Students enrolled 1384
Hours 8:15 AM - 3:00 PM
School leader MS. SHIRLEY H. MATTHEWS
Transportation options Yes
District New York City Geographic District # 2

Contact this school

448 W 56th St
New York, NY 10019

School website
(212) 262-8113
Nearby homes for sale
Map of High School for Environmental Studies address.

3 stars
Based on 56 ratings

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think about this school

August 05, 2014
Lessons to incoming freshmen, transfer out as soon as you can, don't what the teachers say personally(if you choose to stay), they live in their own world, one that is stuck in a mediocre school, study ahead of the class, be neutral,don't express any hint of your beliefs unless they're republican/same as the teachers/ the entire school believes the same things as you or you can get the entire school to rally around you. Read 'A Young People's History of the United States: Columbus to the War on Terror' by Howard Zinn, and watch The Young Turks.

- submitted by a teacher
August 05, 2014
There is a reason why most students at this school go to public(like CUNY) and state colleges. The teachers berate and belittle students they don't like which can either be based on race or things like making their jobs harder (A little context, this school was a lot better in the early 2000s, this is cannon fodder for the school's republican ideology.) or both. This is not conducive to a learning environment. It also makes teacher's act acrimoniously towards students who expect the teachers to teach them and makes students who teach themselves, show that the school is a waste of tax dollars because the teachers merely reiterate what the students taught themselves, and don't do their jobs.

- submitted by a student
August 05, 2014
There is a reason why most students at this school go to public(like CUNY) and state colleges. The teachers berate and belittle students they don't like which can either be based on race or things like making their jobs harder(A little context, this school was a lot better in the early 2000s, this is cannon fodder for the school's republican ideology.) or both. This is not conducive to alearning environment. It also makes teacher's act acrimoniously towards students who expect the teachers to teach them and makes students who teach themselves, show that the school is a waste of tax dollars because the teachers merely reiterate what the students taught themselves, and don't do their jobs.

- submitted by a parent
August 05, 2014
It s not a science-heavy school it s a science-infused school, Mike Hojnacki This is inherently contradicting. "In modern usage, "science" most often refers to a way of pursuing knowledge, not only the knowledge itself" wikipedia. So considering the past test scores of students, and this statement, the teachers clearly don't think science is about knowledge. As for the other definition, if they saw how bad the test scores were, they would have changed they way teachers taught the students, changed how the administration managed the school, and changed how students got admitted. If this doesn't happen, you should avoid this school, if you want to have a good education. If there are any 8th graders reading this, just play it safe and not apply to this school, to any incoming freshmen, study for and retake the SHSAT or transfer out as soon as possible to a better school which requires you to suffer a little bit but it will be worth it, your education is invaluable and you won't get one here. and anyone thinking about transferring to this school, don't unless you have no other choice.

- submitted by a parent
July 04, 2014
The teachers are not only bad but they are also biased and they bring their biases into the classroom. The teachers at this school reuse past lessons that don't work for the majority of students and that is evident in the test scores, some teachers don't even come up with their only lessons but they use lessons they get online which is may or may not work for the majority of students but the teachers don't care whether the students pass or not since they bring in their personal biases to try and bring down the students they don't like. They do this by giving the student a lower score on things like essays, participation, classwork and yelling at students for doing something annoying like asking to go to the bathroom or talking, deny a student a letter of recommendation, or openly mocking students in class. This negatively affects students grades and consequently creates an antagonistic environment in which fights happen constantly. It's not just the students who are affected but the teachers are as well which is why all the good teachers who taught the subject well and get high regents scores have left for better opportunities like the french teacher who now teaches at stuyvesant.

- submitted by a parent
July 02, 2014
i guess you could say this school is the epitome of America(which is not a good thing in this case) in that it is divided. This is the most decentralized school I have ever been in, the staff and administration don't get along. The students are mostly apathetic, and those who succeed do it in spite of this school because the study themselves since they can do it faster. All of the teachers who were worth keeping have left for better opportunities(one teacher teaches at Stuyvesant) and those who stayed are just barely okay, some don't teach(they just reuse past lessons that don't work or lessons they get online that are may be ineffective depending on the student but no student dares to speaks up because of pluralistic ignorance.), some are even racist. I guess this is a dream school for any republican since they believe that with hard work you can achieve the American dream but that is hypocritical if you're funded from tax dollars and you don't do your job well( or not at all) and are essentially not doing anything but skating by like someone on welfare which is ironic because from what some of the teachers say and do, you can tell they are republicans.I wouldn't send my kids here

