Midwood High School

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Midwood High School
Verus, Bonus, Et Pulcher
Latin: The True, the Good, and the Beautiful
2839 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, New York
United States
Type Public (Selective) secondary
Established 1940
School board New York City Department of Education
School number K405
Principal Michael McDonnell
Faculty 190
Grades 9-13
Number of students 3960
Average class size 3600
Color(s) Navy Blue      white     
Mascot Hornet
Average SAT scores 1710
Newspaper Argus
Yearbook Epilog

  • Graduation rate (2013-2014): 91.26%
  • Ethnicity: 35% Asian; 51% Black; 25% White; 8% Hispanic; 1% Others/unidentified
  • Free lunch: 28%

Midwood High School is a high school located at 2839 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, New York City, administered by the New York City Department of Education. It has an enrollment of 3,938 students.[1] Its H-shaped building, with six Ionic columns and a Georgian cupola, was constructed in 1940 as part of the Works Projects Administration.



Students from the two selective programs often attend top-ranked colleges, many on significant scholarships.[2] Typically, the school sends around 3% of its seniors to Ivy League colleges, and 10% of seniors to colleges such as New York University, Boston College, and Johns Hopkins University. The average SAT scores in Midwood High School (2015) were 530 Verbal, 610 Math, and 570 Writing.

The New York Times reported on June 29, 1986, that:

"Getting into Midwood High School ... is about as easy as getting into an Ivy League college. More than 12,000 eager eighth graders applied this year for 450 fall openings in Midwood's highly touted programs in the medical sciences and humanities."[3]

On May 22, 1988 Midwood High School was awarded the Blue Ribbon Secondary School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education.,[4][5] and was chosen as a "School of Excellence" by U.S. News & World Report.


Part of Midwood's building and the new Bridge

The school has 3,938 students in a building designed to hold 2,800. Renowned for its diversity, Midwood students are made up of about 37% Asians, 30% African-American, 24% Whites (Non-Hispanics), 7% Hispanic and 2% Native Americans and other races.

Classes are held in two overlapping sessions, with students arriving and departing at different times. Band practice starts at 7 a.m. and the first group of students breaks for lunch at 8:50 a.m. Advanced Placement courses are in such high demand that an applicant has to have nearly perfect grades to gain admittance.[6]

A new science annex, built across the streets from the original building, opened in the summer of 2008 which can ease the overcrowd problem. The building houses new science labs that replaced the antiquated labs in the original building. The annex also hosts a new library; the library in the original building is now split into two classrooms. The annex is connected to the southern end of the original building by a glass bridge that connects the second and third floors of the buildings.

CUNY Brooklyn College partnership

"Midwood High School is the affiliated campus high school of Brooklyn College. The campus high school project reflects the college's continuing concern for strengthening public secondary education and building professional working relationships between its faculty and teachers in the city's schools. Its goal is to strengthen the preparation of Midwood High School students for college and expand the constituency from which those students are drawn.

In this partnership, Midwood High School remains under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Education. In matters of curriculum design, school organization and high school–college articulation, the president of Brooklyn College maintains contact with the chancellor of the New York City public schools, the High School Division of the Department of Education and the Midwood High School principal."[7] In addition, Students are able to take classes at Brooklyn College and other Colleges in the City University of New York (CUNY) system, free of charge, through the College Now[8] Program.[9] Through this program, students can obtain both high school and college credits.


Advanced Placement courses

Midwood offers 21 Advanced Placement courses, and 5 years ago the school's AP courses offerings were listed by the College Board as among the best in the nation. A high percentage of the students sign up for the Advanced Placement exams, and score in the Upper Quartile. Due to a high demand by students to take AP courses, students are required to apply for AP classes in the spring and go through a competitive academic review process in order to be accepted into AP classes: [10]

Special programs

Midwood is composed of three "institutes" – Medical Science, Humanities, and Liberal Arts. Liberal Arts, Humanities and Medical Science students are placed into classes specifically for their course. Placement in the Medical Science and Humanities Institutes is highly competitive and dependent upon strong academic performance. Students in either one of these institutes are required to take 6 terms of foreign language at Midwood High School, regardless of any acceleration credit from junior high school.

The Medical Science Institute (Med-Sci) is for students interested in science or the medical field along with mathematical interests. It requires 6 terms of science and 6 terms of math and 6 terms of a foreign language. As of 2011, incoming freshman of the Medical Science Institute must choose from three different tracks: Medical, the Research, or Engineering. The Medical Science Institute also has its own website,[11] which is part of the main school website.

The Humanities Institute is for students interested in English language arts, literature, languages, and social studies. It requires two foreign languages, including 2 terms of Latin and 6 terms of another foreign language. Also, 8 terms of English, and 8 terms of social studies. The Humanities Institute is a challenging program that affords students the opportunity to learn about the world, its different societies and cultures. Students in this program are not required to take as many years of math and science as students in the Medical Science Program.

