New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math (NEST+m)

Grades: K-12
Staff Pick

Our Insights

What’s Special

Fast-paced instruction for advanced students

The Downside

Friction between principal and staff

2020 UPDATE: In July 2020, Meaghan Lynch was appointed the school's interim-acting principal.

2018 REVIEW: One of five citywide gifted programs, and the only one to serve children in grades K-12, New Explorations into Science, Technology & Math (NEST+m) has a demanding curriculum, hyper-involved parents, and children who love to come to school.

New students are admitted in kindergarten, 6th grade, and 9th grade, with a handful admitted in other grades. Although some students stay for the entire 13 years, many leave to attend the large specialized high schools and other competitive schools so there are a significant number of seats for new 9th graders. While most of the children in the early grades are white and Asian, more black and Latino children enter in high school.

The elementary grades mix progressive and traditional techniques. Kindergarten classrooms emphasize academic skills, rather than dramatic play: they don’t have dress-up corners or play kitchens that more progressive schools have, for example. A super-active PTA pays for assistant teachers in the lower grades.

NEST+m uses Singapore math in grades K-5, a fast-paced, thoughtful curriculum that combines quick recall of arithmetic facts with a deep understanding of math concepts. About 50 children in grades 2-8 take part in a math team that meets at 7 a.m. several times a week; these children take part in competitions with other schools.

In social studies lessons are woven around interdisciplinary themes such as Central Park (how to read maps or build bridges, or what kind of wildlife lives there). The school takes part in the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, in which children write multiple drafts of essays before “publishing” a final copy.

Mark Berkowitz, who became principal in July 2015, has implemented significant changes, particularly in the middle and high school grades. He replaced desks in rows with small tables to encourage class discussions and group work, rather than lectures by teachers. He broadened reading lists to include more black and Latino authors. He worked with staff to foster “culturally responsive” education, that is, teaching techniques that better reflect the experiences of non-white children.

In the fall of 2018, William Kamkwamba, an African author and inventor, visited the school to talk about his book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, the story of his experiences creating a windmill to bring electricity to his village in Malawi. Berkowitz said this book and visit are examples of the kind of education he wants to foster; work that draws on different disciplines, such as literature and science, and that exposes children to different cultures.

Perhaps the biggest shift in the school’s philosophy is its approach to students with disabilities. In the middle and high schools grades, Berkowitz added team-teaching classes, with two teachers, one of whom is certified in special education, that mix students with disabilities and general education students.

While students from both groups must be high-achieving to be admitted, the standards are slightly more flexible for those with disabilities. (The shift has not affected the elementary school, which has more limited special education services. Admission to the elementary school continues to be based on the city’s gifted exam.)

There’s been a mixed reaction to the changes. One mother said it’s “a warmer, happier place.” She said the principal knows every child by name and seems to enjoy talking to students. Another said “kids take their work seriously” but the teachers “manage to make it all fun.” Other parents praise the teachers and the college office.

But some parents and teachers criticize Berkowitz’s management style and say he is unresponsive to their concerns. A significant number of teachers mistrust the principal, according to school surveys. Some maintain that the changes have come at the expense of academic rigor and that the new focus on English and history has come at the expense of math and science.

Berkowitz replies that standards are as high as ever, pointing to the robust Advanced Placement offerings and admissions to highly selective colleges and universities including MIT, Wesleyan, Swarthmore, Yale, Columbia, Brown and Cooper Union. He was formerly assistant principal at NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies, a school that prides itself on serving high-achieving students with disabilities.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: In the elementary school grades, children with disabilities such as dyslexia and ADHD receive SETSS (special education teacher support services). Occupational, physical, and speech therapists assist children, and a psychologist is on hand two days a week. The middle and high school grades have ICT, or team-teaching, classes for students with a range of disabilities.

ADMISSIONS: Kindergartners must score in the 99th percentile on the city’s gifted and talented exam to even be considered. (Siblings of current students may apply if they score in the 97th percentile.)

For kindergarten admissions, parents must submit a request for testing in October; children are tested in January.

