Cities Journal

15 Best High Schools In New York

Like a large city within a city, New York City is home to a population of over 1.1 million students in its public school system, the largest population of public school students in the United States, according to the New York City Department of Education.

The ethnic and cultural diversity of New York City is among the world’s most diverse, with social backgrounds that range from among the world’s richest, including children of international diplomats and statesman, to social backgrounds associated with the world’s most-troubled inner cities. Amidst this wide range of cultural, economic and social diversity are New York City’s high schools, which serve more than 311,000 students.

Within each of New York’s five boroughs are some of the highest achieving high schools in the United States, and according to data from U.S. News & World Report, 10% of the nation’s top 100 high schools can be found within the borders of the five boroughs of New York. The following is a synopsis of New York’s top 15 high schools.

1. Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts

Entertainment Weekly’s pick for one of the top 50 Best High School Movies of all time, Fame, 1980, was based on what is now the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in the Upper West Side, Manhattan.

The Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts provides teens with instruction in what many teens love the most, dance, drama, the visual arts, vocal, instrumental music, as well as in technical theater. With 2,688 students, Principal Dr. Lisa Mars describes how the school was formed in 1947 with the merger of the High School of Music & Art and the High School of Performing Arts.

The school continues to provide what Mars describes as “the finest pre-conservatory studio training and rigorous college preparatory coursework.”

Facilities in the High School include a concert hall, art studies facilities, music recording studios, science labs, as well as an art gallery. The present facility described by the School as “new and magnificent”, was inaugurated September 1984, with what it describes as “a state-of-the-art concert hall and theatre.”

LaGuardia High’s student body is composed of 27% male and 73% female students, and is listed among U.S. News Best High Schools in the U.S. Business Insider ranks LaGuardia as one of the best high schools in New York. The school has a close to 100% graduation rate with 93% college enrollment.

Like many of New York’s specialized schools, LaGuardia is highly selective and competitive, as students must achieve upper percentile scores in the SHSAT, New York’s admission test for academically gifted students, states FindtheBest.

LaGuardia Arts states that it was the first public school in the U.S. to provide a free program for artistically talented students, and that the model provided by the School was thereafter initiated in high schools in major cities in the U.S., following the success of LaGuardia Arts.

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