Harman Patil (Editor)

Brooklyn Technical High School

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Founder  Dr. Albert L. Colston
Phone  +1 718-804-6400
Founded  1922
School number  430
Number of students  5,843
Brooklyn Technical High School

Type  Public, Magnet, Specialized
Established  1922; 95 years ago (1922)
School board  New York City Public Schools
Principal  David Newman, interim acting
Address  29 Fort Greene Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11217, USA
District  New York City Public Schools

Brooklyn technical high school

Brooklyn Technical High School, commonly referred to as Brooklyn Tech, and administratively designated as High School 430, is a New York City public high school that specializes in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It is one of three original specialized high schools operated by the New York City Department of Education, the other two being Stuyvesant High School and Bronx High School of Science. Brooklyn Tech is considered one of the most prestigious and selective high schools in the United States. Admission to Brooklyn Tech is highly competitive, with an acceptance rate around 8%. Brooklyn Tech is noted for the large number of its graduates attending prestigious universities, such as the Ivy League universities, MIT, NYU, Johns Hopkins University, Caltech, University of Chicago and Stanford University among others, for undergraduate or graduate studies. Brooklyn Tech counts top scientists, inventors, innovators, CEOs and founders of Fortune 500 companies, high-ranking diplomats, scholars in academia, literary and media figures, professional athletes, National Medal recipients, Nobel laureates, and Olympic medalists among its alumni.


Brooklyn technical high school retrospect 1922 2011 brooklyn memories


Admission to Brooklyn Tech is based exclusively on an entrance examination, known as the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT), open to all eighth and ninth grade New York City students. The test covers math (word problems and computation) and verbal (reading comprehension, logical reasoning, unscrambling paragraphs) skills. Out of the approximately 30,000 students taking the entrance examination for the September 2011 admission round, (with 23,085 students listing Brooklyn Tech as a choice on their application), about 1,951 offers were made (the most out of any of the specialized high schools, partly due to its size), making for an acceptance rate of 8.5%.

Original plan

In 1918, Dr. Albert L. Colston, chair of the Math Department at Manual Training High School, recommended establishing a technical high school for Brooklyn boys. His plan envisioned a heavy concentration of math, science, and drafting courses with parallel paths leading either to college or to a technical career in industry. By 1922, Dr. Colston's concept was approved by the Board of Education, and Brooklyn Technical High School opened in a converted warehouse at 49 Flatbush Avenue Extension, with 2,400 students. This location, in the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge, is the reason the school seal bears that bridge's image, rather than the more obvious symbol for the borough, the Brooklyn Bridge. Brooklyn Tech would occupy one more location before settling into its site at 29 Fort Greene Place, for which the groundbreaking was held in 1930.

Early years

Atypical for American high schools, Brooklyn Tech uses a system of college-style majors. The curriculum consists of two years of general studies with a technical and engineering emphasis, followed by two years of a student-chosen major.

The curriculum remained largely unchanged until the end of Dr. Colston's 20-year term as principal in 1942. Upon his retirement, Tech was led briefly by acting principal Ralph Breiling, who was succeeded by Principal Harold Taylor in 1944. Tech's modernization would come under Principal William Pabst, who assumed stewardship in 1946 after serving as chair of the Electrical Department. Pabst created new majors and refined older ones, allowing students to select science and engineering preparatory majors including Aeronautical, Architecture, Chemical, Civil, Electrical (later including Electronics and Broadcast), Industrial Design, Mechanical, Structural, and Arts and Sciences. A general College Preparatory curriculum, would be added later.

Principal Pabst retired in 1964. A railroad club was established by the late Vincent Gorman, a social studies teacher, and students attended fan trips, tours of rail repair facilities and participated in the restoration of steam engine #103 and a historic rail passenger car at the former Empire State Railroad Museum. In August 1965, a ten-year-old boy named Carl Johnson drowned in the swimming pool at Brooklyn Tech while swimming with his day-camp group. The next year, more than 30 graduating Seniors in the school (including many student leaders) complained that Tech's curriculum was old and outdated. Their primary complaint was that the curriculum was geared toward the small minority of students who were not planning on attending college. In 1967 the schools of New York City got to view television in the classrooms for the first time, thanks to the station WNYE-TV, then located in the transmitter center on top of Brooklyn Tech.