- submitted by a teacher
June 25, 2014
Since the hallways are very narrow it is easy for people to eavesdrop on what people are saying but even when students and teachers are not in the halls but in the classrooms they are being spied on. The teachers don't even hide this if you pay attention you will notice that the teachers are unafraid of showing their biases, and since they also like eavesdropping it makes it easier for them to openly mock students and teachers in the classroom, sometimes when they're in the same room. Most teachers get their lessons online and recycle lessons from last year regardless of effectiveness. Good teachers do not stay long since they would be at another school. The same thing goes for students unless they have made good friends or want to stay with old friends but both good teachers and good students are few and far between, at this school a good teacher would be one that does their job without putting most of the weight on the students, at other schools a good teacher makes you care about learning the subject matter not just passing a test. If your child is at all ambitious or studious, don't send them here.

- submitted by a parent
June 19, 2014
Apparently their idea of constructive criticism is to always be berating and belittling students who make them actually do their jobs,(teaching) and the students who study the material themselves make the teachers highly unnecessary, and yet the teachers complain about students not knowing the material when they don't teach. Don't send your kids here unless your kids just plan on studying themselves or socializing or both.

- submitted by a community member
June 08, 2014
There are a lot of bad students in this school but there are also a lot of good students Too. There are a lot of really bad teachers and some good teachers who aren't good enough to leave this school so the quality of their teaching is based on how much they like your child. if you tried hard in middle school to get into the honors academy then you'll have a great time, just make the right friends, know that teachers have their biases too even if they are not supposed to. There is an incredibly obnoxious air of delusion among students and teachers thinking that they are better than everybody else (except among those who are most likely to excel), this does not create a conducive learning environment, especially if learning is dependent on the teachers liking you. For those who are not in the honors academy, try to transfer out, or try not to get sucked into the wrong crowd. One other thing, the mostly apathetic student-body, and largely terrible teaching staff(whether because of the student-body/school bureaucracy is unclear) makes this school on the cusp of being considered an urban school if it weren't for the honors academy.

- submitted by a community member
April 09, 2014
This is the worst school ever. Teachers are so disrespectful. Principals are rude. And please don't get fooled by the name.

- submitted by a teacher
March 19, 2014
I graduated from HSES last year. I could not have picked a better high school. I absolutely love the place! I was able to do DNA extraction, work for the Nature Conservancy, plant flowers on the sidewalk and all through programs at the school. I was an honors student though and I know many of my classmates who do not share as fond memories as I do but it is really what you make of it. Also, most people have a problem with the principal...but my teachers were great so why miss out because of one bad apple?

- submitted by a student
November 19, 2013
Regarding the honors academy , I agree it is not easy to get in. I am a honors student and I got chosen because I was also very good in middle school. You can't come to the school with the mentality that you will automatically be places in the honors acad if you didn't work for it . I came in freshman year and was immediately placed in honors because of my middle school grades . By having one decent marking you can't expect you be places in honors. The honors acad prepares you for the ap course and the ap courses come with very challenging exams which is why not everyone can be placed in honors. Next year , how ever , there will be no honors acad; there will be only ap and regulars. My experience in the school so far had been great ! I love the staff and the teachers. The key to success is to have a positive attitude !

- submitted by a community member
October 26, 2013
I am currently a sophomore at HSES . There's many things people would enjoy to say about the school and put the school without actually going to the school. Highschool for enviromental studies is a school that's very divers. Many parents say that the school is bad but NO SCHOOL is bad . Maybe a parent needs to check themself at home & how they raise their child. A school is not responsible for a child personal behavior . Also i agree with the whole you have to fight to get into honor classes . But the things that majority of people are basically complaining about is the student. My name is Jakaira Jimenez and my opinion is that if you go to HSES or have thought of transfering do a good research , present yourself towards the school go to open houses and ect. Don't just make a bad impression of the school for 1bad experience . Watch how you direct yourself towards others , attitued ,tone , body language, and for last language in general.

