The principal of Thomas Jefferson High School Dr. Evan Glazer for Science and Technology visited Stuyvesant on Wednesday, March 19 to study Stuyvesant’s policies and architecture, and to discuss the possibility of interaction between students from each school.
Glazer met with Principal Stanley Teitel as well as members of the Student Union (SU) during fourth period and toured the school. The visit took place in part because Thomas Jefferson and Stuyvesant are both members of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology, an organization that serves as a forum for 80 specialized high schools. According to Glazer, member schools visit each other to learn about other member schools and to examine their differences.
Thomas Jefferson is located in Alexandria, Virginia. It has 1,800 students and was ranked first on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best High Schools” list. Stuyvesant was ranked 15th.
Although Stuyvesant and Thomas Jefferson are both specialized high schools, there are some key differences between them. One such difference is the admission process. Students applying to Thomas Jefferson have to take an entrance exam, but unlike Stuyvesant, Thomas Jefferson also requires applicants to write essays and obtain three teacher recommendations.
Another difference is the curriculum. Glazer said that his school is much more science oriented. “TJ is a science and tech school, so we really ramp up the science and tech requirements. For example, all students are required to complete a full year research project prior to graduation,” he said. Students are also required to complete a full year of computer science and take a geosystems environmental course.
Thomas Jefferson’s curriculum is also very Advanced Placement (AP) course intensive. According to U.S. News, all the students at Thomas Jefferson choose to take at least one AP course. “You have to go out of your way not to take an AP course,” Glazer said.
Teitel said that a major topic of discussion between him and Glazer was policy. The principals discussed cutting policies, vacation homework policies and graduation requirements. “He asked a lot about our policies because he’s thinking about how he wants to change some of his,” he said.
Glazer has been principal of Thomas Jefferson for two years. The power structure of Thomas Jefferson is different than that of Stuyvesant. Unlike Teitel, Glazer does not have the power to change policy at his own discretion. “[Glazer] has a governing board that he needs approval from,” Teitel said.
During the meeting with the SU, Glazer raised the issue of student rights. Glazer said that he has weekly talks over lunch with members of Thomas Jefferson’s student government and newspaper. Senior President Michelle Lee praised these weekly meetings. “The frequent meetings with the school newspaper and student government provide clarifications on certain things and prevent unnecessary tension,” Lee said.
Teitel said he has always made himself available to student representatives and that regular meetings are unnecessary. “I have always told [SU President Jamila Ma] that I am always available to meet. I don’t want to make it on a regular basis because it seems artificial,” he said.
Lee gave Glazer a tour of the Stuyvesant building, during which Glazer took note of Stuyvesant’s unique architecture. “The reason why Dr. Glazer came to Stuyvesant was because his school plans to have a renovation in a few years,” Lee said. “He wanted to obtain ideas from other high school buildings to base his architecture ideas on.”
“[Thomas Jefferson’s] building is falling apart and people like to poke fun at us, even in the Wall Street Journal,” Glazer said. Thomas Jefferson also has an overcrowding problem, similar to Stuyvesant’s. “We […] have 25 ‘learning cottages’ in the back of the building because it is too small,” Glazer said.
He was particularly interested in Stuyvesant’s museum blocks. “Glazer was extremely fascinated by the cube project that Stuyvesant uniquely holds within its walls. He wanted to find out the meaning behind each cube and its history,” Lee said.
Glazer and Teitel also discussed the possibility of students from both schools getting together. “Teitel suggested we have a SING! exchange between both schools,” Glazer said. “I suggested we have a football game.”
“We can also have another event that none of us really knows well but will bring us together,” Glazer said. “Like a game of Quidditch.”
Both principals agreed that some sort of interaction between schools would be beneficial. “I think they will enjoy the fellowship and a friendly rivalry,” Glazer said. “I also think we can get together for scholarly activities as well, that pair some of our unique electives that are offered only in our schools.”
“I think the student body will like working with TJ,” Teitel said. “Other things can come out of this in the future.”