For the school year beginning in the last half of 1970, females began attending; all three NYC specialized and test-required science high schools were now coeducational.

Incorporation into Specialized High School system and later years

In 1972, Brooklyn Tech, Bronx Science, Stuyvesant High School, and High School for Performing Arts become incorporated by the New York State Legislature as specialized high schools of New York City. The act called for a uniform exam to be administered for admission to Brooklyn Tech, Bronx Science, and Stuyvesant. The exam would become known as the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) and tested students in math and English. With its statewide recognition, the school had to become co-educational.

In 1973, Tech celebrated its 50th anniversary with a dinner-dance at the Waldorf Astoria. To further commemorate the anniversary, a monument was erected, with a time capsule beneath it, in the north courtyard. The monument has eight panels, each with a unique design representing each of Tech's eight majors at that point. In 1976, the school added the Graphic Communications major.

In 1983, Matt Mandery's appointment as principal made him the first Tech alumnus to hold that position. The following year, Tech received the Excellence in Education award from the U.S. Department of Education. The Alumni Association was formally created during this time, and coalitions were formed with the New York City Department of Transportation. Mandery oversaw the addition of a Bio-Medical major to the curriculum. John Tobin followed as principal in 1987 and abolished the Materials Science department and closing the seventh-floor foundry.

In the mid-1980s, a violent street gang known as the Decepticons were founded at Brooklyn Tech. As well, in 2000, the city issued a special report concerning the lack of notification to law enforcement during a string of robberies within the high school, including armed robbery with knives and stun guns.

The Brooklyn Tech Cheerleading Squad appeared in the 1988 Spike Lee film School Daze, and a video for the movie, entitled "Da Butt", was shot at Brooklyn Tech. Lee also used the first floor gymnasium as a shooting location for Jesus Shuttlesworth's, played by Ray Allen, Sportscenter preview in He Got Game.

Recent years

In March 1998, an alumni group led by Leonard Riggio, class of 1958, announced plans for a fund-raising campaign to raise $10 million to support their alma mater financially through facilities upgrades, establishment of curriculum enhancements, faculty training, and a university-type endowment. The endowment fundraiser, the first of its kind for an American public school, received front-page attention in The New York Times and sparked a friendly competition amongst the specialized high schools, with both Bronx Science and Stuyvesant announcing their own $10 million campaigns within weeks of the Brooklyn Tech announcement. In November 2005, the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Association announced the completion of the fundraising phase of what they had termed the Campaign for Brooklyn Tech. In April 2008, the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation launched a second endowment campaign.

Since 2001, Brooklyn Tech has undergone such refurbishing as the renovation of the school's William L. Mack Library entrance, located on the fifth-floor center section. As well, two computer labs were added. The school also reinstated a class devoted to the study of Shakespeare, which students can elect to take in their senior year.

Lee McCaskill

Dr. Lee D. McCaskill, appointed principal in 1992, served for 14 years, during which Tech saw the installation of more computer classrooms and the switch from traditional mechanical drawing by hand to teaching the use of computer-aided design programs. McCaskill also presided over the elimination of long-standing hallmark academic concentrations at Tech such as aerospace engineering.

In 2000, the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the NYC School District wrote a report condemning Brooklyn Technical High School administrators for failing to report several armed robberies that took place in the bathrooms and stairwells.

