School Details

Columbia Secondary School

425 W 123rd St, New York, NY 10027
(212) 666-1278
8

(out of 10)

Public Grades 6-10 474 students 24 students/teacher (NY avg is 13)

Test Scores by grade

80%
16%
29%
83%
19%
38%

New York State Assessments (NYSA)

In 2011-2012 New York used the New York State Assessments to test students in grades 3 through 8 in English language arts and math, and in grades 4 and 8 in science. The results for English language arts and math are displayed on GreatSchools profiles and the science results will be added when they are released in the Fall of 2013. The tests are standards-based, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of New York. The goal is for 90% of students to meet or exceed grade-level standards on the tests.
  • This school in 2014
  • New York City Geographic District # 5 average
  • New York state average

% scale represents number of student who met or exceeded standards

77%
16%
29%
75%
13%
33%

New York State Assessments (NYSA)

In 2011-2012 New York used the New York State Assessments to test students in grades 3 through 8 in English language arts and math, and in grades 4 and 8 in science. The results for English language arts and math are displayed on GreatSchools profiles and the science results will be added when they are released in the Fall of 2013. The tests are standards-based, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of New York. The goal is for 90% of students to meet or exceed grade-level standards on the tests.
  • This school in 2014
  • New York City Geographic District # 5 average
  • New York state average

% scale represents number of student who met or exceeded standards

81%
17%
36%

New York State Assessments (NYSA)

In 2011-2012 New York used the New York State Assessments to test students in grades 3 through 8 in English language arts and math, and in grades 4 and 8 in science. The results for English language arts and math are displayed on GreatSchools profiles and the science results will be added when they are released in the Fall of 2013. The tests are standards-based, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of New York. The goal is for 90% of students to meet or exceed grade-level standards on the tests.
  • This school in 2014
  • New York City Geographic District # 5 average
  • New York state average

% scale represents number of student who met or exceeded standards

53%
67%
66%
87%
74%
76%
85%
47%
72%
100%
69%
77%
80%
65%
74%
96%
58%
71%
95%
52%
73%
97%
58%
77%
64%
76%
81%
99%
56%
80%

Regents Exams (RE)

In 2011-2012 New York used the New York State Regents Examinations to test high school students in English language arts, math, global history and geography, US history and government, living environment, chemistry, earth science, physics and several foreign languages. The results for English language arts, math, living environment, chemistry, earth science, physics, global history and geography, and US history and government are displayed in GreatSchools profiles. Students must take at least five Regents Exams in order to graduate. Scores of 65 and above are passing; scores of 55 and above earn credit toward a local diploma (with the approval of the local board of education). The goal is for all students to pass the tests.
  • This school in 2014
  • New York City Geographic District # 5 average
  • New York state average

% scale represents number of student who met or exceeded standards

About this school

Columbia Secondary School is a public high school in New York. The principal of Columbia Secondary School is MS. MIRIAM NIGHTENGALE, whose e-mail is mnighte@schools.nyc.gov. 474 students go to Columbia Secondary School and identify primarily as Hispanic; Black, non-Hispanic; and White, non-Hispanic. 1% of the Columbia Secondary School students have "limited English proficiency." 60% of the 474 students here have subsidized lunches. The student to teacher ratio at Columbia Secondary School is 24:1. Urban Assembly for the Performing Arts is one of the nearest high schools.

Extracurricular activities

Arts

  • Ceramics sculpture
  • Computer arts
  • Dance
  • Drawing painting
  • Photography
  • Theater drama
  • Video film production

Languages Taught

  • Latin
  • Russian
  • Spanish

Sports

  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Bicycling
  • Cross country
  • Field hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial arts self defense
  • P.E. classes
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Track
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Volleyball
  • Yoga

Student Ethnicities

Ethnicity School District
Hispanic 49% 37%
Black, non-Hispanic 20% 58%
White, non-Hispanic 19% 2%
Asian/Pacific Islander 12% 2%
Asian 10% %
Native American or Native Alaskan 1% 0.3%
Multiracial 0% %
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0% %

Student Subgroups

Subgroup School District
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 60% 79%
Limited English proficiency 1% 12%

Community ratings & reviews

  • (9 months ago)

    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!!!

  • (1 year ago)

    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.

  • (1 year ago)

    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.

  • (2 years ago)

    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.

  • (2 years ago)

    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.

  • (2 years ago)

    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.

  • (3 years ago)

    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.

  • (3 years ago)

    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?

  • (3 years ago)

    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.

  • (4 years ago)

    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

  • (4 years ago)

    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.

  • (4 years ago)

    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

  • (5 years ago)

    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.

  • (5 years ago)

    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.

  • (5 years ago)

    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.

  • (5 years ago)

    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

  • (5 years ago)

    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.

  • (5 years ago)

    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

  • (5 years ago)

    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.

  • (5 years ago)

    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.

See all reviews on GreatSchools

Overall score

(based on 29 ratings & reviews)

  • Teacher quality
  • Principal leadership
  • Parent involvement

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