The Liberal Arts & Science Institute (formally called the Collegiate Program),serves students who reside in the geographical catchment area. Students in the program choose among four main areas of study: Law/Leadership/Community Service, Pre-engineering/Technology, Performing Arts and Communication/Media Arts. Students in this programs with good grades as 95 or up average may request to switch to either the medical science or humanities program.[12]

These are supported through the school's courtroom, robotics lab, chemistry lab, drama classrooms, and television studio.

Law department

Among the variety of courses taught at Midwood, the school has its own Law department, with a mock courtroom, housed on the 4th floor of the main building. Through the law department (under the guidance of the Social Studies department)students have the opportunity to take Criminal and Constitutional law courses, participate in We The People, and participate in Moot Court and Mock Trial competitions, in which the school works with select law firms throughout the city as they compete against other schools. Finally, through the department, students have the chance to take internships with the Kings County District Attorneys Office[13] or other law firms in the city.

Intel Science Talent Search Competition

Midwood has two classes that specialize in introducing students to scientific research, culminating in the creation of projects for the Intel Science Talent Search (formerly the Westinghouse Intel Science Talent Search). In 1999, Midwood had the most semifinalists in the Intel STS and Siemens-Westinghouse Science & Technology Competition of any school in the country. The following year the school tied for first place in STS.

Secondary schools of finalists and semi-finalists (1999-2015)[14]

Schools with the Most Semifinalists and Finalists (1999–2015)
School City State Semi-finalists Finalists
Montgomery Blair High School Silver Spring MD 183 32
Stuyvesant High School New York NY 180 22
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Alexandria VA 148 10
Bronx High School of Science Bronx NY 130 9
Ward Melville High School East Setauket NY 126 12
Paul D. Schreiber High School Port Washington NY 82 6
Byram Hills High School Armonk NY 78 15
Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science Denton TX 76 11
The Harker School San Jose CA 66 9
Jericho High School Jericho NY 64 6
Great Neck North High School Great Neck NY 62 7
North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Durham NC 61 3
Ossining High School Ossining NY 53 2
Midwood High School Brooklyn NY 50 5
Bergen County Academies Hackensack NJ 49 6
Lawrence High School Cedarhurst NY 49 3
Illinois Math and Science Academy Aurora IL 43 9
Great Neck South High School Great Neck NY 41 5
John F. Kennedy High School Bellmore NY 29 3
Lynbrook High School San Jose CA 25 5
Greenwich High School Greenwich CT 22 3

Investment in technology

The school has been working to provide students with the latest technology for students to use. In addition to having Smart Boards in most of the class rooms, and class sets of IPads, the school has recently invested $1300 in a 3D Printer.[15]

Extracurricular activities


Midwood has several PSAL[16] sports teams. They include teams in baseball, bowling, basketball, cricket, football, golf, cheerleading, handball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track, wrestling, and volleyball.

Midwood's handball team won 2 consecutive city championships in 2008 and 2009. Midwood Girls' Handball team won finals in 2009 and city championship in 2010.[17] Midwood's lacrosse team has won several city championships, including 2006, 2007, and 2008. The team had made every championship appearance between 2007 and 2011 with 3 championship wins including an undefeated championship in 2011. After the departure of longtime head coach John Murphy and a senior class of 16 players the team has suffered considerably and has fallen to the "B" division. Many involved with the team credit the failure to the incompetence of current head coach Andrew Shipman, who is an alumnus of the program. Midwood HS Football Team who was coached by the legendary Alan G Arbuse, was also back to back 1979 & 1980 City Champions and 1979 Metro Bowl Champions.

Midwood's girls bowling team had gone into the semi-final in the past three years, and undefeated division championship. The Midwood boys bowling team has also made playoffs 3 times in last 4 years. Midwood's girls swimming team had came into the play off in the past 14 years, and is consider one of the top teams within Brooklyn and New York City. Midwood also started the first Girls Lacrosse team in Brooklyn.

The Midwood Boy's Volleyball Team, considered to be one of the best and the "team to beat" in the PSAL, has gone undefeated in their division for the past 13 years with 4 city championships in 1996, 2001, 2007, and 2009 (the most Volleyball Championships ever by a PSAL team).

The Midwood Boy's Track and Field Team won its first-ever indoor track championship in winter 2008. Under coach Marc Cohen, the track and field team also managed to win its first ever outdoor track title in June 2010, upsetting some of the fastest high schools in the city and solidifying the legacy of Midwood Track and Field. They have also won their first-ever Cross Country title in November 2013

The Midwood Girl's Track and Field Team won their first ever Outdoor title Championship in May 2014.

