Francis Lewis High School

An Insideschools pick
An Insideschools pick for Special Education
58-20 UTOPIA PARKWAY
QUEENS NY 11365 Map
Phone: (718) 281-8200
Website: Click here
Admissions: neighborhood/screened/ed opt
Principal: David Marmor
Neighborhood: Fresh Meadows
District: 26
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: CONSTANCE MIAOULIS
Humanities & Interdisciplinary
Science & Math
Law & Government
Zoned
Screened

Buses: Q17, Q30, Q31, Q88, QM1

What's special:

Huge variety of courses and activities; lots of options and support for students with special needs

The downside:

Overcrowding and large class sizes

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Francis Lewis is one of the city’s largest and most successful high schools. It’s a vibrant place with a broad selection of courses, teams and activities that outpace some small colleges. It is home to the nation’s largest chapter of Junior ROTC, a sought-after law program, and demanding, selective programs in math, science and humanities that offer academics on par with specialized and other highly competitive schools. Local students who qualify for these programs or are zoned for the school should think twice before taking on a long commute to attend selective or popular schools elsewhere in the city.

Options abound for students of all levels and with all kinds of interests. Twelve languages are taught (including American Sign), there are a myriad of Advanced Placement (AP) and College Now courses, and class settings are tailored for a range of student needs. For instance, there are three types of calculus classes: AP calculus—AB and BC—as well as non-AP calculus for students not quite ready to tackle the college-level version. There are also sections for algebra and living environment that are taught over two years to give struggling students more time and support to learn the subjects.

To help downsize the learning experience and keep better tabs on kids so they don’t fall through the cracks, the school is organized into themed programs known as “small learning communities” (SLCs). In addition to four programs that admit students from outside the school’s zone there are SLCs in computer science, business (known as virtual enterprise), dance, design, engineering, forensics, journalism, math team, music, sports, and sports medicine/health sciences. Each one delivers on its theme through a sequence of classes unique to that SLC and some dedicated activities that help build a sense of community. By the start of 10th grade all students are enrolled in an SLC that they stick with through graduation.

Overall, academics are strong across all subjects. Instruction that we observed reflected a mix of teaching styles. Collaborative work and projects dominate in some classes, while teacher-directed lessons are the norm elsewhere. Regardless of the class structure, we saw a lot of teachers build in time for student discussion and reflection.

Students have lots of opportunities to participate in competitions—in math, science, robotics, debate, moot court, mock trial, Model UN, the arts, writing and business. Science research students, who are groomed for national competitions such as Siemens and Intel, take daily lab classes and have access to research labs during their free periods. By their junior year they are working with professional mentors on independent research projects.

The vibe throughout the school is cheery and surprisingly orderly despite massive overcrowding (it’s housed in a building designed for a much smaller population) and large class sizes. Hallways get very congested during change of classes and lunch periods serve up to 1,000 students at time, yet during our visit noise levels remained under control—even in the cafeteria—and students were calm in classes and throughout the building.

Most students adapt to the enormity of the place by finding their niche in a club, team or activity. There’s an eclectic mix of more than 50 student clubs and activities as well as 27 PSAL sports teams. Model UN, a popular activity, runs as a club in the lower grades, and as a formal class for juniors and seniors. Choral groups and bands perform in concerts throughout the year. During our visit, students were rehearsing for an upcoming performance of the musical "Rent."

Roughly 1,000 students participate in Junior ROTC, which requires no commitment to serve in the military. Some of the participants we spoke with, including girls who proudly keep pace with boys in physical feats such as regulation push-ups, say they appreciate the leadership training, camaraderie and academic support that are core to the program.

There’s a dedicated college office staffed by two full-time college counselors and a support staff of four. Named for former schools chancellor, Dennis Walcott, who attended Francis Lewis, the college office is a large, bustling place where students can drop in for questions and individualized help and entire classes visit for college admissions workshops.

Graduates attend a wide variety of colleges such as CUNY, SUNY, trade schools and highly selective private colleges, including the Ivy Leagues and West Point Academy.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has a substantial special education and English language learner (ELL) population and offers many types of supports and settings. In addition to SETSS, there are self-contained and ICT classes in many subjects. Teachers take care to identify students’ strengths and place them in class settings that both support and challenge them. For instance a student who needs self-contained classes for most courses, but is strong in one area, say math, will be placed in a general education class for that subject. When we visited, the school offered three ICT sections for algebra II/trig to accommodate all the special needs students who were keeping pace with the traditional sequence of high school math subjects. An alternative assessment program provides life skills, work opportunities and academic instruction for special needs students who are unable to take a traditional academic load because of severe disabilities. There are multiple class settings for ELLs, such as English classes for beginning speakers and self-contained classes for ELLs with special needs.

