Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Secondary School for Arts and Technology

An Insideschools pick
47-07 30 PLACE
QUEENS NY 11101 Map
Phone: (718) 472-5671
Website: Click here
Admissions: District 24 & 30 preference, Ed Opt
Principal: Stephania Vu
Neighborhood: Astoria/ LI City
District:24
Grade range: 7-12
Parent Coordinator: Linda Langford
Humanities & Interdisciplinary
Wheelchair Accessible

Buses: B24, B62, Q100, Q101, Q32, Q39, Q60, Q67

What's special:

Friendly place with lots of spirit and a sought-after middle school.

The downside:

Many windowless classrooms;technology needs to be upgraded.

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Housed in a former Macy’s warehouse in the heart of Long Island City’s industrial and commercial center, Wagner Secondary School for Arts & Technology attracts students looking for a small, welcoming alternative to large, traditional schools. Students generally work together in groups or in pairs at small tables, generating lots of class discussions and collaborations. Classes last 51 minutes and meet four times a week. Every Friday there is an all-school Town Hall meeting.

Principal Annie Seifullah arrived in May 2011 and staff says she has energized the school, making it a place where both students and staff want to be. She tightened up the discipline and academic standards and brought in a college counselor two days a week – something the school never had before. The teaching staff is stable, a few have been there since the school’s founding in 1973. Teachers plan together on Wednesday afternoons when students are dismissed early.

Some interior classrooms lack windows and the low-ceilinged gymnasium is inadequate but there is a friendly feel to the brightly painted building, from the round tables in the cafeteria to the “Chill-out Area” where kids relax after school. Students are on a first-name basis with most teachers and administrators, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t rules and consequences for breaking them. Students who are late three times or more a month get a week’s lunch detention–not a happy prospect for high school students who prize being able to go out for lunch. Students may grumble, especially since some travel up to two hours to get to school, but they admit the rule helps get them to school on time.

The middle school attracts stronger students than the high school, and boasts a higher attendance rate. Students representing 20 countries collaborate on projects and edit one another’s work. There is less emphasis on test prep and worksheets than many students were used to at their more traditional elementary schools. Some children even ask for more test prep, although they end up enjoying the many projects that they have a hand in creating, teachers say.

“They determine a lot of how class is run,” said 7th-grade English teacher Steve Lynch. “They grade themselves. I expect them to have opinions and they are not used to that.”

In a writing lesson, students came up with a list of eight traits that all fables should include and read one another’s rough draft to ensure that they were included. One fable’s message: “Having your work done by yourself is better than copying others.” Seventh-graders will read their fables to the elementary students at nearby PS 150.

High school students take frequent trips, to the Laugh Factory in Times Square and to Ellis Island, for example, and a day-long trip to Philadelphia. Classes frequently involve group projects but we saw plenty of textbook prep for science exams too. In a study of global revolutions, 10th-graders create displays and handouts about revolutions in Cuba, Mexico and Russia. Students take four years of science, including chemistry and physics. The biology lab is covered with plants and are part of the classroom’s community and population, the teacher explained. Some teachers require students to re-do sub-par work until their grade comes up to an 85 or 90.

There are several advanced visual arts classes in addition to intro to art and intro theater classes in 9th grade. Tenth-graders all take a theatre class and some continue in 11th grade, performing updated version of Shakespearean plays, such as “Twelfth Night” done to disco music. Middle-schoolers get piano lessons four days a week and art every semester. But, for a school with technology in its name, there is a lack of up-to-date equipment. Students use laptop computers to research and write assignments but most classrooms are not equipped with SMART boards. Some teachers prefer old-fashioned chalkboards. The principal plans to incorporate more technology and the library will be made over into a media center.

Despite the lack of a proper gym, Wagner has an active and successful sports program, sharing 16 teams shared with two other local schools: International High School at LaGuardia and Middle College High School.

There are two fulltime guidance counselors, one of whom can offer one on one therapy to students who need it. Many teenagers have responsibilities at home and must care for younger siblings.

Special education: The school offers Integrated Co-Teaching classes in high school; there are no special education students in the middle school.

College admissions: Only about half the students go to college; about 50 percent of them to CUNYs, including LaGuardia College which is just two blocks away. “College readiness was not a focus here at all,” said the principal adding that will change now that there is a college counselor.

