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Public district
New York, NY
Students enrolled: 664

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425 West 123rd Street
New York, NY 10027

School website
(212) 666-1278
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Map of Columbia Secondary School address.
April 18, 2015
This school offers lots of programs in just about everything. The normal curriculum is advanced with special courses like Philosophy and Engineering. Teachers are very knowledgeable. There are many clubs and electives ranging from architecture 101 to 3d printing and modeling to neuroscience to guitar and music composition to theater. Also lots of sports - rugby, basketball, volleyball, and lots of events - musical every year, cultural celebrations...very awesome school. However, no school orchestra, band, chorus, or even music program at all, although there are such opportunities after school and outside of curriculum.

- submitted by a student
December 01, 2014
This school is good for children who thrive in highly competitive, stressful situations. It is not a good match for children who struggle with time management or need a certain amount of freedom to pursue their own interests. Even if your child tests well, think carefully before placing him or her in an environment where he or she will constantly be under pressure and at risk of failing.

- submitted by a parent
August 17, 2014
teachers go above and beyond. After a rocky start - the new principal Miriam and her team have split their focus very effectively enriching the offerings for both middle and upper schools. 100% graduation rate for their first 12th grade and 100% going to college. Off to a great start!!!

- submitted by a parent
April 17, 2014
Columbia Secondary School for Math Science and Engineering has been a very supportive and engaging environment for my child who is new to the school as a sixth grader. We appreciate the diversity of the student body and the individual sincere attention faculty (professors) provide on a daily basis. In addition to high expectations in regular ELA and STEM courses, my child studies Latin and Philosophy and adores the stimulating elective courses provided for no charge. For example, the engineering professor sponsored several winning entries at the annual Future Cities competition. In addition to new valuable academic content, my child has learned valuable life lessons in time management and organization skills directly attributed to class work. The current principal is to be commended for moving the school in positive directions. The school is in dire need of a larger lunch room, additional classroom space and student lockers. The current co-location of three schools in one building is a model that disadvantages all communities involved.

- submitted by a parent
June 16, 2013
Columbia Secondary offers a very dynamic and engaging curriculum.My 6th grader in one year has participated in a half year of moot court with high school students; studied engineering and philosophy; gardened and cooked in a program that emphasizes environmental awareness, progressed sophisticatedly in Spanish and partici[pated in Mandarin club; presented science projects at the Museum of Natural History and designed his own planetarium presentation for the public utilizing sophisticated research techniques and advanced computer skills. Teachers communicate to just let parents know the special achievements of their children and I have been very impressed with social interest projects on Rwandai, the Middle East and sustainability. My child developed organizational skills he never displayed earlier (going from the backpack from hell to organized notebooks, etc-miraculously! He manages his h.w. well. Most of all he likes and respects his peers who are intelligent, fun and diverse. Parent involvement and outreach is great. I recommend this school.

- submitted by a parent
October 13, 2012
This school isn't as overworking as everyone says it is. The so called 2-4 hours of homework every night is honestly only about 1-1.5 hours. It's a great, accelerated program that is hard to find anywhere else. With special classes like engineering and philosophy, this school is absolutely amazing! The teachers and staff are welcoming and open to concerns. It is no where near a sink or swim school- the teachers help if you need it and they are open to stay for after school help. They make you feel like part of a community, which is what CSS is. There are many sports teams and after school clubs as well as a very good variety of electives (for all grades) and high school credit classes for 8th graders. You take 2 regents in 8th grade, however the teachers fully prepare you for these tests and the passing percentages are very high. The high schoolers look out for the middle schoolers, and there has never once been a problem with them. Overall, it is an amazing school that makes you feel welcomed. As I student, I can say that this school is an wonderful experience. And with the school connection with Columbia University, you have many opportunities to take classes there in highschool.

- submitted by a community member
October 07, 2012
75% Hispanic and Black students, close to 100% 3/4 passing rate in middle school tests, over 85% passing regents tests in biology, earth science, math, spanish (for middle school students many of whom take 4 regests tests before they enter 9th grade. AP spanish tests taken by over 2 dozen 10th graders and a 90% passing rate. Only school in the city, perhaops nation wit required philosophy and engineering programs starting in middle schools; a unique June minsemester experiential learning term. A's every year except one, which was a fluke due to the now well known instability of the NYCDOE grading metrics. 3 teachers are recent Blackboard award winners as was the school and the former principal - few new schools have such an exceptional rcord of early achievement. Students are starting to take courses at Columbia University in 11th grade.

