regardless of where they went k-4. The admissions test is a logic test hardly something kids prepare for or learn more of at a private elementary school. The essay is based on an ela score which most private schools don't even teach to and the bps do. So I think the advantage is to bps students there! Besides that really comes down to literacy rates and parents being involved in kids life and reading to them. A student would not survive at chs without those skills. And if parents scrimp and save to put money into their kids k-4 learning they have that choice. It's their investment. City honors is the one public high school in buffalo which attracts people into moving or staying in the city - something buffalo desprately needs.
First of all, I am not a parent or a student but an educator. I highly disagree with the review that says " [City Honors] does a great job fulfilling its mission as the accelerated honors magnet for the City of Buffalo." Technically, magnets should be pulling FROM the public schools by identifying students in the BPS population and giving them an educational opportunity the would never otherwise have. In other words, if CHS was doing it's job, it would require a year of attendance to another BPS prior to application to CHS. This is not the case. Many middle class parents send their children to private school prior to applying to City Honors. If a private school educated 4th grader is testing alongside equally or even more intelligent, yet sadly much less well prepared, BPS students, guess who gets in? CHS attendance simply allows these well off families to save money to offer additional privileges to their children while the bright kids in the BPS who deserve this education will never get either! That is not the goal of a true city magnet at all! It's the goal of those invested in rankings. Very sad for the many bright children already in the BPS who deserve a place at CHS.
I hate this school with most fiery of passions. The academics were decent, but not superb as can be demonstrated by the fact that the pass rates for some regents exams are laughably low for an honors school. The student body creates a very hostile environment, and some of the teachers spread rumors and trash talk students. In fact, one time I saw a teacher spreading a malicious rumor about a student and asked him why the teacher did it, the response was, I kid you not, "To embarrass him [the student]." A lot of times, students behave with impunity and at other times, administration is arbitrarily stringent in enforcement of school rules. Since GreatSchools won't publish reviews that name students, teachers or staff, I will just say that some students had bullied and harassed another student for months on end and received no punishment for what they did. After graduating from this atrocious institution, I realized that high school literature courses killed my joy in reading. The mathematics department is nearly a joke. The sciences are particularly weak. Overall, terrible high school with a horrible environment. Wish I could go back in time and gone to a different high school.
City honors has thus far surpassed my expectations . I feel if my child takes advantage of what is being offered. She can achieve what ever she sets out to achieve. The decision is truely up to her. The bottom line for me is that she is being exposed and academically challeneged. The bulk of our public and even charter schools are lagging behind , I hate to say this, it pains me to say this , but there are high schools in our city that are nothing more then teenage waste lands. I base this on graduation rates and college acceptance percentages. As for my child this free ,public education , if nothing else has my child on the right track.
Honestly, the four years I have spent at City Honors for high school were the most miserable years of my life. It's been a couple of years since I graduated, and I still feel the sting of the bullying and harassment I suffered at the hands of peers, both those my age and even younger, and occasionally even teachers. I feel like I had so much more potential and could have succeeded to a larger extent in a less hostile environment. Instead, City Honors crushed my sense of self-worth and esteem. It got so bad that somedays I would just dread walking into school and felt lousy at the end of the day after an entire day's worth of ostracism and rude behavior from students. Academically, the school's pass rates on AP exams and some regents are laughably low for an "honors" school. The IB program is a scam, and does very little to prepare a student for college and earns the student almost zero credits anywhere. I do applaud the school for its socioeconomic diversity, but the student body is very racially segregated. Some teachers are pretty good (Jurich, Crane, Stephens, Roche, Franke, etc) but many are indeed washed out. Overall, my experience at this school was less than satisfactory.
I'm a freshman at Honors; it's my first year attending the school and I can honestly say it does not live up to any expectations. I came to Honors to be academically challenged and surrounded by peers with the same thrive for knowledge. I found out quite quickly that this simply is not the case. The students are not as gifted as many seem to think; one of my peers stated that when the Earth goes behind the Sun, the Sun casts a shadow on the Earth. Many of them simply arrive at Honors in fifth grade and lose all thrive for a higher education within a few months. Also, while some teachers are truly fantastic, many are quite the opposite. The coursework is mediocre at best; I've put minimal effort into all of my courses and I'm receiving grades ranging from 95-103. It's also a terrible social environment. The school is excessively clique-y; I've already been shoved into the "losers" clique (which I don't mind at all; I love my friends), and many people won't talk to me just because of it. I was cyber-bullied by a student before I even started classes in September. All in all, honors is really just a letdown and I wish I'd chosen a different school to attend for the next four years.
I am a CHS parent. City Honors is part of the Buffalo Public Schools. It does a great job fulfilling its mission as the accelerated honors magnet for the City of Buffalo. The school is newly renovated & has a flourishing International Baccalaureate Program (IB). It is also a school that does not allow the students to avoid intellectual challenges. Everyone takes 3 AP courses & 1 IB course in high school. ALL students go off to college being extremely well prepared to meet the challenges of higher education. Additionally, administrators take time away from their own families to come to away games and meets. Many of the teachers do the same. I would say 95% of the teachers come in early, stay late, and are extremely dedicated. I've never seen a school with so many clubs & afterschool activities. The dedication of a vast majority of the faculty is truly remarkable. That said, City Honors IS a public school, so it does not have the same resources that private schools (with $15,000-$20,000/year tuitions). Students also cannot avoid the mandatory challenging courses. If you want your child to receive the BEST POSSIBLE grades 5-12 education in WNY, then City Honors is it.
I graduated from City Honors two years ago, and though I'm not sure how much has changed in the years I've been gone, I can say my experience within the school was not a pleasant one. Many people have a multitude of illusions about the school, and how it's supposedly so much better than others. That's not at all true. It's a school full of gifted children and young adults who are forced into classes they might not want to take, forced to pay for (if they're not unfortunate enough to be able to have them paid for) and take advanced (AP and IB) exams- usually for the same classes they had no interest in. The administration cares only for their own school ratings, and most will not help you in any way if you're struggling. There also seems to be a misconception about the teachers. Most are washed out, waiting for their retierment, and only about half come in early enough for a student to seek help before it's time for homeroom. A lot of teachers stay after, as well, but because they're running clubs. Only a few offer help. Also, unless your child goes through the rigor of being full IB, they will be looked down upon and offered less help preparing for college than the others.
Teachers do not make a school. The intellect and ability of a student does. I am a freeman a City Honors, and have been severely disappointed. City Honors was always held to be this kind of Mecca for students, it has been seen as the only school worth caring about in Buffalo. This, however, and according to many other students, not parents who have bought into the falsehoods that this schools past great deeds have earned it, is false. Teachers at CHS are only average, assigning mediocre work and just prepping us for mindless sate exams. Administration is severely flawed, as well. Teachers live in fear that they, too could be laid off by our train wreck of a school board. New teachers are belittled and hazed be ones with "Tenure", who have long since burnt out and lost any passion for their profession, and now just talk at a class instead of actively teaching them. City Honors may have used to be a great school, and is no longer, but parents who believe that they know over their own children have told the media, and the country, otherwise. It's time to expose CHS as the disaster that it is.