High School for Environmental Studies

444 West 56th Street, New York, NY 10019
(212) 262-8113

(out of 10)

Public Grades 9-12 1318 students 21 students/teacher ( avg is )

Test Scores by grade


Regents Exams (RE)

In 2012-2013 New York used the New York State Regents Examinations to test high school students in English, math, global history and geography, US history and government, living environment, chemistry, Earth science and physics. 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 2013

% scale represents number of student who met or exceeded standards

About this school

High School for Environmental Studies is a public high school. The principal of High School for Environmental Studies is PRINCIPAL - MS. SHIRLEY H. MATTHEWS, whose e-mail is smatthe@schools.nyc.gov. 1,318 students attend High School for Environmental Studies and are mostly Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Asian. 8% of the High School for Environmental Studies students are "limited in English proficiency." 68% of the 1,318 students here are paying reduced lunch prices. The ratio of students to teachers at High School for Environmental Studies is 21:1. Independence High School is one of the nearest high schools.

Extracurricular activities


  • Band
  • Ceramics sculpture
  • Chorus
  • Computer arts
  • Dance
  • Drawing painting
  • Orchestra
  • Photography
  • Theater drama

Languages Taught

  • French
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Spanish


  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Martial arts self defense
  • P.E. classes
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Track
  • Volleyball
  • Yoga

Student Ethnicities

Ethnicity School District
Hispanic 57% %
Asian/Pacific Islander 17% %
Asian 16% %
Black, non-Hispanic 15% %
White, non-Hispanic 11% %
Native American or Native Alaskan 0% %
Multiracial 0% %
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0% %

Student Subgroups

Subgroup School District
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 68% None%
Limited English proficiency 8% None%

Community ratings & reviews

  • (1 year ago)

    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.

  • (1 year ago)

    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.

  • (1 year ago)

    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.

  • (1 year ago)

    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.

  • (1 year ago)

    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.

  • (1 year ago)

    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

  • (1 year ago)

    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.

  • (1 year ago)

    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.

  • (1 year ago)

    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.

  • (1 year ago)

    This is the worst school ever. Teachers are so disrespectful. Principals are rude. And please don't get fooled by the name.

  • (1 year ago)

    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?

  • (1 year ago)

    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 !

  • (1 year ago)

    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.

  • (2 years ago)

    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!!!

  • (2 years ago)

    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!

  • (3 years ago)

    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.

  • (3 years ago)

    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.

  • (3 years ago)

    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.....

  • (3 years ago)

    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.

  • (4 years ago)

    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.

See all reviews on GreatSchools

Overall score

(based on 60 ratings & reviews)

  • Teacher quality
  • Principal leadership
  • Parent involvement


Elementary Schools

Middle Schools

High Schools