- submitted by a community member
May 21, 2013
My son wants to be a Marine Biologist and got his acceptance letter to The High School for Environmental Studies after their open house. I sent an emailed during the break requesting a visit upon return. Imagine my surprise they said NO! I called the Guidance Officer who said No! I asked for the Parent Coordinator and explained to her that I/We just wanted a chance to enter and maybe meet the office staff to just get a feel for the school. I was very honest that the reviews online wasn't good and I wanted to give them a 2nd chance. She made excuses and said she thought the reviews were removed as she requested previously and that this is NYC" things happen". The best part is when she finally said yes and I requested the next morning,,,, she said no "she's taking a personal day off", I asked for the morning after that at 10am and her response was that I should call first. I called that morn at 8.45 and 9.15 to confirm and I got no response, she finally called at 10.45 not realizing it was me (she used call log) after her shock she asked if I can be there in 1/2 hr or it can't be done. Well... I Quit and sent my son for the 2nd round Choices it's better now than Sept. Thanks!!!

- submitted by a parent
October 08, 2012
Hello my name is Bent Yitzhari, I graduated in 2012.Environmental Studies is just what you make of it. If you do well and study hard then i promise you that you will get accepted into a good college. Do not blame the school, blame the students for not caring about their lives. P.S i had the best time of my life!

- submitted by a community member
July 24, 2012
I am currently a Junior at High School for Environmental Studies. I have had a disappointing experience at this school. I came into HSES expecting challenging courses and a welcoming school environment. So far, I have yet to receive either. HSES puts certain students in an Honors Academy program that they usually remain in for their four years in the school. It is nearly impossible to get into this program if you were not selected at first. I think the program is extremely unfair because only those students get access to AP courses. Ever since my freshman year I have had to fight to get into honors classes and/or AP courses. Why should a student who has proved herself over and over again be kept out of the classes she deserves to be in. Additionally, it is so hard to voice your opinion unless you scream and shout it to the principal herself. This school frustrates me and makes me regret not transferring as the days go by. I did not and continue to not enjoy my experience at HSES. There are a list of other things I dislike about the school but unfortunately there are not enough characters available for me to express my frustration. I would not recommend HSES.

- submitted by a student
July 09, 2012
School is not just for those looking to focus on the environment though there are a lot of opportunities to get involved from that area. There are wonderful teachers and content to be taught. There is a very diverse student body.

- submitted by a community member
June 17, 2012
My advice is always be careful what you are wishing for.....especially for those who are applying for high school or people who are looking to transfer.....if there's a better option I suggest you take it.....

- submitted by a community member
February 08, 2012
There was an incident where a student that was harassing my daughter convinced staff to clip the lock on my daughter's locker claiming it was his locker. He stole my daughter's property and the principal did nothing. I requested a meeting with the principal and staff and was told that if I pursued the matter, the staff who clipped the lock would lose his pension. I was guilted out of going forward. The student continued to bully my daughter and it turned into a huge problem for my daughter as some of her friends took his side since he was never penalized for the incident.

- submitted by a parent
September 27, 2011
This school has been getting worse and worse. The students are very disrespectful and the school seems to be alright with that. There are a few students who care but the majority win them over. The school administration(teachers, principal, staff, and guards) are to blame for this school going down. If they cared about the school they would do something to change it, but they dont.

- submitted by a student
September 06, 2011
My friends son recently graduated from the school, and she was happy he was out, I'm not sure why the school has taken a down fall, it's not what it use to be. It use to be a caring environment where teachers and students cared about education(I know because a long time ago my daughter spend the best four high school years a teen can have) . I believe administration needs to put its foot down and take over the school instead of the students having the last word. Parents, educators, and future students need to know that once this school use to be great school, not sure why it changed.

- submitted by a parent
September 05, 2011
I'm a recently departed teacher from this school. Maybe I'm biased, but most of the teachers there are very good. Nonetheless, I'm surprised by some of the positive reviews. The Principal is universally despised and is an impediment to the success of the school. We lost a lot of good teachers every year, and the vast majority of those that are left would leave the moment a decent opportunity opened up. All for the same reason - escape Shirley Matthews. Even her own "cabinet," the Assistant Principals, do not trust her. Everything is personal with her, nothing is business. Disagree with her once and you become a target. No one can understand how she has held this position for so long. The DOE must know. Perhaps they are ok with a decent school, even though it could easily be an excellent school. Eventually it will all implode. Maybe this year? Maybe next? I would NEVER send my child here.

- submitted by a teacher
March 31, 2010
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- submitted by a student
March 03, 2010
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- submitted by a student
February 17, 2010
Honestly the school does not live up to your individual expectations. Though it has a smaller student population than most high schools, the hallways are still way too crowded which causes tardiness. There are some dedicated teaachers but the others are not motivating you in anyway. As a student, I was disappointed, expecting a school where intelligence was a key factor in acceptance, to find that almost anyone was let in. It saddens me to see irresponsible and unwilling young minds roaming the hallways and being loud. I honestly regret my choice to attend this school and now it's too late. Everyday i cannot wait to graduate not because it's a highlight in my life but in fact because i want to put my 4 years here behind me as quickly as possible. The school is challenging i admit but it drains its students. i have yet to experience anything memorable.

