High School for Math, Science and Engineering is not as good as I had hoped. The teachers, with the exception of a few good ones, lack compassion. Some act as if it is a bother to actually teach and would rather have the kids learn on their own. The principal doesn't appear to have much control over the teachers' behavior.
I am the parent of a freshman student. The teachers are all so dedicated and the students are the best. The principal, Crystal Bonds, is one of the most dedicated principals I have ever scene. She makes students her number one priority, and makes the atmosphere and environment a wonderful learning experience.
If you can't afford Dalton or Collegiate but you want to go to one of the best high schools in New York City, this is your chance. HSMSE is indeed the jewel in the crown of NYC's specialized high schools.
HSMSE is wonderfully diverse, and not just ethnically. No matter the student's interests or hobbies, they are able to be themselves without the pressure of conforming or the threat of being bullied. The curriculum is difficult at times, but the school offers an introductory freshman academy class to all freshman in order to prepare them with time management skills and study habbits. I LOVE the fact that students get to choose a major for their Junior-Senior years. It gives us the freedom to choose what we are interested in, and then learn about it in much depth. Almost like a gateway to the college experience. The principal calls HSMSE a hidden treasure.
Don't believe the hype. It's a good school and will relly look good on your college aps and I really am overall satisifed that I sent my child there. Only problem is that not all the teachers are as helpful and engaged as some would have you believe. I would say about 10 - 15% of the teachers fall into this category. When viewing this school we were told about how there was tons of communication and that teachers would update the engrade grade reporting system on a daily basis. My experience has been that most emails to teachers go unanswered for days if not weeks (emails to administrative staff is often answered asap so there is that) and I've had some of my child's class grade go un-updated for weeks. It's incredibly frustrating some times. That said the majority fo the teachers do make themselves avialable but be forewarned that you and your child will have to do the majority of the heavy lifting. If you are not prepared to be a highly involved parent or have a child who is not driven to excel in school then I would recommend you look elsewhere. I will say that the most important thing to do as a parent is network with other parents so you can sidestep unresponsive teachers.
HSMSE is a great small school. It's focus is (surprise) math, science and engineering - so, don't go here if you don't enjoy those topics. History is pretty good for a science school; the quality of the English courses is good not great. The kids are smart, friendly and nice. Unlike other specialized HS, there is not a drug or a cheating culture. It's not very cliquish either. The teachers really know my child and are available for extra help when needed. There is great communication with the administration - the door is always open if a parent or student have an issue. I highly recommend this school.