Choices for High School Education in New York City

high school education

Choices for High School Education

High school will surely look different this year with blended learning, but we’re confident NYC schools will find a way to make high school as valuable as it was in the past. Your not-so-little little ones are on their way to becoming adults, which means that those last four years in high school are so important! You want your kiddos to be prepared with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in college and beyond. Yet NYC has a lot of options for high school, so it can be overwhelming to decide which type of school is right for your teen. That’s why we’ve rounded up NYC high schools, including public, private, charter, and more. If you’re looking for a high school that best suits the needs of your family, check out our guide!

Public Schools

Getting a diploma, attending college, and pursuing a career are top priorities for NYC public high schools! We love NYC public schools, as they really care about prepping our kids for the future with extracurricular activities, internships, and volunteer experiences. Your kids will have lots more flexibility in their schedule so that they can figure out what they really enjoy learning. We also support NYC public school’s commitment to diversity & inclusion, which they not only actively reflect in the classroom, but use in their teaching to assure that students can embrace their identities. There are plenty of resources for multilingual and special education learners, so no child is left behind in NYC public high schools! As your teen takes on more responsibility in high school, they’ll also learn how to better manage their time, balance their interests and graduation requirements, plan for college and career, and more.

Private Schools

At NYC private schools, your high schooler will have an abundance of opportunities, activities and clubs, meaningful projects, and more to choose to get involved in. With expansive indoor and outdoor facilities, technology resources, student publications, athletic teams, and summer opportunities, your teen will have what they need to succeed. With NYC private high schools, we love the emphasis on individuality and responsibility. Your kids are treated like adults, in that teachers trust and respect them, they’ll have plenty of ways to pursue their independent interests, and they’ll get to exercise leadership through various outlets, in and out of the classroom. Because of smaller class sizes, kids get to really get to know the people in their classes and form meaningful connections with their teachers, all while getting the help and support they need.

Boarding Schools

If you really want your high schooler to have a more independent experience, consider NYC boarding schools! At boarding high schools, students may come from all over the world, so your kids will be immersed into a diverse environment where they’ll learn and grow. Your high schooler will also have access to incredible facilities complete with libraries, studios, tech and science labs, and more. They’ll get to take on University coursework and leadership opportunities that will prepare them for college, in addition to having beyond excellent resources for college counseling. Our favorite thing about NYC boarding schools for high schoolers is that they’ll get to experience dorm life before college, where they’ll get to form meaningful connections with their peers that go beyond classroom interactions. There’s a few boarding schools in NYC, but you can even expand your search to boarding schools in New York state, NJ, or even further to have more options!

Charter Schools

With now 260 charter schools in NYC, we’ve grown to know and appreciate these free public schools open to all NYC kids, but independent of the Department of Education (DEO). So what’s the benefit of a charter school? These schools have more freedom and accountability (if charter schools don’t meet certain goals, then they can be closed), so they can try out new approaches to learning and easily adapt to the needs of their students and the broader school community. Many charter schools have longer days and years because they are not confined to a certain school calendar set by the DEO, and your family can choose the charter school that best suits your needs. Charter schools also support kids with special needs and students who are learning English. With clear performance goals, charter schools are incredibly motivated to set your kids up for success as they head into college and careers through honing in on written and verbal communication skills, improving time management and study habits, encouraging extracurricular activities, and preparing students for excellent academic performance.

Catholic Schools

At an NYC Catholic high school, your teen will learn to better understand themselves and their relationship to God and others. All high school programs are rooted in Catholic religious beliefs and values, fostering a safe and nurturing environment. NYC Catholic schools are known for their stellar record with high graduation rates, college acceptances, and successful careers. There are many different schools to choose from, including co-ed and single sex. The three main types of Catholic high schools are independent, parish, and private, each with a unique atmosphere. If your eighth grader is considering applying to a Catholic high school, be sure to look into the required Test for Admission into Catholic High Schools (TACHS) exam.   

