Cities Journal

15 Best High Schools In New York

Townsend Harris High School
Photo credit: Seth W. / Flickr

7. Townsend Harris High School

The Townsend Harris High School in Kew Gardens Hills, Flushing, Queens is a magnet public high school that is nationally ranked among the top 50 schools of the country—40th nationally, and fifth in New York State, according to the U.S. News & World Report list of top U.S. high schools.

Business Insider rates Townsend Harris fifth in the City, with an emphasis in the humanities and in the classics, as well as in math and science. The Townsend Harris High School website states that the School is regularly praised in national and local reports on excelling high schools, and that the school provides a rigorous academic program with the goal of preparing students “to make meaningful contributions” to society.

The over 1,100 high school students are required to complete a two-year classical language course in Latin, classical Greek, or Hebrew in order to graduate, in addition to courses in modern languages such as Spanish, French, Hebrew, or Japanese. U.S. News reports that the student body is 69% female and 31% male, with a student to teacher ratio of 22 to 1, relatively high for New York schools.

English and math proficiency of students are among the highest in the country.

The history of the school extends back to 1904 when it was constructed on what is now a part of Baruch College. The school was closed in 1942 and re-founded in 1984. Less than 300 freshman are accepted to the school each year, with over 5,000 to 6,000 applicants, according to the NY Daily News; the college acceptance rate runs at about 100%.

Inside Schools states that all classes are honors level, and that all students take AP courses in World History and U.S. History. While the school carries a reputation as a pressure cooker with a large volume of homework, students describe the homework load as manageable, and the school’s atmosphere, while serious, is not overly confining.

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