Byram Hills High School
|Byram Hills High School|
|12 Tripp Lane
Armonk, New York 10504
|Type||Public, co-educational, 9–12|
|Color(s)||Scarlet and navy|
Byram Hills High School (BHHS) is a four-year co-educational public secondary school located in Armonk, New York, United States. Its principal is Christopher Walsh. It is the only secondary school in the Byram Hills Central School District, and serves students from the towns of North Castle, Bedford, Mount Pleasant, and New Castle. The school currently enrolls over 800 students in grades 9–12. As of 2016, Byram Hills is ranked #30 in the state and #173 nationally by U.S. News & World Report.
Students at Byram Hills are required to pursue a broad-based curriculum, involving all areas of high school learning. They are required to take four years of English, four years of social sciences, four years of mathematics, four years of physical education, three years of physical science, two years of foreign language, two years of visual or performing arts, one semester of health, one semester of economics, and one semester of mentor. Many different elective classes are offered. Typically, a student registers for 6–8 courses per semester.
To counter the heavy academic schedule, the school follows the "drop-day" cycle pattern. Each day, students "drop" one of their classes for that day's cycle (for example, if it is drop-day 1, then students skip their first period class), except for drop-day A, in which students must attend all of their classes (however, classes are then shortened to accommodate this). The drop-day schedule also guarantees each student to have at least one study (or "free") period every nine days. While freshmen cannot add additional free periods, upperclassmen may opt for more free periods.
In addition to the core curriculum, Byram Hills also offers many Advanced Placement courses for those seeking college credit. The school currently offers 15 AP courses in all areas of study. The school offers various honors courses in mathematics and science, and features several unique courses of study.
Peer Leaders assist in teaching health to sophomores and upperclassmen. The role of the Peer Leader is very similar to that of a college-level teaching assistant in that Peer Leaders often teach more than one class and work with the teacher to grade exams and teach lessons. Students completing their junior year are eligible to apply to become Peer Leaders for the following year. Peer leaders make a year-long commitment to abstain from drug and alcohol use.
Students entering their sophomore year have the option to involve themselves in Science Research, a three-year-long program founded by the late Dr. Robert Pavlica. In this program, students individually research a topic of their choosing and present their studies and research at the end of their senior year. Students also choose mentors (usually scientists, college professors, or professional researchers) to aid them in their process. In the fall of their senior year, students submit their findings and projects to enter the Intel Science Talent Search. Byram Hills consistently produces several students who go on to become Intel semi-finalists, and usually one or two who become finalists. Byram Hills has had 82 semi-finalists and 18 finalists in total. In 2004, Jayne Wolfson ('04) placed sixth nationally for her study examining the cognitive behavior of toddlers using pretend play. In 2014, Byram Hills had eight Intel semi-finalists, the most in Westchester County.
Perspectives in Literature
Offered exclusively to seniors, this two-period, year-long course satisfies English, visual art, and history requirements. While not an official AP class, students who complete this class are generally prepared to take the AP English Literature exam. The class does not administer any graded exams, and grades are determined almost exclusively by portfolios which the students are required to compile at the end of every marking period, based upon the material studied and personal experiences of that quarter. Previously taught by Jock Montgomery (now retired), the course is run by Duane Smith.
Freshmen Mentoring is a one-semester program that all freshmen are required to take during their first semester. The program is a non-academic course led by a nine faculty members and nine highly selected pairs of seniors. The class is designed to introduce freshmen to the world of high school and young adult decision-making by integrating lessons about teen issues, study habits, drugs, peer pressure, and related topics. The lessons are taught through a variety of different media, which may include group discussions, films, games, and activities. Students completing their junior year are eligible to apply to become Senior Mentors for the following year and are chosen through a rigorous and competitive process.
Seniors are required to complete a six-week job-internship in lieu of taking classes at the end of their graduating year. Students are often encouraged to seek positions in the fields they plan to study in college, or in fields that interest them. Students are allowed to work wherever they choose, with many opting to work in nearby New York City. Students are also required to meet with an advisor once a week during the internship to track their progress. At the end of the internship, students prepare presentations to a committee to show what they have learned about their experience.
The school has six curricular and two extracurricular student ensembles. Concert Band, Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony are the band groups. Concert Orchestra and String Orchestra are the two string ensembles offered during the day. All vocalists may participate in Concert Choir as part of their high school curriculum. The Band and Choir programs offer extra-curricular jazz groups. These are both auditioned groups and require an extremely advanced degree of musicianship for entrance. All areas of the music department offer extra coaching for small ensembles desiring additional performance opportunities. The performing arts department also offers electives in Music Theory (for accomplished music students), Electronic Music (for anyone interested in the music industry) and a Theatre Workshop (an experiential course for students of all levels wishing to improve skills in communication and public speaking). In 2013, the Byram Beat was established, which is a co-ed and student-run a cappella group that performs contemporary song selections.
Students may participate in athletics in the fall, winter, or spring, at the freshmen, junior varsity, or varsity level, depending on the sport and student. The mascot of Byram Hills is the Bobcat, and its colors are scarlet and navy. The programs compete in Section 1, in Class A for some sports and Class B for others.
To better accommodate the needs of the student athletes, the school underwent massive changes in its athletic grounds beginning in 2004 and ending by the start of the 2006–2007 school year. This included renovating the tennis courts, moving the football field closer to the main school building, installing an all-purpose turf with a track, upgrading fan seating, creating new baseball and softball diamonds, physically expanding the school's weight and conditioning room, and renovating the school locker rooms.
In 2006, the Academic Challenge club won the National Academic Championship.
- Laura Branigan – singer
- Eddie Cahill – actor
- Peter Gallagher – actor
- David Harbour – actor
- Bryce Dallas Howard – actress
- Chance Kelly – actor
- Tom Kitt – musician and composer
- Sean Maher – actor
- Glen Meakem – conservative radio show host
- Eyal Podell – actor
- Carol Weston – author
- Mark Weston – author
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