- submitted by a community member
June 28, 2012
although the amount of differing opinions on CSS fit into a wide spectrum, that shouldn't stop anyone from looking at this school. CSS has gone through a lot in the past few years, the new principal has made a considerable amount of beneficial changes (such as making the high school feel more like a high school). Although it can be a bit unorganized from time to time, all the needs are met in the end. Furthermore, to say that the quality of teaching and amount of opportunities at this school are lacking is pretty obtuse. First of all, the curriculum is considerably advanced (we do everything that the coveted specialized high schools do and more). Second of all, test scores in all categories are incontrovertible proof that the quality of education is high (i.e. PSAT scores were above average in all sections; extremely high rate of passing regents with mastery; and state test scores are always laudable). Basically, don't focus your research on opinions: for some students and parents, the intensive curriculum and focus on the sciences may not thrill them, but that does not mean that CSS is a bad school. The facts show that our school is amazing.

- submitted by a community member
April 15, 2012
This school isn't as bad as some people say!Yes, if you're deciding whether or not to try and enroll in this school all these different opinions can be confusing. As a new student that entered this school, I hoped that there would be more options in electives and extracurricular activities, but even though empty promises are being made, the diversity is exceptional. All of the best students are put together and teachers are always challenging us and putting us one step further than "average" Americans. If you're not willing to reach your potential, then don't even bother coming here and open new spots for kids want to exceed state expectations.

- submitted by a community member
March 06, 2012
If you are weighing whether to send your child to this school, make sure that you investigate the following questions: 1) why was the school on the 2nd round list of schools this year if the school was so "hot" and so "good"? 2) Find people in the school and ask whether they plan to keep their child at this school (several families have fled this school, even this year having weathered the most difficult period; 3) Note that these good ratings are because the school takes only the top performing children of three districts. They gleen the top performers on tests and then brag about the top performance on the tests; 4) ask whether the teachers are good educators. My experience with the teachers was that they had good ideas, but they ddidn't understand the craft of TEACHING. 5) Can your child survive a sink-or-swim school? or would you rather they attend a school where they aren't always thinking about their survival?

- submitted by a parent
March 05, 2012
N.B. The information on this site is outdated. CSS has been a high school for two years. Love this school -- huge fan of the community of kids, teachers, parents and staff. We have a great new principal who's visionary and responsible. Amaaaaaazing teachers. You'll have your vocal detractors (3-star rating. WHAT?!), but CSS (now on the healing side of a very dark time two years ago) continues to be a rare educational gem.

- submitted by a parent
January 27, 2011
Don't listen to the others this is a great school that over the years of it being open has gotten better and better.Sure We've been through a lot but I recommend you to send your child here if you wish to give them a great growth of personality,open to new things new types of people,and a great push to a good education with great staff and good friends I promise you they'll make on their way to graduation

- submitted by a community member
November 02, 2010
Don't believe the hype. This school's reputation is based on public relations, not reality. All the great teachers have quit. There's a staggering turnover percentage. The school received a 'C' on the last progress report. Reality is catching up to the fantasy: those parents who thing their child is getting a superb education don't know what a great education is. For your child's sake please dig deeper before you send your child to this school.

- submitted by a parent
July 31, 2010
CSS is an amazing school, dispite the opinions of many outsiders. The situations we go through only make us STRONGER, even though MANY people are trying to bring us down. We offer many many classes that not alot of other schools offer all at once. The students also have a say in what type of electives they want to take. There are many opportunities as well, for example, the chance to be in musicals. Its a great school to go to and nobody should be afraid to come visit us. www.columbiasecondary.org

- submitted by a community member
May 13, 2010
Everything about this school is wonderful. The teachers, the classes, the community is great. My child is challenged in this school and has been able to improve his knowledge in almost every possible subject so rapidly. It is truly amazing how this school functions and their curriculum makes it possible for my child to succeed in life and in the future. I would recommend this school to anybody without a doubt this school is the best thing that has happened to me and my child.

- submitted by a parent
April 22, 2010
This review submitted without content.

- submitted by a parent
April 21, 2010
my son is in this school. he has learned so much and he loves it. the teachers are very involved with the students. they do not let any of their students just pass by. its a wonderful experience to be part of that school.

- submitted by a parent
April 19, 2010
I'm afraid that this school was the worst experience for me and my child. The school is so stressed out about making itself the 'best' that it boots the kids very hard. If your kid can 'take it' then it's great. What that means, though, is that even though they tout themselves as 'diverse' and forward looking, that diversity doesn't extend to kids with disabilities. They also care more about great education theories, while not understanding how to teach. If your kid is great about teaching themselves, then this is a fine school to go to--oh, and if he/she can work 10-13 hours a day, including through meals. Since this is a secondary school, that means they work that hard at age 10-11. I felt like the principal was using my child's little underdeveloped shoulders to stand on to promote his 'best' school and his 'best' career.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 19, 2010
This school is not what it professes to be. The children that qualify are the cities top performers. The bar is set high and higher once they enter this program. The childrens self esteem literally dies and many are sleep deprived. The principal is pressed to prove that this school is unique in its learning methods, but has no idea on how to relate to children of all ages, creed or color. While most might feel discrimination could play a part, all children are struggling to keep up. Hours upon hours of homework are given and no outside activites can be achieved because the work load shows no balance. Our child did exceptional during their entire academic career and is now struggling to keep up. In CSS sick methodology, the children some how learn, but the skills they were taught are being stripped and self doubt now exist. I complell you

- submitted by a parent
March 14, 2010
As a parent in Columbia Secondary School i really hate it. Most of the teachers are terrible except for our math, science, and history teachers. DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILD HERE.

