Well, I wouldn’t precisely call it elite – it IS a public school after all (i.e. no tuition) – but it is one of the best schools in the area and kids come from around the city to attend. (As opposed to the normal practice of attending the nearest school in your school district.) There are admission requirements – mainly having good grades, which you have to maintain, or you get sent to your zoned school. The school focuses heavily on math, engineering, and hard science (as opposed to social science), although I believe the curricula has gotten a bit more diversified since I left. I used to joke that the closest I got to a fine arts class at Poly was architectual design.
You’ll get a good, fairly concise description of Poly if you go to their aforementioned website and read the article entitled Why is Poly Missing from Newsweek’s List of Top High Schools? A link to it is currently on the front page under the News & Events heading.
One other interesting (non-academic) tidbit is that we have the oldest high school football rivalry in the country, against Baltimore City College.