- submitted by a student
November 19, 2009
My teen ateends there nad she is very happy considering she must deal with ignorance from other students that feel they don't need an education they rather population. overall my teen is happy and that puts a smile on my face :)

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 03, 2009
this is my first year in the school and i'll have to say i've been here for about a month and i still don't like it. it's very boring! i was expecting a school i could learn while having fun. the hallways are wayy toooo crowded and i just wouldn't recommended it to anyone. you also have to pay for lunch $1.25 a day. that's 6.25 a week, making it about 25 dollars you have to invest in lunch that is suppose to be freee. the bathrooms are closed the first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes of every period!..what happens when you are having a emergency? honestly.. i really wouldn't recommend this school to anyone. if you are willing to put up with all of that then yeah, academically.. it varies on the teacher u get. you just have to pray you get a good one.

- submitted by a student
September 21, 2009
it provides the students so much opportunities

- submitted by a student
September 20, 2009
Its only my first week of school and i feel so welcomed. I love my AP teachers and i enjoy going to school because my environment is so caring,socially & academic wise and we care for the environment as well.

- submitted by a student
no rating September 20, 2009
this high school has a lot of excellent teachers

- submitted by a parent
September 20, 2009
I love this school, i made tons of friend my first 3 weeks now im a junior and its still awesome, the teachers are nice and so are the deans, you can somehow always find help in this school

- submitted by a student
June 17, 2009
Best School Ever. It has it's highs and lows but the highs outweight the low. A great range of programs and best of all a flexible schedule. The Honor Academy Program is really strict and has tons of work but the normal classes are just as good. You won't regret going here.

- submitted by a student
April 06, 2009
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- submitted by a student
no rating March 18, 2009
Hses is one of the greatest schools out there. In this school i really feel safe. Also this school knows that keeping their students informed on what is going on in the school, is one of their top priorities. Yeah it maybe a B school, but its only from the kids that dont care about school. Just come to Hses for one day and there will be a smile on your face at the end of the day.

- submitted by a student
March 13, 2009
I came to this school thinking that my life was over but with the amazing things that this school has done to help me i only have good things to say. you may see some data that says HSES is just a B school but i can asure you that we are better then then that. Beacon high school is also a B school and is great in its own way but in a big school like HSES only the students who can handle some independance but are willing to get help when they need it will fit in. we need better students like myself who are willing to learn and excel.

- submitted by a student
February 21, 2009
the honors program is excellent but the normal program is less than desired

- submitted by a parent
February 16, 2009
HSES is a great NYC public high school. The administration and teachers are terrific -- very dedicated to the students. The School was just awarded a 'Silver rating' by U.S. News and World Report and HSES recently became a high school partner with the Alvin Ailey Dance Program -- the students love it. The PTA is getting more involved with fund raising and parent workshops, and the security force is much friendlier to parents now.

- submitted by a parent
January 20, 2009
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- submitted by a parent
December 10, 2008
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- submitted by a student
December 10, 2008
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- submitted by a student
no rating November 16, 2008
I agree with some of these comments. I would like for those parents who feel the school is underperforming to get together to try to make the school better. We are consumers and if the product is not up to par we should do someting about it. Unless we are taking our kids out we need to help make HSES a place that serves our children well.

- submitted by a parent
November 13, 2008
Academically this school is above average, but morally, socially and even structurally this school fails. They force schedules on students (electives? what electives?), the counselors refuse student opinions on their education and insist on giving them classes simply for the sake of raising their percentage of graduates with advanced diplomas, and don't expect a sit down to discuss your child's future unless they're a delinquent. Speaking of which, the office and security staff or horribly blase' to parents, teachers, and students alike, and use their position as a conduit for rudeness. Did I mention the halls are packed due to the one way staircases they use to shuffle students to class? Parents, how can your child thrive is an environment where 3/4 of the students walk down the halls attesting to how crummy the school is? A good school isn't just a novelty curriculum and four walls, and Environmental so poorly demonstrates.

- submitted by a parent
October 05, 2008
I transfered to HSES the second semester of my junior year. it was a bad idea. this school is not a good choice for transfer students. i've had to make sure that i was getting all the credits i needed and i had to learn a lot of things about the school by myself. Staff at HSES isnt very helpful. there are some good teachers but others never should have gotten a degree. it's incredibly boring with barely any activities and the dicipline is lax. if you're looking for a nice interesting school look elsewhere....i wish i had.