Admissions: There are 60 seats and 200 applicants for the selective middle school program. Applicants must produce a writing sample on the spot, and sit for a group interview and activity. There is a big emphasis on group work and students must be able to function in a high school setting, said longtime guidance counselor Luis Fayed. About half the 8th-graders stay for high school; a dozen of the top performers go to specialized exam schools such as Brooklyn Tech, Stuyvesant and Bronx Science or to Townsend Harris. Talented kids frequently go to LaGuardia or Frank Sinatra. Others leave for bigger high schools such as Forest Hills, but some return to Wagner, preferring the cozier atmosphere. Priority is given to continuing 8th graders for the high school; the rest are selected via the Ed Opt method, allowing a range of students of all levels. (Pamela Wheaton, December 2011)

Middle InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 631

Average Daily Attendance 90%

Uniforms? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
21%

Black

  
7%

Hispanic

  
60%

White

  
12%

Free Lunch

  
78%

Special ed

  
12%

English Language Learners

  
5%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.32 2.80 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


1 = Far below grade level 2 = Below grade level 3 = At grade level 4 = Above grade level

Safety & vibe

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

59% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students say this school offers enough programs to keep them interested?

81% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE KIDS NICE?

How many students complain about bullying?

48% 71% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students say students at their school respect one another?

80% 57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?

93% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

79% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

70% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

28 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students are chronically absent?

25% 24% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 math exam

72% 25% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ela exam

65% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 science exam

98% 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS Prep

How many 8th graders pass high school regents exams?

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass the algebra regents:

0% 21% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass a science regents:

0% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How do graduates do in 9th grade?

Percent who pass all their classes freshman year:

100% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 math exam:

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ELA exam:

NA 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 math exam:

NA 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ELA exam:

NA 4% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 math exam:

NA 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ELA exam:

NA 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ELA exam:

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ELA exam:

NA 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 631

Average Daily Attendance 90%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
21%

Black

  
7%

Hispanic

  
60%

White

  
12%

Free Lunch

  
78%

Special ed

  
12%

English Language Learners

  
5%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.10 2.80 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


1 = Far below grade level 2 = Below grade level 3 = At grade level 4 = Above grade level

Middle school students reading at grade level:

67% 25% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Middle school students doing math at grade level:

53% 24% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Safety & vibe

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

32 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

59% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

79% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

How many students say they feel safe in hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?

93% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?

93% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

25% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many 2009 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

86% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2007 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

82% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many 2008 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

79% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen earned an advanced regents diploma within 4 years?

4% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2006 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

75% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen dropped out within 4 years?

5% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

College prep

Does this school offer a college preparatory curriculum?

How many students took an AP or IB class and scored at least a "3" on the AP exam or a "4" on the IB exam?

0%

How Many Students took a College Course and Got a "C" or Higher?

47%

How many students passed a Regents exam for algebra 2, physics or chemistry?

39%

Are students ready for college?

How many 2009 freshmen graduated in four years with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?

56% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

450
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2009 freshmen graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

74%

SAT math scores

472
425 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 514 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

Is the guidance counseling helpful?

How many students say that this school provides helpful counseling on college or job-seeking?

69% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students starting school in 2008 graduated within 4 years?

29% 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students starting school in 2006 graduated within 6 years?

52% 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students with disabilities spend most of the day with non-disabled peers?

100% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say students with disabilities are included in all activities?

92% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners starting school in 2008 graduated within 4 years?

40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners starting school in 2006 graduated within 6 years?

58% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Priority to continuing 8th graders
  2. Then to Districts 24, 30 and 32 students or residents
  3. Then to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

Arts and Technology for New Students

Ed. Opt.

Opportunities in the arts, career education, athletics, college classes, trips and conferences.

Arts and Technology for Current Students

For Continuing 8th Graders

See above description.

Academics

AP COURSES: Biology, English Literature and Composition

Online: N/A

Language classes: Spanish

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Art (twice a week), Chess Team (nationally ranked), College Readiness, EatWise, Full piano lab with 30 keyboards, Garden Club at Long Island City Roots Community Garden, Gay-Straight Alliance, Crochet Club, Chinese Calligraphy Club, Foreign Film Club, Tech Team, Comic Book Club, Anime Club, multiple field trips to museums and galleries, music composition lab, National Honor Society/Arista, PENCIL, portfolio development for students interested in applying to art school, Radio, School Leadership Team, Senior Give-Back projects, student talent showcases, theater program with professional-level productions, United Student Organization (USO), Yearbook

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Golf, Soccer, Volleyball, Wrestling

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

Other schools sports: We are a small school, but we boast the athletic team offerings of a big school! We have a dozen teams for boys and girls that compete every season of the year. Our athletes join International High School at LaGuardia Community College and Middle College High School at LaGuardia Community College, as the Panthers, to compete in the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL).

Source: High school directory

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