Robert F. Kennedy Community High School
QUEENS NY 11366 Map
Robert F. Kennedy Community High School
Buses: Q20A, Q20B, Q25, Q34, Q46, Q64, Q65, QM1, QM4, QM5, QM6, QM7, QM8
Robert F. Kennedy Community High School has a warm atmosphere, enthusiastic teachers and loyal families who speak more than 28 languages. Students “come from home, to home,” said the parent coordinator Angela Miraglia. “Every one of our doors is open.”
Longtime teacher James Gildea calls it, “the best of the non-test-into schools around.”
Under the leadership of Principal Beshir Abdellatif, the school’s focus is squarely on college readiness. Every child who scores below 80 percent on the math Regent’s exam or below 75 percent on English Regent’s exam must re-take math and English. Those bound for Regent’s exams attend a Saturday Academy.
Students come from the Middle East, China, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere. Abdellatif speaks Persian, Arabic, English and French. He was principal of Law, Government and Community Service and interim principal, during a troubled time of administrative turnover, at Khalil Gibran International Academy. He likes things ship-shape: sparkling hallways, no sagging jeans, no cell phones or open soda cans in class. When he took the helm in 2011, he installed card-swipe machines to track attendance and tardiness. Since his arrival, satisfaction, test scores and attendance are inching up.
Dress is casual, but attendance and hallway changes are strictly monitored. Some teachers talk from the front of the room perhaps longer than teens care to listen, but we also saw enthusiastic and creative teaching. During one lesson, when no one raised his hand to answer a question, the teacher had students turn and talk to each other, thus sparking full participation. A science teacher kept his students on their toes with witty remarks and a well-organized science experiment on isotopes using colorful candy. In a digital computer class, students worked on timely PowerPoint presentations about a presidential debate. Teachers often stay late and are willing to arrive early. “Everybody’s a first priority,” said a senior.
For high achievers, there is a range of Advanced Placement classes including English literature, Spanish language and composition, geography and calculus. Students expressed pride in the fact that their school made the list of top high schools in a US News report. While some grumbled about new rules, such as no visiting lockers between classes, they also praised their teachers for exposing them to new subjects, like journalism. The school newspaper has candid articles on the danger of using the cafeteria as an extra gym space and the aggravation of “locker bandits.”
What’s missing, say students, are old-fashioned football pep rallies like you get at big schools. However, one praised the fact that teams are welcoming of non-athletes who want to try a sport as late as junior year. A variety of offerings include bowling, fencing, baseball, basketball and tennis. There is no music. Instead, students have art and technology classes.
College: A guidance counselor serves as part-time college advisor. Students said they push each other to reach for schools beyond the CUNYs, to which the majority apply and attend. Some enter the work force, military or trade school. At least one student wins a POSSE scholarship every year. A recent winner chose to attend Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.
Special education: Children with special needs are mostly taught alongside their general education peers in classes with two teachers. A pair of 10th history teachers led a jeopardy-style game to help students prepare for an upcoming test. There is one self-contained class.
Admissions: Educational option, designed to admit a range of academic performers. (Lydie Raschka, October 2012)
At a glance
Number of Students 720
Average Daily Attendance 92%
Metal detectors? No
INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.41 2.39 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Safety & vibe
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average english classNA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?
How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?70% 74% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?91% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?
How many students say they feel safe in hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?81% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How Many Students are Chronically Absent?25% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Class of 2015
How many students passed a Regents exam for algebra 2, physics or chemistry?44%
Is the guidance counseling helpful?
How many students say that this school provides helpful counseling on college or job-seeking?NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Special ed & ELL
Programs and Admissions
AP COURSES: AP Calculus, AP Spanish
EXTRACURRICULAR: Student Government Organization Activities: RFK Carnival, Feastivus, Peace Day, Alley Pond Park Adventure Course, Theater Development Fund Trips, Talent Show, Student Lounge, Freshman Orientation and Welcome Activities, Deck the Doors, National Honor Society, School Newspaper, Student Government Organization, Yearbook, Track, Garden, Handball, Jewish Student Union, Key Club, International Trip, Senior Ski Trip, Mural Projects
BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Fencing, Soccer, Wrestling
GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball
Other schools sports: Handball, Track