Middle and high school students are admitted based on their grades, attendance and state test scores. General education students generally must have a grade point average of 90 or above and score at least level 3 on standardized tests; students with disabilities who require team-teaching classes may have a GPA of 85 and test scores of 2.75.

There are about 30 new seats in 6th grade, when the school adds a class; there are 10-15 new seats in 7th grade, when some students leave for Hunter College High School. There are more than 100 new seats in 9th grade.

Current elementary students are guaranteed admission into middle school; current middle school students are guaranteed admission into high school. Free yellow school bus service is provided for children in grades K-6 living in Manhattan, within a 5.5-mile drive of the school. Parents in other boroughs and other parts of Manhattan may pay for private bus service. (Clara Hemphill, September 2018)

 

 

 

School Stats

Academics

School
Citywide
How many students graduate in 4 years?
 
92%
How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
 
100%
Average daily attendance
 
95%
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
 
9%
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
 
94%
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
 
92%
From the 2019-20 School Quality Guide and 2019-20 NYC School Survey

Students

1791
Number of students
848 Citywide Average

Race/Ethnicity


School
Citywide
Low-income students
 
24%
Students with disabilities
 
13%
Multilingual learners
 
2%
From the 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

Safety & Vibe

School
Citywide
How many students were suspended?
 
0%
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
 
51%
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
 
90%
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
 
32%
How many students say that some are bullied at their school because of their gender or sexual orientation?
 
21%
From the 2019-20 NYC School Survey and 2019-20 NY State Report Card

Faculty & Staff

School
Citywide
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
 
65%
258
Number of students for each guidance counselor or social worker
313 Citywide Average
How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
 
80%
Are teachers effective?
From the 2019-20 NYC School Survey, 2019-20 School Quality Guide, 2019-20 Report on School-Based Staff Demographics, 2019-20 NY State Report Card, 2021 Guidance Counselor Report and this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Advanced Courses

Which students have access to advanced courses at this school? Learn more

Calculus

 
23%

Computer Science

Not offered in 2019-20

Physics

 
50%

Advanced Foreign Language

 
23%

AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science

 
90%

AP/IB Math or Science

 
53%

Music

 
37%
From unpublished, anonymized data from the class of 2019-20 provided by the New York State Education Department, brought to you by

College Readiness

School
Citywide
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
 
91%
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
 
96%
From the 2019-20 School Quality Guide
How many students filled out a FAFSA form by the end of their senior year?
 
81%
From the 2020-21 FAFSA data released by Federal Student Aid, brought you by
How many graduates of this school received Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funding to attend a NYS college?
 
48%
How many of those TAP recipients made it through college? Learn more
From unpublished, anonymized student-level data for the class of 2011-12 provided by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) in coordination with the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), brought to you by
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

From the 2021 High School Directory

New Explorations into Science Technology and Math

Admissions Method: Screened

Program Description:

At NEST+m, intellectualism, inclusivity, collaboration and exploration within and beyond our school community enable our students to lead lives filled with learning, discovery and purpose. We provide a range of services for students with disabilities including a full-inclusion program. NEST+m students blossom into practitioners: scientists, mathematicians, engineers, artists, writers, historians, musicians, painters, and linguists who approach their studies with passion and purpose.

Offerings

From the 2021 High School Directory

Language Courses

Mandarin, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Calculus BC, AP Computer Science Principles, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP World History: Modern, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, AP English Language and Composition, AP Statistics, AP Calculus AB, AP Physics 1, AP United States History, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Psychology

Boys PSAL teams

Basketball, Fencing, Indoor Track, Soccer

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Fencing, Soccer, Softball, Table Tennis, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on NYCDOE’s MySchools

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location

Location

111 Columbia Street
Manhattan NY 10002

Trains: F Line, J Line, M Line, Z Line to Delancey St-Essex St

Buses: B39, M14A, M14D, M21, M22, M8, M9


Contact

Principal: Meaghan Lynch

Parent Coordinator: Lisa Seale Cruz

Website

Other Details

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? No

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