This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Columbia Secondary School3
Posted December 01, 2014
- a parent
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.