Townsend Harris High School

An Insideschools pick
149-11 MELBOURNE AVENUE
QUEENS NY 11367 Map
Phone: (718) 575-5580
Website: Click here
Admissions: selective, by application
Principal: Anthony Barbetta
Neighborhood: Flushing
District: 25
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: Dafne Amstutz Manhart
Humanities & Interdisciplinary
Wheelchair Accessible
Screened

Buses: Q17, Q20A, Q20B, Q25, Q64, Q88

What's special:

Huge array of courses and activities, top-notch instruction all-round

The downside:

Far from the nearest subway station

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

One of the most sought-after schools in the city, Townsend Harris High School combines rigorous academics with a well-rounded high school experience. The school is housed in a spacious building on the campus of Queens College, where all seniors take courses and can eat in the college cafeteria. Though located far from the nearest subway, the school draws students from all over Queens and other boroughs who are eager to benefit from the challenging work, nice array of courses and activities and the daily company of very bright and motivated peers.

The school’s vibe is friendly and calm. Classical music pipes into the hallways during change of classes. Students seem at ease chatting with teachers and staff who open their offices, classrooms and labs to kids eager to spend their free time working on projects, research or getting extra help. The school takes pride in promoting civic duty. Students must complete community service each year; incoming students recite the Ephebic Oath—a pledge borrowed from ancient Greece to leave their city greater than they found it.

Though known for its strength in the humanities, math and science instruction at Townsend Harris is also topnotch. It goes well beyond the standard Regents curriculum. “We teach biology, not living environment, here,” an assistant principal said referencing the inclusion of extra chemistry and other topics not covered in a typical 9th-grade science class.

Upper-grade students can choose from a nice range of Advanced Placement courses and elective classes such as robotics, organic chemistry, forensics and anatomy. We met a senior interested in bioengineering who was taking a demanding load of courses including AP physics and calculus, organic chemistry and a class in discrete mathematics at Queens College. Dedicated research classes groom students for competitions such as Siemens and Intel Talent Search. Students in all grades can participate in the Science Olympiad program and take advanced classes in a range of scientific areas.

In the humanities—English, history and social sciences—opportunities abound. In classes, students read challenging books, engage in lively discussions and are expected to write a lot. An impressive range of elective and advanced classes cover topics such as creative expression, constitutional law, criminal law, psychology of fairy tales, adapting novels for film, forensics, the Holocaust and social science research. All freshmen take a year-long writing course in addition to their regular English class.

Students take two years of either Greek or Latin and at least one year of Spanish, French or Japanese.

Queens College professors conduct monthly lectures at the school and help develop the curriculum for some high school classes. Students from the college’s Aaron Copland School of Music provide private and small group instruction. Each fall, the entire school is immersed in an ”election simulation,” a program designed by the Queens College faculty. Students study and role-play candidates and members of special interest groups; they stay in character during the school day, campaign for votes and participate in debates. Broadcast news-style interviews with candidates are filmed in the school’s professional-grade television production facilities.

Students who do best here find ways to manage the heavy workload while taking advantage of all the extras the school has to offer. There are over 30 PSAL sports teams, many student-run clubs, and several bands. Academic teams include model UN, mock trial, math, robotics, and science Olympiad. Students have full editorial control over The Classic, the school’s award-winning newspaper. “We’re a First Amendment school,” said principal Anthony Barbetta. “We don’t censor student publications.”

Virtually all graduates go on to four-year colleges. In addition to CUNY and SUNY schools, many recent graduates have attended Ivy League and other highly competitive colleges.

Special education: There are few students with special needs requiring services under an individualized education program (IEP). Students receive supports such as testing accommodations, but there are no ICT or self-contained classes.

Admissions: Students must have good attendance, scores of level 3 or 4 on standardized tests, and grades of at least 90 in core academic subjects. Although admission is citywide, most students come from Queens. (Laura Zingmond, October 2014)


InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 1151

Average Daily Attendance 98%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
58%

Black

  
6%

Hispanic

  
13%

White

  
22%

Free Lunch

  
51%

Special ed

  
1%

English Language Learners

  
0%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 4.02 2.40 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


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

Safety & vibe

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

30 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

70% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

80% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

97% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

96% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

3% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2014

How many students graduated within 4 years?

100% 73% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

100% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many students graduated within 4 years?

100% 65% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates earned an advanced regents diploma within 4 years?

98% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

100% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

0% 10% 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?

86%

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

99%

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

100%

Are students ready for college?

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

100% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

637
418 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 497 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

100% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

665
426 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 513 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

Is the guidance counseling helpful?

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

83% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

NA 47% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

NA 54% 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?

90% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

37% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

56% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Open to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

Intensive Academic Humanities

Screened

A humanities-based approach to excellence in all subject areas, achieved through extensive literature and writing courses, advanced courses and electives in English, Social Studies, Modern and Classical Languages, Math, Science, Social Science and Science Research, and a required Queens College Humanities Seminar.

Selection Criteria

  • English (90-100) , Math (90-100) , Science (90-100) , Social Studies (90-100)
  • Math Levels: Levels 3-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: Levels 3-4

There may be additional selection criteria, see the High School Directory for more information

Academics

AP COURSES: Calculus AB, Calculus BC, English Literature and Composition, Environmental Science, European History, French Language and Culture, Human Geography, Japanese Language and Culture, Macroeconomics, Music Theory, Physics B, Psychology, Spanish Language and Culture, Statistics, United States Government and Politics, United States History, World History

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: American Classic League Honor Awards Society, Archon Student Service Honor Society, Arista National Honor Society, Art Shows, Brain Bee, The Classic School Newspaper, Consultative Council, Crimson and Gold yearbook, Fed Challenge, Festival of Nations, Freshman Grade Leaders, Japanese Honor Society, The Journal of Science Research, Junior Grade Leaders, Math Team, Mock Trial, Model United Nations, Moot Court; Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society, New York City Science & Engineering Fair and Junior Science & Humanities Symposium, NYC & NYS History Day, NYS Science Honor Society, Quantum Cat Literary/science magazine, The Phoenix Literary/art magazine, School Musical, School Play, Science Olympiad Team, Senior Council, SING, Sophomore Grade Leaders, Spring Concert, Student Government; More than 40 clubs including: Amnesty International, Anime, Arabic, Chess, Cinephiles, Creative Writers' Workshop, Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), Drama, Educate to Elevate, Fashion, Free the Children, Glamour Gals, Glee Club, Jewish Culture, Key Club, Knitting, Latin Dance, Muslim Student Association, Photography, Red Cross, SAGES, Scrabble, Seekers, Society for the Preservation of the Earth

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball & JV Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Football, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball & JV Volleyball, Wrestling

Other schools sports: Co-ed Baseball, Soccer and Swim Clubs (off-season)

Source: High school directory

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