Jewish Schools

Combining education with traditional Jewish values, Jewish high schools in NYC offer a stellar experience for your kids as they transition into young adults. In high school, your child will continue to study Torah and develop their relationship to God, practice meaningful observance, recognize their shared history with Jewish people, deepen their knowledge and respect for the State of Israel, learn Hebrew language and literature, and actively engage through self-reflection and social and political activism. We really love the emphasis on learning experiences that happen both inside and outside of the classroom at NYC Jewish schools through clubs and extracurriculars, religious observances, and trips in and beyond NYC. There are many Jewish high schools to choose from in NYC, both co-ed and single-sex, so find out which one is best for your family.


High Schools Listings

Online School

Calvert Academy Online School 


Calvert Academy is an accredited, online private school for students from kindergarten through 12th grade. This complete, diploma-granting program combines the flexibility of at-home learning with a rigorous academic curriculum. All Calvert Academy students receive an individualized learning plan and a personalized academic support team of teachers, advisors, and counselors to ensure they have a strong foundation for achievement. In addition, Calvert offers significant savings over traditional private schooling with a full set of courses starting at just $229/month with no registration fees. To learn more, talk with a friendly education specialist or visit their website.


BASIS Independent Manhattan Upper (Grades 6–12)

556 W. 22nd Street, New York, NY 

347- 305-4960

BASIS Independent Manhattan, a PreK–12 private school, is opening a second location in Chelsea in fall 2021!  The beautiful new Upper School campus will be home to the school’s advanced Middle & High School program (grades 6–12), while their flagship Upper West Side campus will continue to serve PreK–5 students. From the spacious outdoor terrace to the bright, thoughtfully-designed classrooms, the BASIS Independent Manhattan Upper campus is the ideal setting for student learning and growth.

Dwight School

Preschool & Kindergarten: 144 Riverside Boulevard (66th Street) 

Grades 1-12: 18 West 89th Street

Preschool & K: 212-362-2350

Main Campus: 212-724-3630

Founded in 1872, Dwight School is an internationally renowned independent school (nursery to grade 12), committed to educating the next generation of innovative global leaders — one student at a time. Providing a personalized experience for each student through the academically rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, Dwight is dedicated to “igniting the spark of genius” in every child. Dwight School has been recognized by the IB organization as a world leader in international education.

The IDEAL School of Manhattan

314 W 91st St, New York, NY 

212- 769-1699

Was your remote learning experience less than IDEAL? An IDEAL option does exist! At The IDEAL School of Manhattan, New York’s only K-12 independent inclusion school, their 2020-21 students have the opportunity to attend in-person at their Upper West Side Campus or online via our exceptional distance learning program. If you are not satisfied with your child’s current school option, they encourage you to consider IDEAL’s unique mission and learning model. Please see their website to view their 2020-21 Reopening Plan or contact to learn about financial aid or to take a virtual tour.

Lyceum Kennedy French American School 

225 E. 43rd Street., New York, N.Y.


Lyceum Kennedy’s mission is to provide its students with a unique bilingual education based on the principles of self-expression and differentiated pedagogy (Nursery through 12th Grades). The school’s solid foundation allows students to grow into full participants in the world around them and keep a passion for knowledge throughout their lives. Lyceum Kennedy’s teacher/student ratio allows the school to understand and work with each student as an individual in order to ensure academic success and instill a love of learning. Students have the option to follow the French Ministry of Education, New York State Board of Regents and/or the International Baccalaureate program.   

York Preparatory School 

40 West 68th Street

New York, NY 10023


York Prep, a top New York City private school for students in grades 6 – 12, works with students to foster a sense of community with an approach to education that is unique and inclusive. We are a community of excited learners and compassionate educators thriving amongst intellectual, economic, and ethnic diversity. Our Jump Start Program, College Guidance Department, and Scholars Program are unmatched, and no two students come in or leave exactly the same. The fact that every student from York goes to college, and that so many get into their top choice schools are results of our approach to individualized education.


BASIS Independent Manhattan (PreK–Grade 5)

795 Columbus Ave., New York, NY 

347- 305-4960

BASIS Independent Manhattan Upper (Grades 6–12)

556 W. 22nd Street, New York, NY 

347- 305-4960

BASIS Independent Manhattan, a PreK–12 private school, is opening a second location in Chelsea in fall 2021!  The beautiful new Upper School campus will be home to the school’s advanced Middle & High School program (grades 6–12), while their flagship Upper West Side campus will continue to serve PreK–5 students. From the spacious outdoor terrace to the bright, thoughtfully-designed classrooms, the BASIS Independent Manhattan Upper campus is the ideal setting for student learning and growth.

