Midwood High School

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


United States
Coordinates40°37′58.2″N 73°57′06.9″W / 40.632833°N 73.951917°W / 40.632833; -73.951917
EstablishedSeptember 1940; 83 years ago (September 1940)[1]
School districtNew York City Department of Education
School codeK405
NCES School ID360015302032[2]
PrincipalRobert J. Quinlan
Teaching staff225.31 (on an FTE basis)[2]
Enrollment4,059 (2021-2022)[2]
Student to teacher ratio18.02[2]
CampusCity: Large
Color(s)Navy Blue and White

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.[3] 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.[4] 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 in 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."[5]

In the 1986–87 and 1997–98 school years, Midwood High School was recognized as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education[6][7][8] and was chosen as a "School of Excellence" by U.S. News & World Report.


Part of Midwood's building and the new Bridge

As of the 2014–15 school year, the school had an enrollment of 3,785 students and 160.4 classroom teachers (on a full-time equivalent [FTE] basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 23.6:1. There were 1,849 students (48.9% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 180 (4.8% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[2]

The school occupies a building designed to hold 2,800 students, with an enrollment nearly 1,000 larger. 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 three overlapping sessions, with students arriving and departing at different times. Band practice starts at 8 a.m. and the first group of students breaks for lunch at 8:50 a.m. The large population of students creates a high demand for Advanced Placement classes, thus, high grades are required to be able to take up the classes. [9]

A new science annex, built across the streets from the original building, opened in the summer of 2008 to help ease the overcrowding 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.[10]

CUNY Brooklyn College partnership[edit]

Midwood High School is the affiliated campus high school of Brooklyn College, a partnership which began with the 1984–85 academic year. It was one of the earliest New York City public high schools to partner a four-year college in the City College of New York (CUNY) system.[11] 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."[12] In addition, Students are able to take classes at Brooklyn College and other Colleges in the CUNY system, free of charge, through the College Now[13] program.[12] Through this program, students can obtain both high school and college credits.


Advanced Placement courses[edit]

Midwood offers 22 Advanced Placement courses, and the school's AP courses offerings have been 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: [14]

Special programs[edit]

Midwood is composed of three institutes – Medical Science, Humanities, and Liberal Arts. 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 Science Research Program also has its own website.[15]

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 program with grades at 95 or above average may request to switch to either the medical science or humanities program.[16]

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

Law department[edit]

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[17] or other law firms in the city.

Intel Science Talent Search Competition[edit]

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)[18]

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[edit]

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.[19] In addition, Chromebook laptops are becoming increasingly available in the school and are used in many classes.

Extracurricular activities[edit]


Midwood has several PSAL[20] sports teams. They include teams in baseball, bowling, basketball, cricket, football, golf, cheerleading, handball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track, wrestling, and volleyball.

In 2018, the boys' lacrosse team won the city championship in their divisions, defeating Columbus High School. In 2017, the girls' volleyball team won the city championship in their division by defeating Cardozo High School. In 2016, the Varsity Boys' Baseball team won the school's first "AAA" Division City Championship by defeating Tottenville High School at Yankee Stadium.

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.[21] 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. Midwood HS Football Team who was coached by 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 the playoffs 3 times in last 4 years. Midwood's girls' swimming team had come into the play off in the past 14 years, and is considered one of the top teams within Brooklyn and New York City. Midwood also started the first Girls' Lacrosse team in Brooklyn.

The Midwood Boys' 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 Boys' 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 Girls' 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 the following clubs: 4H, Alternate Music Association (AMA), American Heart Association (AHA), American Sign Language Club, Amnesty International Club, Anime Club, Art Club, Astronomy Club, Big Brother/Sister Club, Bio-Med Society, Black Heritage Alliance (BHA), Book Club, Cancer Support Club, Chess Club, Christian Student Union, Coding Club, College Committee Club, Crochet Club, Cultural Diversity Club, Dance Team, Debate Team, DIY Jewelry Club, Dungeons and Dragons Club, Environmental Conservation Club, E-Sports Team, Fashion Club, Finance 101 Club, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Club, Guitar Club, History Olympiad Team, J-Pop Club, Jewish Student Union, K-Pop Club, Key Club, Korean/Japanese/Chinese (KJC) Club, Marvel Cinematic Universe (Comic) Club, Math Team, Mental Health Awareness Club, Mock Trial, Model United Nations, Muslim Student Association (MSA), Pa'lante Student Union, Patterns (English Publication), Photography Club, Podcast Club, Pride Club, Public Health and Safety Club, Red Cross Club, Speech Team, Student Government, Tea Club, UNICEF Club, Video Game Club, Women's Health Club, World Issues Club, Young Democrats Club, and Young Women's Leadership Club. Students complained that the school didn't have an official Math Team. In response, an unofficial group for students with an interest and talent in math was established.


SING!, an annual student-run inter-school musical theater competition was conceived at Midwood by Bella Tillis, a music teacher, in 1947.[22] 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.[23]

Senior seminar/Independent research studies[edit]

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[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Woody Allen
Noah Baumbach
Roz Chast
Martin J. Fettman
Henry Gross
Wentworth Miller
Erich Segal

Notable staff[edit]


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External links[edit]