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The Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences
2001 Oriental Boulevard
Brooklyn, NY 11235
Admissions policy:
Educational option
Grade level: 9-12
Graduation rate: 93%
Enrollment: 802
Class size: 34
Ethnicity: 71% W, 13% B, 7% H, 9% A
Average SATs: Verbal, 498; math, 527
Free lunch: 18%
Between classes, students wander a leafy campus overlooking the water. There are no bells, no squawking announcements from the public-address system. It may sound like a suburban California school, but it's the Leon Goldstein High School for the Sciences, located in the far reaches of Brooklyn on the campus of Kingsborough Community College.

Leon Goldstein bills itself as a "science school," where students take four years of math and four years of science. But, says PTA co-chair Donna Lechillgrien, "I think its strength is in the humanities, believe it or not." The school puts on two plays a year and is one of the last schools in the city to continue the tradition of the December "Sing" music-and-dance performance, in which virtually every student in the school participates. Seniors are paired with freshmen, sophomores with juniors.

AP courses are offered in both AB and BC calculus, biology, chemistry, physics, Western civilization, U.S. history, English literature, and, on occasion, Spanish. The typical class size is 34, but in many classes, especially AP courses, there are as few as 14 students. Students are dismissed from regular classes at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays for an hour of club meetings, including dance, drama, and science. Team sports include soccer, basketball, swimming, golf, bowling, and tennis.

Leon Goldstein has an association with Lincoln Center and boasts an accomplished jazz band with a teacher who's a musician and composer. The school also collaborates with Brooklyn Botanic Garden; students worked with urban planners to design outdoor space behind the building. A science class tested soil and suggested plants that would grow well. An art class drew up landscaping plans.

The arts are integrated into English, social-studies, and language classes. For example, kids in an English class reading Lord of the Flies worked with visiting artists to build small canoes out of balsa wood and chicken wire to be floated in Sheepshead Bay. (Happily, that was all they re-created from the book's plot.)

How hard is it to get in? Perhaps because of its remote location, Leon Goldstein remains a well-kept secret. But the school is open to all New York City residents. Students are chosen by a formula designed to ensure a mix of high and low achievers. Most students come from nearby Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods, including the Rockaways.

Downsides: Leon Goldstein students actually did less well on the math and science Regents than on the writing, English, and social-studies tests. Also, reaching Manhattan Beach by public transportation is difficult. Some Queens students hire a private bus.

Web Extras

Description from the Board of Education

1999-2000 School Report from Board of Education (pdf format)

  • Baruch College Campus High School
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  • The Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences
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    From the October 22, 2001 issue of New York Magazine.
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