New Rochelle has been ranked in the top 2% of high schools in the nation by Newsweek since 2000—it is also one of the most diverse high schools in the country; its student body represents 60 countries from around the world. NRHS is a two-time Blue Ribbon School, the highest honor that an American school can achieve. NRHS is accredited by the Middle States Association Commission on Secondary Schools.
The school buildings are situated at the rear of a plot of land, fronted by two lakes, and 'Huguenot Park'. The forty-three acres of land that comprise the park, including what is now “Twin Lakes”, were acquired by the City in 1923 as the site for the community’s new high school and a park. At the time, the twin lakes were one large lake which had been used for an ice manufacturing business by the Mahlstedt family. At the southeast corner of the property is the Mahlstedt house where three generations of the family lived while operating their ice business at the lake. When the City purchased the land in 1923, the house became the Huguenot Branch of the New Rochelle Public Library.
A white marble World War II Marines Memorial is located near the causeway leading to the High School from North Avenue. The monument was dedicated on June 3, 1949 to the 15 New Rochelle Marines who died while fighting in the war.
The high school is designed in the French-Gothic style by the noted architectural firm of Guilbert and Betelle. It includes a working clock tower, indoor swimming facilities, eight tennis courts, two football fields, one combined soccer and baseball field, an outdoor track, a television station and a planetarium. The planetarium can hold 84 viewers and uses a 'Spitz Scidome', 360 degree fulldome video projector with ATM-4 automation and a 5.1 surround sound audio system.
On May 17, 1968, school buildings dating from the 1920s and 1930s were destroyed by arson. A 16-year old high school student with a history of setting fires to attract attention was arrested for the arson. Additions made to school buildings in 1959 and 1960 were not affected. Fire insurance allowed the school to rebuild while displaced students were accommodated at local junior high schools under a time-sharing arrangement.
On August 15, 2008, New Rochelle High School was struck by lightning. The resulting fire badly damaged the building's distinctive spire. The fire occurred just two months after the 40th anniversary of the 1968 arson fire that destroyed much of the school.
On November 20, 2013, at 11:37 AM, the principal of the school received a phone call "threatening the safety of the students and adults in the building". The vice principal received a call from the same person shortly after. The school was then evacuated following fire drill procedure. About 30 minutes after the building was evacuated, school officials made the decision to cancel classes for the day, and students were sent home. New Rochelle Police then investigated the building room by room and found no explosives. At 2:45 PM, New Rochelle Police gave clearance for teachers to re-enter the building. On December 2nd, 2013, 12 days after the first incident, the school was evacuated again. At 7:33 AM, the school received another phone call demanding "to get everyone out of the building by 8:00 AM”, but no specific threat was made by the caller. New Rochelle Police investigated the building like on November 20 and found nothing. Classes were not canceled as students, faculty and staff were cleared to enter the building at around 9:15 AM.
To create a more personalized atmosphere, NRHS is organized into eight smaller learning communities of approximately 400-600 students each. The communities are geographically defined and serve as a home base for students and teachers. Ninth and tenth grade students in each community are teamed with core area teachers in English, social studies, mathematics, and science. These teacher-student 'teams' remain intact for ninth and tenth grade in order to provide continuity for students and staff. Eleventh and twelfth grade students remain within their communities even though most course work occurs throughout the campus.
Arts Department, an expansive program integrating Art, Music, Dance and Theater Arts within the school. The four main standards are stressed by the department: Creating, Performing, and Participating in The Arts; Knowing and Using Arts Materials and Resources; Responding To and Analyzing Works of Art; Understanding The Cultural Dimensions and Contributions of The Arts. The department also provides an Performing and Visual Arts Education (P.A.V.E.) program enabling students to major in the Arts. Each year competitive auditions are held for each artistic discipline; Visual Arts, Theater, Vocal Music, Orchestra, Band and Dance . Once in the program, students attend classes before school so that there are no conflicts with their regular academic course load.
Business Education Department, geared towards preparing students for career and workplace success. Current programs of study include: Business; Marketing & Entrepreneurship; Marketing and Computer Applications.
Engineering and Architectural Design Department, offers courses in architectural design, architectural presentation, CADD aided residential drawing and design and drawing for production. Students can select the Architectural design sequence of courses as their major. The department features teachers with professional backgrounds in science, technology and mathematics.
Foreign Language Department, features a complement of educators from Europe; Italian, Spanish, French, Greek, and Latin courses; future progressive program advantages for students in Dual Language Programs founded in elementary and middle schools; opportunities for students from more than 50 countries of the world. In 2009, Mandarin was added to this list of foreign languages.
