The Queens College School for Math, Science and Technology

An Insideschools pick
148-20 REEVES AVENUE
QUEENS NY 11367 Map
Phone: (718) 461-7462
Website: Click here
Admissions: Lottery/unzoned
Principal: Simi Minhas
Neighborhood: Flushing
District: 25
Grade range: PK-8
Parent Coordinator: LORA ROWE
Number of full-day PK seats: 18
Extended PK hours offered: Contact program about extended hours.
Unzoned
Full Day
School-based pre-k

What's special:

High-achieving, diverse school that admits students by lottery from across Queens

The downside:

Only two classes per grade; commute may be tough for some

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

PS/MS 499, the Queens College School for Math, Science and Technology is a cheery place that attracts students of different income levels and backgrounds from all over Queens. With only two classes per grade, the school feels like a close-knit community where teachers and staff get to know all the students well. Though the commute may be long for some, PS 499 is a good option for families willing to travel.

As its name suggests, the school was founded with support from Queens College and is housed in a spacious, contemporary building on the edge of the college campus. College professors work with teachers to develop the curriculum and the school benefits from a steady supply of student teachers.

The vibe is welcoming and creative. Children are calm and engaged in class and teachers and staff seem attuned to students. For instance, students having a “bad” day may visit Principal Simi Minhas to decompress for few minutes and read a book, play a game on an iPad or feed the fish in a large tank she keeps in her office. To reduce anxiety, a 3rd grade teacher lets her students use rods and counters (called manipulatives) to solve problems both during lessons and during a test “After all they’re only eight,” she said. Teachers open their classrooms to children who need extra support or a quiet place during their lunch period.

The school uses the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project curriculum, which encourages students to read a wide array of books of their choosing and at their skill level as well as write and revise multiple drafts of work on a variety of topics. They read serial stories, mysteries and historical fiction as well as biographies, memoirs, and books on social issues and science. Teachers also connect readings to topics studied in other subjects. For instance, 8th-graders studying immigration in social studies read the “New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus in their English class as a lead-in to a discussion on the pre- and post-Ellis Island waves of immigrants.

In fifth grade, classes are departmentalized—essentially a modified middle school format. Both teachers teach social studies but one specializes in English and the other in math. Students travel with their class between rooms for instruction in those two subjects. The benefit is that students are taught by a specialist in a classroom filled with resources to support that subject. Students change classes for each subject starting in 6th grade.

There are three science teachers, each one serving a different grade range: pre-k to 3, 4 to 6 and 7 to 8. Students in the grades 6 to 8 have science daily. In other grades students visit a science lab for lessons and their classroom teachers supplement with projects and studies. For instance, kindergartners take nature walks on campus to collect acorns and fallen leaves to learn about their various shapes, textures and colors. In science they learn about decomposition by noting changes in leaves over time and crumbling some by hand to mimic the process.

Weekly enrichment classes include Latin dance, robotics, music, art and technology.

Spanish is taught in grades 5 to 8.

Children may participate in a range of afterschool activities such as sports, arts, debate, chess and dance. The PTA sponsors programs for the elementary school and Queens Community Housing provides free activities for the middle school.

Most students stay on through the 8th grade. Graduates go on to schools such as the specialized high schools, Francis Lewis, Townsend Harris, Queens School of Inquiry and Aviation High School.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are no formal ICT classes, but special education teachers visit classrooms to support students with special needs, rather than pulling them out of class. PS/MS 499 also shares the facilities a District 75 program for students with severe disabilities.

ADMISSIONS: The school admits students by lottery. For pre-k, contact the school for an application. For kindergarten the school aims to admit an equal number of students from each Queens district. The school typically has room in kindergarten for students who are neither siblings of current students nor continuing from its pre-k. There are usually a few seats open for new students in the 4th grade, when class sizes get a bit larger. Sixth grade is the only entry point into middle school; new students are not accepted in grades 7 or 8. Contact the school for a middle school application. (Laura Zingmond, November 2016)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Number of Students 485

Average Daily Attendance 97%

Students at this school

Asian

  
53%

Black

  
23%

Hispanic

  
12%

White

  
10%

Free Lunch

  
50%

Special ed

  
9%

English Language Learners

  
4%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

73% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average middle school english class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

77% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

4% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

How many teachers say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep students engaged?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school does a good job teaching social-emotional skills?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school does a good job teaching organizational and study skills?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam

76% 40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam

79% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 8th grades pass high school regents exams?

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

44% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

49% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the school survey?

59% 59% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say they attended at least one pta meeting in the last school year?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Does the school encourage family involvement?

How many parents say they were invited to an event at the school at least 3 times in the last school year?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA 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 state math exam:

6% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

17% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

11% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say students with special needs are educated in the least restrictive environment appropriate?

95% 91% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents of students with ieps say this school offers a wide enough variety of services and activities for their children’s needs?

87% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

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

13% 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

56% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school ensures that ells receive the same curriculum as non-ells with appropriate suppports?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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