Bronx High School of Science

From Academic Kids

Bronx High School of Science
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Established 1938
School type Public
Principal Valerie J. Reidy
Location 75 West 205th Street
Bronx, NY 10468
Phone (718) 817-7700
Enrollment approx. 2,800
Colors Green and Gold

The Bronx High School of Science, commonly called Bronx Science, is a public high school in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx, New York City. Founded in 1938 with a traditional focus on mathematics and science, Bronx Science is one of a triumvirate of elite public schools in New York City, and is often hailed as one of the best high schools in America.

Together with Stuyvesant High School (in Manhattan) and Brooklyn Technical High School, Bronx Science is one of three original Specialized Science High Schools of New York City. Admission to the three schools is by competitive examination only, and only residents of the five boroughs of the City of New York are eligible to attend.

It is a member of the NCSSSMST. Almost 100% of Bronx Science graduates go on to 4 year colleges. Many go on to Ivy League schools and other prestigious schools of the nation. The school is frequently ranked amongst the best in the nation, and even the world.



The Bronx High School of Science was founded in 1938 by resolution of the Board of Education of the City of New York with Dr. Morris Meister as the first principal of the school. The faculty and the student body were given the use of an antiquated Gothic-gargoyled edifice located at Creston Avenue and 184th Street. The building, built in 1918 for Evander Childs High School, was successively occupied by Walton High School (1930) and by an annex of DeWitt Clinton High School (1935).

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Old Bronx Science Building (1938-1958)

Bronx Science started with about 150 ninth year students and 250 tenth year students, the remaining facilities of the building being used by DeWitt Clinton. As Bronx Science became larger, the Clinton contingent was gradually returned to its main building. During their joint occupation, which lasted for 2 years, until 1940, the two schools had separate teaching staff and classes, but the same supervision and administration.

In the year 1946, as a result of the efforts of Dr. Meister, the faculty, and our Parents Association, the school became co-ed. From the very beginning a campaign for a new building was initiated by the Parents Association, and sparked by the tireless dedication of Dr. Meister. In February 1958, Dr. Morris Meister, after 20 years as the principal of the school, resigned to become the first president of the newly organized Bronx Community College. Dr. Alexander Taffel succeeded Dr. Meister as principal.

Under Dr. Taffel's guidance, the plans for a new building and for its equipment were completed. Finally, on March 3, 1959, the students and faculty occupied the new building for the first time. They entered a school equipped with the most modern facilities and laboratories for carrying out its program. The problem of moving the library books from the old building to the new was solved in typical Bronx Science manner. On Friday afternoon each student took home five library books from the old library, and on Monday returned them to the new library.

When the Bronx High School of Science celebrated its silver anniversary in June of 1963, the late President Kennedy hailed it as "a significant and pathfinding example of a special program devoted to the development of the student gifted in science and mathematics." The President had occasion to know the quality of the school's product since he had recently selected one of its graduates, thirty-five-year-old Dr. Harold Brown, of the class of 1943, for the position of director of Defense Research and Engineering.

When Dr. Taffel retired in 1979 former chairman of the Biological Science Department, Milton Kopelman, became Principal. Upon his retirement in 1990, Biology Assistant Principal Vincent Galasso became Principal, and upon his retirement in 1994 Physical Science Department Assistant Principal Stanley Blumenstein became Principal. Upon Mr. Blumenstein's retirement in 2000, Mr. William Stark, Assistant Principal of the Social Studies Department was appointed Acting Principal, upon his failure to be selected as Principal, he reited. When Mr. Stark left in 2001, Mr. Galasso took over the reins for one term until Ms. Valerie J. Reidy, Assistant Principal of the Biology department was appointed as the first woman principal of The Bronx High School of Science in September 2001.


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The Bronx High School of Science has a student body of about 2,800 students. Admission to Bronx Science is based exclusively on an entrance examination, known as the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), open to all eighth and ninth grade New York City students. Each year, thousands of students from the five boroughs of New York City take a comprehensive examination containing both math and verbal questions. Out of the 22,000 students taking the entrance examination only about 800 are admitted. The exam is constantly being updated for greater testing accuracy, and the cut-off score required for admission to each of the three specialized high schools varies from year to year depending upon seat availability.

The size of the student body ranges from about 2600 to 2800 and comprise one of the most diversified student bodies in the world. Almost every ethnic group represented in New York City can be found at Bronx Science. The ratio of boys to girls at Science ranges from 51:49 to 49:51 averaging 50:50.

Current controversy

It should be noted that Ms. Reidy's use of the title of Doctor has become one point of contention between faculty members and herself. On May 12, 2005 faculty member Dr. Robert Drake (who is known for his contempt for the administration) distributed a letter throughout the school citing grievances against her. Among their complaints were her use of the title of Doctor despite the doctorate being only honorary. The letters, which referred to Reidy as a "quack", caused a stir among the faculty and student body. Numerous copies of the essay were distributed, although many of them were eventually confiscated by the school's deans.

Other grievances cited include Reidy claiming "to be an expert on science education...", "...systematically [subverting] the School Based Option (SBO) teacher hiring process by secondguessing the SBO hiring committees-made up of parents, union leaders and teachers", and "...making the xenophobic comment that many of our Asian students 'speak Asian.' "

More information:

Notable alumni

Bronx Science counts six Nobel Prize winners among its graduates, more than any other secondary school in the world and also more than most countries in the world:

Bronx Science also has five Pulitzer Prize-winning graduates:

Other noted students include singer Bobby Darin, Hayden Planetarium's Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Freedom Tower architect Daniel Libeskind, authors Samuel Delany and E. L. Doctorow, CBS-2 reporter Pablo Guzman, actors Jon Favreau and Jon Cryer, Black Power activist Stokely Carmichael, Olympic water polo player Wolf Wigo, computer scientists Gregory Chaitin, Marvin Minsky and Leslie Lamport, Poet Judith Baumel, and former New York City Schools' Chancellor Harold O. Levy.

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