|Edward R. Murrow High School
1600 Avenue L
Brooklyn, NY 11230
Admissions policy: Educational option, audition
Grade levels: 9-12
Graduation rate: 86%
Class size: 34
Ethnicity: 49% W, 23% B, 13% H, 16% A
Average SATs: Verbal, 488; math, 515
Free lunch: 19%
|Edward R. Murrow High School was
founded in 1974 with a progressive vision that students learn best when
given the freedom to decide how to spend their time. Many of the petty irritations
of high-school life are missing here. There are no bells, no hall sweeps
by deans to get stragglers into class, no rules about wearing hats indoors.
For kids with self-discipline, the school offers opportunities to learn
to write well, to do independent research, to perform in a musical production,
or to become active in student government.
And despite its unwieldy size, it's a safe school. Founding principal
Saul Bruckner discovered that corridors in which kids sit and chat --
a Murrow trademark -- are safer than empty halls. Another Bruckner directive
still carried out is that kids change courses and teachers four times
a year; his rationale was that the greatest number of kids and teachers
should get to know one another.
The school is racially, socially, and ethnically diverse and has kids
at every skill level -- from super-high achievers to the severely disabled.
It's best known for its theater, art, and music departments, but the regular
academic courses are as strong as any in the city. Students may take a
wide array of Advanced Placement courses and compete in the Intel Science
Talent Search. Seven foreign languages are taught. (Nearly 450 kids study
Russian, and about one quarter of the student body speaks Russian at home.)
The chess team is state champion and second in the nation.
How hard is it to get in? Open to any student living in Brooklyn;
students living in a specified zone around the school have priority. Applicants
must list Murrow as their first choice to be considered. Students in the
music and art programs are admitted by audition. Students in other programs
are accepted according to the educational-option formula (an advantage
for low-scoring students.)
Downsides: Some kids can't handle the freedom and begin to skip
class or slack off. Murrow has physical education but no team sports.
The school has nearly twice as many girls as boys, perhaps because of
its lack of organized athletics.
Guidance and college counseling: Each student meets a guidance
counselor four times a year. Although the college office is unable to
give the personal attention a student might receive at a smaller school,
the mother of a Murrow girl who was admitted to Smith raved, "The guidance
counselors are amazing people. They have a well-organized system, and
they are very level-headed about what colleges to go for."
from the Board of Education
School Report from Board of Education (pdf format)
Murrow has the top chess team in New York State.
New York Times, June 2001: Since it opened 27 years ago
under a cloud of neighborhood opposition, Murrow, an educational-option
school, has been one of the jewels the Board of Education has been able
to point to, even when many other high schools were models of disorder
and academic stagnation. ...Many of the school's 3,600 students come in
voluntarily before and after scheduled hours for elective classes and