Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering
Principal: Miriam Nightengale
425 West 123rd Street
Award: Outstanding School, Special Citation for STEM Education
Describe your school’s core educational philosophy.
What sets us apart is that we try to find a balance between “left-brain” and “right-brain” in our curriculum, ensuring that students take courses in the humanities and in the STEM field with equal focus, rigor and engagement. Common in our school are pedagogical practices that deliberately move between more teacher-directed lessons that are prevalent in the freshman-level university courses and more student-led exploration, to build independence, engagement and persistence.
Tell us about a few of the school’s achievements or distinguishing programs.
CSS is the only public school in New York City to require seven years of both engineering and philosophy. The engineering curriculum teaches teamwork, conceptual development, and problem solving. The philosophy program helps develop critical thinking, argument, moral reasoning, and decision-making skills. In 2016 our students published their third annual philosophy journal, “CONTRARIWISE,” featuring students’ original work. The publisher was so taken by it that he requested permission to display it at a book fair in Seattle, WA, and the journal is now available for purchase on Amazon.
This year, we maintained our standing on the Top 50 high school list, staying among the top 15 schools. Our science teacher, Diana Lennon, was received a Sloan Award for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics. Our physical education teacher, Camie Kornely, represented the USA in the 2016 Masters Track World Cycling Competition and won a bronze medal. During the summer, a team of students developed a prototype for a device that nurses can use to determine whether or not they have correctly inserted a needle into a vein. Their prototype was selected by a team of scientists for further development and, perhaps, production for use in the field.
What do you love about your school?
I love coming to work every day. I think that the diversity of our community, the creativity and talent of our staff, the support our parents and our partnership with Columbia University, are unique ingredients that give our school a special quality, mixing a family feeling and strong emotional ties with a commitment to each other and to the success of the students that involves every member of the community in being a part of our success.