I can speak with more authority about Brooklyn Tech than any other high school. Between 2 kids there, the PA, the SLT, and working directly with the principal on projects, I know the school pretty well. But, many of my experiences aren’t Tech specific - they could apply to many if not most schools.
First, Tech specifics. It’s big. Truly big. My sophomore calls it the Gauntlet of Humanity. Imagine 1000 kids eating lunch every lunch period. Or close to 5600 moving at the same time between classes. For some (many) that alone can be overwhelming and should definitely be something taken into consideration. This school (or any school) may be fantastic on paper or even in person, but might not be the right fit for your child in the end.
At Tech every student takes 2 mandatory engineering based classes. This year they changed it up so all sophomores take AP Computer Science as one of their requisite classes. They have a major system - it’s 17 or 18 options this year (it always changes), which kids choose in spring of sophomore year for 10/11th grades. Placement is based on 9th and first half of 10th grade grades - doing well from the beginning counts for something. Because of majors and requirements, kids might not get to take everything they might get to in a school without such structure in place.
There are tons of options. It can be easy to get lost in the crowd. Sports can be highly competitive as there are just so many kids vying for not that many spots. But, there are 42 (or 44) PSAL sports to choose from.
There is no advisory system set up - that’s one thing I’m hoping the school will consider going forward. Kids generally have a guidance counselor for their first two years and then switch to one who works with everyone in their major (85% or so get their first major choice). There are less lockers than kids and there is no out lunch. There is an art deco auditorium which is smaller only than Radio City and it boasts Tiffany chandeliers.
Some things that are true for all schools, regardless of size: teachers generally have the same number of students. So whether the school is giant or tiny, teachers will (or at least should) have a good feel for your kid as the year progresses.
There will be great teachers. There will be teachers that aren’t as great.
Freshman year is a major transition no matter where your kid ends up.
Individual responsibility ramps up in high school.
Parent teacher conferences are pretty chaotic.
Parent involvement drops off significantly.
Back to Tech: tours have started. They take place after classes are over. Students are generally the tour guides - they’re usually National Honor Society members and all I’ve met have been a terrific representation of students there. You won’t see class in session. You won’t get to talk to teachers. You’ll be able to see the school without day to day chaos happening. My advice - if you like Tech and feel like it’s a good fit, think about going to the open house. They throw a great one, with teachers and students repping all the majors and the opportunity to wander the building yourselves. They also do they same sort of open house after offer letters are sent, for accepted students.
I won’t be at any tours this year. But please be in touch if you have questions after you’ve seen the school.