Official press release Oct 2005

Columbia to Partner with NYC on Creation of New Public Secondary School Specializing in Science, Math and Engineering

Collaboration Builds on Columbia’s Extensive Local Education Programs and Partnerships

New York, October 21, 2005 ­– Columbia University announced today that it will collaborate with the City of New York on the creation of a new public secondary school that will address the critical need for improved secondary education in science, math and engineering.


The new school, tentatively called “Columbia Science, Math and Engineering Secondary School,” will be located in Manhattanville in West Harlem where Columbia has proposed building a new campus. The school will serve approximately 650 students from grades six through 12. Admissions to the school in the sixth grade will be selective, and priority will be given to high performing local students from northern Manhattan above 96thStreet. Additional seats available in the ninth grade will be open to students Citywide who meet specific academic standards of excellence. Ultimately, at least half of the school’s total enrollment will be comprised of students from northern Manhattan.

The collaboration grows out of Columbia’s deep and longstanding commitment to enhance education for New York City schoolchildren, and it addresses a need conveyed by residents of Community District 9 and across northern Manhattan to expand educational opportunities in the local community. The school also will meet a pressing national need to improve education in science, math and engineering.

“America is struggling to maintain its global leadership in science, math and engineering, and it is vital that our nation’s public schools and universities rise to the challenge and work together to strengthen education in these critical areas,” said Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia University president. “The Columbia Science, Math and Engineering Secondary School will address this need by increasing the opportunities for science, math and engineering education available to public school students in our local neighborhoods and across the City. Thanks to the shared vision and commitment of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York City schools Chancellor Joel Klein, this partnership is both possible and extremely promising.”

A recent bi-partisan report of the National Academies documents the extent to which American high school students are undereducated in math and science, and are performing below their international peers in these subjects. It also reveals a critical lack of professionals entering these fields, a problem especially pronounced among women and minorities. With its dedication to excellence in science, math and engineering, the new public secondary school promises to help improve this situation for the students of New York City. It also could serve as a model for other urban centers grappling with this challenge.

The school, scheduled to open in September 2007 in transitional space, will be operated by the Department of Education in close collaboration with Columbia University, drawing on the University’s faculty and academic resources for the design of its curricula and instructional program. The University also will help develop joint curricular and extracurricular programs that provide opportunities for the school’s students and faculty to engage in college and university experiences while actively contributing to Columbia University’s campus life.

Among those expected to participate are faculty and graduate students throughout the University, and particularly from the Arts and Sciences, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the basic sciences at the campus of the Columbia University Medical Center in Washington Heights.

The school is a natural outgrowth of the University’s academic excellence in science, math and engineering – areas that will continue to strengthen – and its extensive and longstanding involvement in local education programs and partnerships. Each year, Columbia faculty and students from across the University participate in a variety of programs to improve educational opportunities for the City’s children.

For over four decades, Columbia’s Double Discovery Center, for example, has helped students in surrounding neighborhoods and throughout the City graduate from high school and college at a rate significantly above the national average.

Since 1958, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science has run the Science Honors Program, a highly selective, tuition-free program for high school students who have exceptional talent in mathematics and the sciences. The program offers courses primarily in physical, chemical, biological behavior and computing sciences, utilizing faculty from all of Columbia’s science departments.

Attached are additional examples of Columbia University public school programs and partnerships in science, math and engineering.

As plans for the school move forward, both Columbia and the City will enlist the support and input of leaders from across the City and from within the Academy to ensure that the school’s curriculum and instruction reflect the most recent research and academic advances.

About Columbia University

Founded in 1754 as King’s College, Columbia University in the City of New York is the fifth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and today is one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions. Columbia has more than 3,000 faculty members and enrolls nearly 24,000 students, including more than 5,000 international students. The University spans three undergraduate schools, 13 graduate and professional schools, a school of continuing education, four affiliated institutions, a world-class medical center, 22 libraries, and more than 100 research centers and institutes. For more information about Columbia University, visit