In 2003, The New York Times published an investigative article that noted "longstanding tensions" between the faculty and Principal McCaskill, "spilled into the open in October, with news reports that several teachers accused him of repeatedly sending sexually explicit e-mail messages from his school computer to staff members." While the article praised him for his addition of music and sports programs, it mostly described the principal as autocratic, controlling the school "largely through fear and intimidation," and documented acts of personal vindictiveness toward teachers; severe censorship of the student newspaper and of assigned English texts, including the refusal to let the Pulitzer Prize-finalist novel Continental Drift by Russell Banks be used for a class; and of bureaucratic mismanagement. A follow-up column in 2004 found that there was increased teacher exodus, specifically documenting Principal McCaskill's campaign against Alice Alcala, who described as one of the city's leading Shakespeare teachers. Alcala had won Brooklyn Tech a $10,000 grant and brought in the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain for student workshops, but after Alcala had done so, McCaskill repeatedly denied her access to the auditorium and gave her low performance rankings. Shortly after, Alcala left for Manhattan's Murry Bergtraum High School, where she brought in $1,800 in grants for Shakespeare education; meanwhile, at Brooklyn Tech, there was no longer any course solely devoted to Shakespeare, according to the column.

In two newspaper articles in 2005, it was revealed that a $10,000 grant obtained by Dr. Sylvia Weinberger in 2001 to refurbish the obsolete radio room remained unused. New classroom computers were covered in plastic rather than installed because the classrooms had yet to be wired for them.

The Office of Special Investigations of the New York City Department of Education launched an investigation of McCaskill on February 2, 2006, concerning unpaid enrollment of New Jersey resident McCaskill's daughter in New York City public school, which is illegal for non-residents of the city. Dr. McCaskill produced a lease claiming that he rented an apartment in Brooklyn, but the copyright date on the lease was after the date the lease had been signed. On February 6, McCaskill announced his resignation from Brooklyn Tech and agreed to pay $19,441 in restitution. After retiring from Brooklyn Tech, McCaskill became principal of Hillside High School in New Jersey, where In 2013, he resigned following accusations he spanked a female student.

Special commissioner Richard J. Condon rebuked the Department of Education a week later for allowing McCaskill to retire, still collecting $125,282 in accrued vacation time, just days before the OSI completed its investigation. Condon also recommended that Cathy Furman McCaskill, the principal's wife, be dismissed from her position as a teacher at Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn for her part in submitting fake leases and other fraudulent documents to indicate the family lived in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn. The next day, the Department of Education announced that it would fire her.

Randy Asher

On February 7, 2006, the Department of Education named Randy Asher, founding principal of the High School for Math, Science and Engineering (HSMSE), as interim acting principal. Asher had previously served as Tech's assistant principal in mathematics from 2000–2002 before leaving to become founding principal of High School for Math, Science and Engineering

David Newman

On January 17, 2017, Randy Asher started a position as special advisor for talent management to Chancellor Carmen Farina. David Newman, formerly the Assistant Principal of Social Studies, ascended to his current position as Acting Principal.

Building and facilities

The school, built on its present site from 1930-33 at a cost of $6 million, is 12 stories high, and covers over half a city block. Brooklyn Technical High School is directly across the street from Fort Greene Park. Facilities at BTHS include:

  • Gymnasia on the first and eighth floors, with a mezzanine running track above the larger first floor gym and a weight room on the third floor boys locker room. The eighth floor gym had a bowling alley lane and an adjacent wire-mesh enclosed rooftop sometimes used for handball and for tennis practice.
  • 25-yard swimming pool
  • Wood, machine, sheet metal and other specialized shops. A program involves a shop where an actual house is built and framed by students. Most have been converted into normal classrooms or computer labs, except for a few robotics shop.
  • Foundry on the seventh floor, with a floor of molding sand used for creating sand casting molds and equipped with furnaces, kilns, ovens and ancillary equipment for metal smelting. Students made wooden patterns in pattern making which were used to make sand molds which were cast in the foundry and machined to specification in the machine shops. It was closed during the 1990s. The foundry complemented a mandatory course titled "Industrial Processes" which emphasized metallurgy and "how industry functions". The Foundry has since become defunct.
  • Materials testing lab, used during the basic materials science (Strength of Materials) class. Included industrial capacity Universal Testing Machine and brinell hardness tester and polishing and microscopic examination rooms. During the 1960s, students attended "inspection training shop" and were taught to use X-ray analysis to detect metal fatigue failures, use of vernier measuring instruments, micrometers, and go-no-go gauges.
  • Aeronautical lab, featuring a large wind tunnel, During the 1960s, a T-6 Texan U.S. Air Force surplus aircraft in the building was used for student aeronautical mechanic instruction.
  • Radio studio and 18,000 watt transmitter licensed by the Federal Communications Commission as WNYE (FM). The studio has not been used since the 1980s.
  • 3,100-seat auditorium, with two balconies — 2nd largest auditorium in all of New York City (after Radio City Music Hall)
  • Recital hall
  • Drafting, both pencil and ink technical drawing and freehand drawing rooms
  • Library with fireplaces
  • Football field on Fulton and Clermont Streets. The Football Field, named in honor of Brooklyn Tech Alumnus Charles Wang, was opened in 2001, with the home opener played October 6, 2001, against DeWitt Clinton High School.
  • Access to Fort Greene Park for outdoor track, tennis, etc.
  • Mock courtroom for use by the Law & Society major and the Mock Trial Team.
  • A 456-foot (139 m)-tall rooftop broadcasting antenna, when added to the 145-foot (44 m) height of the building itself, makes Brooklyn Tech the borough's tallest structure, at 597 feet (182 m) high. It is 7 feet (2.1 m) taller than Brooklyn's tallest building, 388 Bridge Street, which stands at 590-foot (180 m).
  • In 1934, the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), which later became the Works Projects Administration (WPA), commissioned artist Maxwell B. Starr to paint a mural in the foyer depicting the evolution of man and science throughout history.
  • Brooklyn Tech's founder and first principal, Dr. Albert L. Colston, had an apartment built for himself in the tower of the building, and was the only person to live at Brooklyn Tech.
  • Majors

    Tech uses a college-style system of majors, unusual for an American high school. As of June 2008, majors include:

  • Aerospace Engineering: Students take AP Physics B, and Astronomy/astrophysics junior year. AP Physics C, PLTW Aerospace Engineering, and aeronautics (flight school) senior year.
  • Architectural Engineering: Students take Project Lead the Way Civil Engineering & Architecture and Construction Documents junior year. Structural design, Senior Design Studio, and Building Construction during senior year.
  • Biochemistry (Gateway to Medicine Program/PULSE)(Exclusive to students who apply before freshman year) Students take Biology and Chemistry with Humanities in freshman year. In Sophomore year, AP World, and AP Chemistry are taken. Advanced Health is also given. AP Biology is taken in junior year with Physics. Organic Chemistry, Genetics, and Forensics with Economics is taken in Senior Year.
  • Biological Sciences (Bio-Sci): Students take AP Biology junior year. Genetics, Anatomy, and Organic Chemistry senior year. Formerly known as Bio-Medical Sciences.
  • Biomedical Engineering (Bio-Med): Students take AP Biology junior year. Genetics, Anatomy, and Biotechnical Engineering senior year.
  • Chemical Engineering (Chem): Students take Advanced Placement Chemistry junior year. Quantitative analysis and Organic chemistry senior year. Students take Quantitative analysis the Fall term, then Organic chemistry during the Spring Term, or vice versa. Both classes are intensive triple periods.
  • Civil Engineering (Civil): Students take Project Lead the Way Civil Engineering & Architecture and Surveying junior year. Structural design and Senior Design Studio senior year. Civil Engineering Senior Design Studio is different from Architecture Senior Design Studio.
  • College Prep: A selection of AP Physics, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, AP Human Geography or AP Spanish, French, Italian or Chinese. Juniors take Principles of Engineering. Seniors either take two AP courses and one PLTW class or one AP course and two PLTW classes.
  • Software Engineering (Comp-Sci): Previously, students would take one semester of A+ certification, one semester of Web design (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript), and two semesters of AP Computer Science (Java) junior year. Database Design, a double period of Project Lead the Way Digital Electronics one term, then a double period of C++/video game design for another term senior year. Previously called Computer Science Technology, the major has been renamed to Software Engineering for the start of the 2011-2012 school year. The major will now be more oriented towards programming than hardware. As a result, A+ certification has been removed from the major's curriculum. Classes have been arranged so that students will now take an Oracle Academy Database Development class and an Intro to Programming through Web Development class in Junior Year. The Database Development class is composed of two levels which will be split between Junior Year and Senior Year. Web Design (Intro to Programming through Web Development) will remain, covering the languages HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Javascript, and PHP. AP Computer Science (Java) will be taken in Senior Year along with Level 2 of the Database Development class. Programming for the Android OS has been included into the curriculum and will have its premiere in the 2011-2012 class year. Knowledge obtained from the AP Computer Science (Java) class will be put to use as the students will write and develop applications for Google's Android Operation System. This new arrangement of classes will push the AP Computer Science (Java) class into Senior Year with Programming for the Android OS and the next installment of the Database Development class, allowing students to better focus on the variety of computer languages in Junior Year, without the pressure of an additional AP class.
  • Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, also formerly known as Applied Physics or Electromechanical Engineering. Electromechanical Engineering has been changed to two different majors, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, starting in the 2011-2012 school year. It has been renamed Electro-mechanical major (again) in Spring 2013. Students take AP Physics B and Project Lead the Way Principles of Engineering junior year. AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, Project Lead the Way Digital Electronics, and Robotics during senior year.
  • Environmental Science Research: Students take AP Environmental Science junior year, as well as the Cambridge Capstone Seminar Course offered by the College Board. In their senior year, they take a combination of AP Biology, AP Human Geography, and the Cambridge Capstone Research Course offered by the College Board.
  • Industrial Design (ID): Students take two-dimensional and three-dimensional Design and Drawing and Product Design junior year, and AP Art History senior year.
  • Law and Society: Formerly Technology and Liberal Arts. Students take AP United States History, AP United States Government and Politics, and Constitutional Law junior year. Criminal Procedure, Civil Law, Forensic Criminology, Ethics,and Criminal Law.
  • International Arts & Sciences: Students take PLTW Principles of Engineering and any AP elective of their choosing junior year. A PLTW Elective and any two AP electives of their choosing senior year. Students in IAS are required to earn an Advanced Placement International Diploma.
  • Mathematics: Students take Math Analysis and Math Research junior year. Math Analysis, AP Calculus BC, Discrete mathematics, and Linear algebra senior year. Math Analysis is a class for participation in the school Math team. AP Calculus BC is a double period. It used to be known as the Math Science Institute (MSI).
  • Media Communications (Media): Students take Graphic Design, Drawing, and Digital Photography junior year. Web Design, Adobe Flash, Film Production, and Animation senior year.
  • Social Science Research (SSR): Students take Social Science Research junior year. AP Psychology, Anthropology, and Sociology senior year. Students also have a choice of continuing Social Science Research or mentoring junior students in junior year Social Science Research.
  • Physics
  • Finance
  • Mechanics/Robotics
  • Students apply for majors in sophomore year, and take ten semesters of major classes throughout junior and senior year. Tech also has a Bio-Chemistry major as part of its "Gateway to Medicine" program, to which, unlike the other majors, students apply to as incoming freshmen. Gateway to Medicine is the only 4 year major at Tech. All Advanced Placement science courses are taught as double periods to accommodate the large lab requirement.