- submitted by a parent
December 16, 2009
As a student at CSS (my third year) i have experieced camping, mural making, and cooking classes aside from core classes. The professors are the best the have hands on learning activities. Not many schoolls have engineering courses, and we (being the students) have the privlage to take these courses. This school takes a lot of time for home work doing and a lot of projects/essays but CSS mixes both fun and learning

- submitted by a parent
no rating November 19, 2009
This is my son's second year at CSS, his experience so far has been wonderful! The teachers are very knowledgeable and encourage regular parent and student feedback. I usually receive responses by end of same day -- even on weekends. There is a lot of homework but most students complete within 2 hours, unless taking optional advanced components of certain classes or distracted by other extra curricular or home activities. Overall, the challenging academics are as expected. I had some initial concern that the Philosophy topics were a bit too mature for middle school children, but the students seem to really enjoy the intellectual conversation and have surprisingly strong views. The school website provides information on class requirements, homework, individual student progress, and student portal for 'school related chats'. Compared to the other NYC selective schools my children have attended, CSS offers the most opportunity for academic and personal enrichment.

- submitted by a parent
November 05, 2009
School is overly hyped. CSS is a traditional Catholic school in style with some innovative programs. They are sink or swim. Although a public school, if a child is having problems, the principal pushes the child out of the door. Teachers are great, but do not seem to understand any but one style of learning. High stress environment for children and teachers alike.

- submitted by a parent
no rating June 08, 2009
This school is a really great school and the applicants or students in this school are really lucky to be there because it is a huge opportunity for the future of the students here, I am so happy and grateful to be in this school.

- submitted by a student
December 26, 2008
CSS is a very fun school to be in. We just recently had a Student Government Movie Party and Dress-Down Day. What is cool about this school is that we [the students] get a say at least at one point. Our voices are heard when we have to say something. The policies that are out are followed and we maintain a large amount of order. Wwe are also using the 'green' policy. We try to recycle as much as we can. The only problem is that the school beneath us doesn't. Please help us out by going to coulmbiasecondary.org and donating to our school and profiting for mini-grants that the faculty have put up. Thanks!

- submitted by a student
December 05, 2008
I Believe, that Being one of the Founding Students and one of the First to Graduate in the Year 2014, Is a Very Exciting Opportunity. All of the Academic Courses and Excellent, and the Extra-Curricular Activities are Extremely Enriching, Especially Gym, Electives, and Creative Arts. One Extra Special Thing About Our School? We Have the BEST Mathematics Teacher EVER!

- submitted by a student
December 03, 2008
This review submitted without content.

- submitted by a student
November 18, 2008
This review submitted without content.

- submitted by a student
October 17, 2008
best school I've been to in my entire life. I've never seen such a diverse school.The teachers are all so cool and young so they can relate to all our problems.We also have a lot of different things to do and we take some extra courses that you don't get in a regular school.

- submitted by a student
July 17, 2008
If you want to be part of an education experiment CSS/MSE is for you. What made the year so special was a bridge to school program the last week of August 2007 introducing the new students and faculty to each other in workshops, followed by an intense year long academic program (8-4pm). The Principal, Dr. Maldonado empowers the students -- giving them the opportunity to meet with him at regular assemblies to vent and confide their concerns. Students wear uniforms. CSS/MSE's focus is on the whole student: from being physically fit to understanding one's influence on the environment to fluency in Spanish. At CSS/MSE the sciences, including mathematics and engineering are humanized. How does one live green and ethically in NYC?

- submitted by a parent
no rating June 27, 2008
Columbia Secondary is a very diverse, ecologically friendly, harmonic school where everybody tries their best to achieve their goals. There is a very wide range of learning opportunities. Every body gets along and we try our best to be a very green school. CSS is awesome!

- submitted by a student

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Last modified: April 18, 2015

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Columbia Secondary School
425 West 123rd Street, New York, NY  10027
(212) 666-1278
Last modified Columbia Secondary School is a Public school that serves grades 6-12. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 8 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Columbia Secondary School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 31 reviews. Top