- submitted by a student
no rating October 03, 2008
I love this school. The teachers actually make time for you if you need tutoring and the'yre so many ways to get involved.

- submitted by a student
September 30, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
September 18, 2008
My daughter is a freshman in this high school and it's been only three weeks and I see a great improvement in her grades and attitude about school. She came for a Catholic School and had a bad experience in middle school so I give the teachers and the staff two thumbs up for making their students feel they can accomplish anything and also in preparing them for college even though they are freshmen. THIS IS A GREAT SCHOOL IN NY! Submitted by Ileana Rivera, a parent

- submitted by a parent
September 05, 2008
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- submitted by a student
August 27, 2007
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- submitted by a student
January 11, 2007
this school isnt good for transfer students. only the AP classes are worth showing up for. They valued attendance alittle too much in this school. Overall this school is okie, there are not enough clubs of interest or sports.

- submitted by a former student
September 11, 2006
Even now, having graduated from Environmental three years ago, few of my college professors come close to the wonderful teachers I had over there. It was more than just a school to me-for me and many of my close friends who I still keep in touch with, we were all a family (I think I spent more time here than I did at home!)I think back on it and for the most part it is all wonderful memories. The extracurricular activities are wonderful (Especially the music programs under Ms. Georgia Defalco!), and I still keep in contact with most of my old teachers! Minus the overcrowding, budget cuts, and other small things, this is a school worth sending your children to!-Class of 2003

- submitted by a former student
September 19, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
September 08, 2005
Beautiful surroundings. Good teachers.

- submitted by a parent
June 07, 2005
This High school offers its students more opportunities than most public high schools. The teachers and the parents form a force to be reckoned with. I absolutely count this high school as one of the top public schools in New York City.

- submitted by a parent
March 01, 2005
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- submitted by a former student
October 10, 2004
Wonderful and caring teachers and adminstrators in an over-crowded and underfunded environment. Quality academics mix with diverse student population to create a great larning environment. My son is a sophomore - has friends of all sizes, shapes and colors, and he feels safe in school. The budget cuts have been devastating, and this is a school with dedicated staff and parents with limited financial resources. The principal, Ms. Matthews, has worked miracles with what she was given this year, and maintained many programs that we were sure would be cut. This is a wonderful place to send your child, but be aware- your efforts as a volunteer will be sorely needed here!

- submitted by a parent
September 13, 2004
It is a lie about the whole class size situation due to the fact that there are about 30 students in each classs (except for Special Education). You should change this information because it is completely incorrect. Instead of selling lies, tell the truth about all the budget cuts and all the programs that had to be canceled in the school due to this problem. Tell the truth.

- submitted by a student
February 23, 2004
My son is a junior at this 'great' school! And his grades reflect this, the teachers are truely dedicated. Security is 100% and thank God a Public High School with no metal detectors. Wonderful administration who has the leadership of Ms. Matthews as principal. My son is happy here and so am I. Will consider this school for my next child.

- submitted by a parent
January 29, 2004
I'm a senior at the H.S for Environmental Studies. I really like going to this school it's a safe environment very diverse and the teachers are great, very dedicated to their work. I think it's a great school!

- submitted by a student
August 26, 2003
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- submitted by a teacher
August 26, 2003
I'm a student at High School for Environmental Studies. I'm going into my senior year. I found this school to be an good environment even though there have been to many kids in the school cause our school is small.I had a lot of teachers who have been great and are enthused to teach and who really care about their students. The principal is trying to keep our good reputation even though some the rules that were installed for a time period were kinda stupid. But over all I enjoyed my stay. And I must say we do segregate ourselves (example preps stay with preps. punks stay with punks, etc.) a bit but not as much as other schools do. We have lots of diversity and its great.

- submitted by a community member
August 19, 2003
I graduated recently from H.S.E.S., this is one of the best schools in the city and its public too. theres a wide variety of students and the teachers are great, the atmosphere is very academic and friendly. I bet you that you wont find another school like this one in the city. graduating senior of 2003 - J. R.

- submitted by a former student
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High School for Environmental Studies
448 W 56th St, New York, NY  10019
(212) 262-8113
Last modified High School for Environmental Studies is a Public school. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 4 out of 10 based on academic quality.
High School for Environmental Studies Rating: 3 out of 5 based on 61 reviews. Top