    Extracurricular activities

    Brooklyn Tech fields 30 junior-varsity and varsity teams in the Public School Athletic League (PSAL). The school's historic team name has been the Engineers. The school colors are navy blue and white. The school's more than 100 organizations include the Brooklyn Tech Amateur Radio Club (club station call sign W2CXN), Civil Air Patrol Brooklyn Tech Cadet Squadron, chess, debate, football, wrestling, forensics (speech), hockey, mock trial, robotics, and rowing teams and clubs, and a news website, BTHSNews.org. Tech also has an award-winning literary art journal, Horizons, for those who want to express themselves through art, poetry, photography, and prose. The Model United Nations provides students with a venue for discussing foreign affairs. Other clubs cater to a wide range of topics such as anime, the Stock Market, Dance Dance Revolution, ultimate Frisbee, politics, quilting, fashion, debate, which offers both Lincoln Douglas And Policy, table tennis and animal rights. The cheerleading squad is named the Enginettes. S.I.N.G. is an annual tradition that pits seniors against juniors against freshmen and sophomores in a competition to create the best student-produced play. In 2012, Tech students created a Junior State of America Chapter at their school. Additionally, Tech students put on a musical each spring. Brooklyn Tech has also started its own student union, to address issues on a student level. Tech also has a variety of community service clubs, such as Key Club, Red Cross Club, and BETA. Brooklyn Tech's Muslim Student Association has also participated in the Muslim Interscholastic Tournament as Tech Taqwa since 2011 and has won 3rd place in 2012.

    There are two step teams, Lady Dragons and Organized C.H.A.O.S.

    The school has a Coordinator of Student Activities (COSA).

    Beginning with the class of 2010, each student must meet the following requirements by the end of their senior year to receive a Brooklyn Technical High School diploma:

    I. A minimum of 50 hours of community service outside of the school or through specified club activities.

    II. A minimum of 32 service credits earned through participation in Tech clubs, teams, and/or participation in designated school related events.

    A. Service Credits are earned as follows: 1. 8 service credits per term to all students in BETA, NHS, JSA, Student Government, student productions, stageworks, cheerleading, and PSAL teams. 2. 6 service credits per term to all students participating student leadership, who work on office squads, or compete in non-PSAL teams. 3. 4 service credits per term to all students who participate in all other clubs not referred to above. 4. 2 service credits for participation in specified school events


    Brooklyn Tech is one of the most elite, prestigious and selective high schools in the United States. Together with Stuyvesant High School and Bronx High School of Science, it is one of three original specialized high schools, operated by the New York City Department of Education, all three of which were cited by The Washington Post in 2006 as among the best magnet schools in the United States (a category the school is often placed in, though its founding pre-dates the concept of "magnet school" and whose intended purpose was not the same). Admission is by competitive examination though, as a public school, there is no tuition fee and only residents of the City of New York are eligible to attend.

    Brooklyn Tech appears as #63 in the 2010 ranking of the annual U.S. News & World Report "Best High Schools" list. Newsweek in 2008 listed Brooklyn Tech among five public high schools that were not in the magazine's 13 "Public Elite" ranking, explaining, "Newsweek 's Challenge Index is designed to recognize schools that challenge average students, and not magnet or charter schools that draw only the best students in their areas. These [...] were excluded from the list of top high schools because [...] their sky-high SAT and ACT scores indicate they have few or no average students". In 2014 the Brooklyn Tech FIRST robotics team (The TechKnights - Team 334) won the New York Regional Tournament (as well as the Creativity award). In the 2014 U.S. News ranking, Brooklyn Tech was top 10 in all of New York State as well as 60th in the entire nation.

    Brooklyn Tech is a founding member of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology. Brooklyn Tech is noted for its famous alumni (including two Nobel Laureates), its academics, and the large number of graduates attending prestigious universities. Routinely, more than 98% of its graduates are accepted to four-year colleges with the 2007 graduating class being offered more than $1,250,000 in scholarships and grants. It appears as #63 in the 2009 ranking of the annual U.S. News & World Report "Best High Schools" list. In 2011, Brooklyn Tech was ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 50 of the nation’s Best High Schools for Mathematics and Science.

    Hall of Fame inductees

    Hall of Fame inductees listed separately, by year. Inductions held 1998–2000, 2003, and 2005. Hall of Fame inductees are meant to represent a sampling of the many graduates who are leaders in their respective fields, including top scientists, inventors, innovators, CEOs and founders of Fortune 500 companies, high-ranking diplomats, scholars in academia, literary and media figures, professional athletes, National Medal recipients, Nobel laureates, and Olympic medalists.


    Brooklyn Technical High School Wikipedia