The team is given the nickname "The Midwood Hornet" or simply "Hornet".


Midwood has nearly 100 clubs, the including Key Club, Culture Club, Asian Society, Akiva Club, Philosophy, Amnesty International, Latin Club, Young Democrats, West Indian Society Club Environmental Club, Gay-Straight Alliance, Anime Club, Black Heritage Alliance (BHA), Young Writer's Club, Women in Power Club, Model Congress, ASPCA Club, Jewish club, Model United Nations, Hellenist Society, Slavic Society, Eastern Orthodox, Snowboard Club, The Midwood Political Action Club (MPAC), and Robotic Club. Lots of talented students complained that the school doesn't have an official Math Team, so a group of students established an unofficial group for students with an interest and talent in math.


SING!, an annual student-run inter-school musical theater competition was conceived at Midwood by Bella Tillis, a music teacher, in 1947.[18] It is still being produced at Midwood. It's also a tradition for many New York City High School seniors, juniors, and "so-fresh" (freshmen and sophomores working together) who compete against each other to put on the best performance at their own school. The 1989 movie Sing, which starred Lorraine Bracco, was based on SING!. SING has been responsible for hours of dedication and hard work, as well as fierce competition, among New York City's high school students.

In the summer of 2004, the film The Squid and the Whale was filmed in Midwood High School's auditorium, using students from the school's Drama Club as extra seat-fillers, in 80s-style costumes. The production also used background scenes on the stage that had been painted for the Drama Club's production of Bye Bye Birdie two months prior. The film production crew also enlisted the help of a former Drama Club and SING! lighting manager to help them light the stage for the scene.


The headline picture of Midwood's newspaper Argus

The Argus, Midwood's official school newspaper, publishes articles written by students. It is published monthly. Editors are chosen by Midwood's journalism teacher in June from among the junior Journalism class. It contains different things such as news, features, op-ed, arts & sports, photography, school info, and web info, all per student request/input, as well as updated news about PSAL sport events and other events occurring in and outside the school. The newspaper also has its own website.[19]

Senior seminar/Independent research studies

Midwood High School offers a new program to most senior students who need to fill up their schedule with 5.5 hours of class under the new department of education law that was taken into effect September 2012. During students free periods, they would be offered a multitude of special programs to do for class credit. Examples include SING, peer tutoring, monitoring for a teacher, and certain clubs that are offered in Midwood High School. Students fill out a time card for the number of hours that they have done in school. Students need to get a certain number of hours to pass the class, and it counts as a class credit.

Notable people

Notable alumni

Notable staff


  1. "Progress Report Overview 2010" (PDf). Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  2. "H.S. 405 Midwood High School". insideschools.org. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  3. Jane Perlez (June 29, 1986). "Education Watch; Philosophical Objections To Elite City High Schools". New York City: The New York Times. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  4. "Brooklyn College STEP". BCSTEP Partnerships. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  5. "A Tribute To Midwood High School At Brooklyn College". Extension of congressional records: Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the 107th Congress Second Session: Vol.144 Par 8t. Capitol Words. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  6. "New York Metro: Best High Schools in New York". Nymag.com. October 22, 2001. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  7. "High School Programs". Brooklyn College. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  8. collegenow.cuny.edu
  9. "High School Programs". Brooklyn College. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  10. "Best High Schools in New York". New York Metro. October 22, 2001. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  11. "midwoodscience.org". 
  12. "Midwood High School, K405, Borough of Brooklyn, Zip Code 11210". Schools.nyc.gov. October 31, 2009. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  13. brooklynda.org
  14. "Results of the Intel Science Talent Search". Society for Science & the Public. 
  15. Midwood Argus (2013-12-20). "3D Printer Brings Midwood Up to Date". ARGUS. Retrieved 2014-01-16. 
  16. "School Profile". 
  17. "Playoff Brackets". Psal.org. May 17, 2010. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  18. George Cifrancis III. "Jessica Steen Sing Article". Jessicasteen.com. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  19. "midwoodargus.org". 
  20. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZ4HJOy12ao
  21. http://fultonhistory.com/Newspaper%205/Brooklyn%20NY%20Daily%20Eagle/Brooklyn%20NY%20Daily%20Eagle%201948%20Grayscale/Brooklyn%20NY%20Daily%20Eagle%201948%20Grayscale%20-%202222.pdf
  22. http://www.thejc.com/arts/music/50978/interview-chris-stein
  23. Deutsch, Claudia (August 29, 2004). "At Lunch with Sheila W. Wellington; In a Marriage of Equals, Why Create Obstacles?". The New York Times. Retrieved April 16, 2014. 

External links

Coordinates: 40°37′58.2″N 73°57′06.9″W / 40.632833°N 73.951917°W / 40.632833; -73.951917