A Brief History of HSES

In 1992, the High School for Environmental Studies opened its doors to 150 freshmen in response to a growing consciousness of environmental issues and in anticipation of a rapidly expanding field of environmental professions. It was created to become a model in urban environmental education and an exemplary high school overall by promoting environmentally literate citizenry in a rigorous college preparatory program. Even today, while educating over 1,300 students (grades 9-12), HSES holds tightly to those initiatives. Attendance rates and test scores continue to exceed expectations, and as a result, the school been recognized for excellence in education in numerous forums. The Manhattan Superintendent recognized HSES as a demonstration site for school standards and professional development, as well as a school-to-career consortium member. Perhaps the most telling indicator of the school’s success is that the number of applicants has grown tenfold over the years. HSES can attribute a great deal of this success to the Friends of HSES, a not-for-profit organization built into the design of the school to promote and support its goals. This foundation has continually provided resources and experiential learning opportunities to the school. Specifically, the Friends of HSES offers professional development for faculty, and hands-on fieldwork for students throughout the year. These efforts are made to incorporate environmental themes into the curriculum, realizing the purpose of the school while helping to define its innovative approach. The High School for Environmental Studies aims to reach high standards of excellence by providing a unique curriculum that combines environmentally-infused college preparatory courses with applied-learning experiences and hands-on activities. Furthermore, HSES strives to integrate the rich cultural, economic, and social diversity of New York City into its program. Students, families, faculty, and staff at HSES are encouraged to maintain strong values and work collaboratively to meet and overcome challenges.