Sciences and Mathematics Department, offers students the opportunity to participate in the community of scientific research and scholarship as part of their high school experience. In addition to class, formal individual meetings are held once a week. Students select a topic of interest and explore this topic through library research, person to person conversations with research scientists throughout the country, and telecommunication to research and college libraries. Students develop sophisticated data collecting and lab skills by completing a literature search, formulating a research question, articulating hypotheses, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting their findings to a bona fide scientific audience (e.g., The Intel Talent Search, the New York State Science Symposium, and local and regional science fairs).
NRHS Honor Society, part of a national organization. Membership is based on scholarship, community service, leadership, and character. To qualify, students must possess a minimum cumulative unweighted average of 87.0, show a minimum of 20 verifiable hours of community service, and display strong leadership qualities. Students meeting these requirements are interviewed and selected by members of the Faculty Council.
Spanish Honor Society, open to juniors and seniors who have shown outstanding work in Spanish for a minimum of 2½ years. Final acceptance is subject to review by the NRHS Foreign Language Department in accordance with the guidelines of the Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica.
French Honor Society, open to juniors and seniors who have consistently maintained a high average in French for a minimum of 3 years.
Latin Honor Society, open to juniors and seniors who have consistently achieved 90s in Latin for a minimum of 3 years.
Italian Honor Society, open to juniors and seniors who have consistently maintained a high average in their years spent studying the language.
Tri-M Music Honor Society, open to students of the Instrumental and Vocal Music Departments upon recommendation by their respective teacher.
Math Honor Society, open to those who maintain a high average in math throughout high school
National English Honor Society, was founded in 2008 for those who maintain a high English average throughout high school.
The Fund for Educational Excellence
The Fund for Educational Excellence is a private foundation formed to address the dramatic increase in the cost of public education by supporting aspects of the public educational system that fall outside the normal operating budget. The Fund was established in 1998 in a cooperative effort by the Superintendent of Schools, members of the Board of Education and community leaders to preserve the New Rochelle tradition of excellence in education. Most notably, the Fund has sponsored several benefit concerts featuring NRHS students at major performance venues including Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall of Lincoln Center.
The Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC)
The Museum of Arts and Culture is an on-site museum offering exhibits and programs focused on the fine arts, history, literature and science and technology. The Museum opened in 2006 and is the only Regents-chartered museum in a school in the state of New York.
Co and extra-curricular activities
The school has a considerable number of clubs including:
The school's Academic Team is 3rd in the nation after the 2008 National Academic Championship.
The school's Model Congress Club is the oldest and longest running high school level model congress in the country. Model Congress originated at New Rochelle High School in 1964 when faculty advisor William P. Clarke sought an extracurricular outlet for bright students not engaged in sports.Richard Nixon was the guest speaker at the club's first mock presidential convention in 1964. The club is focused around debating issues through the use of bills and parliamentary procedure. The club becomes a delegation when it debates in foreign congresses, both college congresses and those associated with the United Model Congreses. Each year the school holds a Model Congress weekend, hosting "foreign delegations" from other schools.
The NRHS Economics Team placed 3rd in 2009 and 4th in 2010 in New York State.
NRHS cheerleaders during the playing days of Ray Rice
New Rochelle's Junior Varsity (JV) and Varsity cheerleading teams were champions in 2013.
The Varsity Basketball team was a New York|NYS Section AA finalist in 2003 and 2013.
The Varsity Football team Won the New York State title in 2003 and 2012 and was a New York State Class AA finalist in 2000, 2004 and 2009 and semi-finalist in 2007, 2008 and 2010. The team has earned the title of New York State Section 1 AA champion eight times since 2003 including 5 straight times from 2006 to 2010.
The Boys Varsity Tennis Team won the 2005 New York State Doubles Title.
The Swim Team is undefeated in their 2007–2008 season. They go by the name of Purple Wave.
The Varsity Girls Basketball team is the school’s first to compete in the NYS Section 1 Class AA semi-finals, where they earned the first runner-up prize in their division.
In 2005 a NRHS student Lynne Lane set a Section 1 track record and was the 60-meter national champion.
Both the Varsity and JV Cheerleading teams were National Champions at the 2013 Universal Cheerleading Association National HS Cheerleading Championships.
^"About the School District". New Rochelle High School Official Website. nred.org. Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2008-05-24. "the SAT scores of students attending New Rochelle High School placed within the top 10"