Ember Charter School for Mindful Education, Innovation and Transformation

Elementary, Middle & High School

616 Quincy St., Brooklyn 

500 Macon St., Brooklyn 

(718) 285-3787

Ember offers a K-12 learning experience with an innovative culturally responsive and trauma-informed educational and human development program focused on empowering young people to become social entrepreneurs, engineers and global leaders. With our expansive progressive, holistic and global program, we’ve integrated a unique teacher-lead approach into our school to inspire and drive positive economic, socio-emotional and cultural outcomes within the communities we serve. 

Williamsburg Charter High School 

198 Varet St., Brooklyn, NY


The Williamsburg Charter High School unites youth, families, staff, teachers and the community at large in providing young people with the tools necessary to make sense of the world, preparing them in their journey to become citizens of the local and global community. Young people accomplish this through participation in a liberal arts education that includes language, literature, writing, science, history, mathematics, the visual and performing arts, technology and explorations in disciplines designed to teach justice, independent thinking, respect and compassion for themselves and others as well as the skills of critical thinking, communication and research.


The Kew Forest School

119-17 Union Turnpike

Forest Hills, NY 11375


Established in 1918 and having celebrated its centennial this past year, The Kew-Forest School is the oldest independent co-ed, college preparatory school in Queens. With 70+ nationalities represented on campus and 30+ languages spoken at home, the School provided a safe nurturing, and intellectually vigorous environment for students in Preschool through Grade 12.  For more information, please contact:  Brad Walters, Director of Admission,


Cardinal Spellman High School

One Cardinal Spellman Pl., Bronx

718-881-8000 x 206 

Cardinal Spellman prides itself on small school friendliness with big school opportunities. Each student is prepared for personal success in college and life through the various programs of studies and activities that Spellman offers. Why choose Cardinal Spellman? They have a 100% graduation rate with many graduates being awarded college scholarships! Being a large co-ed school, students are offered a step forward toward a more college-like environment. In addition to their strong academic foundation, they also give the opportunity to develop strong social skills while still receiving support in a nurturing atmosphere. Visit their website and take their virtual tour to learn more. “Where boys and girls with dreams, become men and women of vision.”

Saint Barnabas High School 

425 E. 240th Street, Bronx NY


Saint Barnabas High School (SBHS) is an all-girls college preparatory school located in the northeast Bronx. It offers academics for every learner from AP/Honors, College Credits, Regents, and Support Services.SBHS develops confident, capable, respectful young women from diverse backgrounds. As a result, the Class of 2020 received $11.9 million in scholarships. During the pandemic, SBHS provided continuous bell-to-bell online learning in all subjects, plus student/teacher consultation time each day. In preparation for the fall semester, Saint Barnabas is ready for and will adhere to all NYS guidelines. Enrollment is happening now. Visit the website or call their admission office at extension #20.

St. Catharine Academy 

2250 Williamsbridge Rd, Bronx


St. Catharine Academy has been preparing young women in the Mercy tradition for college success, leadership, and engagement in the world community since 1889. We offer a rigorous academic curriculum, including Advancement Placement Courses, Regents Courses, and Academic Honors. We offer a 1:1 iPad Program included in tuition, which allows our students to access their textbooks and take notes on their iPad provided by SCA. We are proud that our graduates have earned over $111 million in college academic scholarships and grants over the last six years. We welcome young women of all faiths and backgrounds.  

University Prep Public Schools 

UP High School:

600 St. Ann’s Ave., 4th Floor

UP Middle School:

470 Jackson Ave., 3rd Floor


Opening its doors over 10 years ago, University Prep Charter High School (UPCHS) is among the highest performing High Schools in the Bronx. UPCHS is a free, public, 9-12, college-preparatory school serving 440 students in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the South Bronx. They boast an average 99% four-year graduation rate, 100% college acceptance rate, and a 98% parent approval rating. UPCHS is a proud recipient of the 2016 National Blue Ribbon Award and is consistently ranked among the top performing high schools in New York State. University Prep has expanded their locus of impact to grades 5-8 with the opening of University Prep Middle School last fall. At UPCMS they are extending their highly successful model and providing a path for younger students to reach even more impressive heights by 12th grade. 


German International School New York (GISNY)

50 Partridge Road, White Plains, NY 10605


Established in 1980, German International School New York (GISNY), an independent Pre-K through Grade 12 college preparatory program, offers a rigorous bilingual education in English and German with an emphasis on science and math. Their graduates earn the NYS High School Diploma and the German International Abitur, a globally recognized diploma, which facilitates access to universities worldwide. Children entering our Pre-K or Kindergarten programs are not required to speak or understand German.

GISNY is located on 40 acres of beautiful grounds in White Plains, NY.

Maria Regina High School 

500 West Hartsdale Avenue, Hartsdale, New York 


Since its founding in 1957, Maria Regina High School has been a distinguished leader in education for young women, providing a rigorous learning environment and reliable social and moral guidance in a faith-based tradition. Celebrating more than 60 years of excellence, MRHS is committed to the values of Scholarship, Service, and Spirit. We challenge young women intellectually, spiritually, athletically through extracurricular activities. By embracing the diverse personal, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds of its students, MRHS develops young women to make a significant contribution to their community and society.

Montfort Academy 

125 E. Birch St., Mount Vernon


The Montfort Academy is a small, private, co-educational Catholic high school that offers a timeless, foundational, inspirational, and transformational classical education.  A Montfort education transcends time–classical but forward and forms faith and character as well as the mind.  Montfort is a magical setting, a fortress where students and faculty members consider themselves a family and grow together in soul, mind, and body.  As a family, they care deeply about one another and their futures– they seek earthly success, but they also seek Heaven.  Montfort has to be experienced—in person or virtually—to understand just how special and excellent it is. Deliberately small, with a 6:1 student faculty ratio, they have never had less than a 100% college admissions rate.  As the #1 diverse school in Westchester County, Montfort is surprisingly affordable, too.

Thornton-Donovan School

100 Overlook Circle New Rochelle, NY


Thornton-Donovan, Westchester’s little red schoolhouse, begins its 120th school year on Thursday, September 10th. T-D’s class sizes range from as small as five and none larger than ten students. Several classes will be taught outdoors. When T-D opens, all classes will be live or remote as school family have either one as an option. The New York State Board of Education has already approved T-D’s protocols. Last year the senior class was awarded 1.2 million dollars in academic scholarships from schools as far away as Reed in Oregon and as close by as N.Y.U.


Green Meadow Waldorf School 

307 Hungry Hollow Rd. Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977


Wondering what school will look like this Fall? Green Meadow Waldorf School plans to reopen on September 9, 2020. We are also creating hybrid learning plans for any students unable to return to campus, and have distance learning plans ready. A Green Meadow education has always included lots of outdoor time in all grades; we are leveraging that strength to expand our outdoor classroom spaces. Class sizes throughout the school will be kept small for safety and our popular, all-outdoor Forest Preschool is open. Join us for a virtual Information Session or a private in-person tour to learn more. Busing available from Westchester & NYC!  

Oakwood Friends School 

22 Spackenkill Road

Poughkeepsie, NY


On September 14th, Oakwood Friends School launches the Fall semester with in-person programming, academic and extracurricular, with highly-advanced safety protocols to keep students learning and growing – academically and socially! Founded in 1796, guided by Quaker principles, Oakwood educates and strengthens young people for lives of conscience, compassion and accomplishment. On a 60-acre campus with luxurious space to spread out for safety, students experience a challenging curriculum, with social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion central to community. Grades 5-12, boarding & day programs available. Easily reachable from NYC and Westchester via Metro North to Poughkeepsie. Visit website for full details re: VIRTUAL Open Houses and Campus Tour.

Ross School

18 Goodfriend Drive East Hampton, NY 11937

631- 907-5000

Ross School is a co-educational institution serving more than 300 students from grades pre-nursery to 12 and postgraduates, including boarders in grades 7-12 on our beautiful campus in East Hampton, New York.  The school’s mission is to change the way education meets the future; to foster interdisciplinary, integrated thinking and innovative leadership; to engage fully in the global community; and to facilitate lifelong learning.  Ross is the only K–12 private, nonprofit school on the East End and offers both day and boarding options.