ADMISSIONS: Guaranteed admission to students in the school’s zone if they apply to the “Zoned” program. The Math Research, Science Research and University Scholars (humanities) programs accept students with good attendance, level 3 or 4 scores on standardized tests and grades of at least 85 in core subjects. Admission to the Jacob Javitz Law Institute is based on the educational option formula, which is designed to admit a mix of low, average and high-achieving students. Students admitted to these four programs may apply to switch to another SLC at the end of 9th grade. (Laura Zingmond, April 2015).

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Number of Students 4172

Average Daily Attendance 93%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
54%

Black

  
7%

Hispanic

  
23%

White

  
14%

Free Lunch

  
73%

Special ed

  
13%

English Language Learners

  
12%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.90 2.38 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

27 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

81% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

93% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

90% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

92% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

17% 36% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2015

How many students graduated within 4 years?

88% 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

50% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

89% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

4% 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?

36%

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

41%

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

65%

Are students ready for college?

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

71% 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

483
423 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 495 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

81% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

562
431 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 511 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

Is the guidance counseling helpful?

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

87% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

69% 48% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

73% 57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

55% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

97% 97% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

47% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

55% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Priority to Queens students or residents
  2. Then to New York City residents
  3. For Zoned Program only: Guaranteed offer to students who apply and live in the zoned area

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

Jacob K. Javits Law Institute

Ed. Opt.

This program distinguishes itself with recognition in Mock Trial and Moot Court competitions. A small learning community which offers law-related courses including: You and The Law, Constitutional & Business Law, Mock Trial, Debate Team and Bioethics.

Science Research Institute

Screened

Our award-winning Science Research Institute has received high Honors in the National Siemens Competition, Intel and NYSCEF. Students are programmed for advanced honors courses and courses in authentic science research.

Selection Criteria

  • English (Scores 85-100) , Math (Scores 85-100) , Science (Scores 85-100) , Social Studies (Scores 85-100)
  • Math Levels: Levels 3.0-4.5 ; English Language Arts Levels: Levels 3.0-4.5

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

University Scholars

Screened

This program provides an honors-level sequence of courses which engages students in a rigorous scholastic experience in the Liberal Arts & Humanities. Each term students are programmed for a second language or an additional English/Humanities course.

Selection Criteria

  • English (Scores 85-100) , Math (Scores 85-100) , Science (Scores 85-100) , Social Studies (Scores 85-100)
  • Math Levels: Levels 3.0-4.5 ; English Language Arts Levels: Levels 3.0-4.5

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

Math Research and Robotics

Screened

Students are programmed for honors courses and will take courses in Math Research or Robotic Engineering. Students will prepare for a variety of high level regional and national competitions.

Selection Criteria

  • English (Scores 85-100) , Math (Scores 85-100) , Science (Scores 85-100) , Social Studies (Scores 85-100)
  • Math Levels: Levels 3.0-4.5 ; English Language Arts Levels: Levels 3.0-4.5

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

Zoned

Zoned Guarantee

Academics

AP COURSES: Art History, Biology, Calculus, Chemistry, Chinese Language and Culture, Computer Science A, Economics, English, French Language and Culture, Japanese Language and Culture, Physics, Spanish, Statistics, United States Government and Politics, United States History, World History

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corp (JROTC), Conflict Resolution, Peer Mediation & Negotiation, Principal's Consultative Council, National Honor Society, Student Organization, Publications, Math Team, Authentic Science Research, Mock Trial, Debate Team, Moot Court, Yearbook, Winter & Spring Concerts, School Play, SING, Holiday Spectacular, Computer Programming, Newspaper, Drama, Performing Arts, Dance, Marching Band, Concert Choir, Mixed Chorus, Jazz Band, Honors Orchestra, Robotics, Anime, Art, ASPIRA, Bridge to Medicine, Career, Caribbean, Cheerleading, Chinese, Chinese Drama, Comparative Literature, Dance, Desi, Filipino, Food, Future Educators of America, Girls Who Code, Glee Club, Healthy Heart, Hearts on a String, Hebrew, Hellenic, History, Horticulture, Humans of Francis Lewis, Improv, Italian, Japanese, Key Club, Korean, Music, Media Production, Model UN, Muslim, Nu Gamma Psi, Pre-Med, SAT, Science Explorers, Science Olympiad, Seekers Christian Fellowship, Share an Umbrella, Solitaire-Anti-Bullying, Step Squad, Tech Crew, TVB Cantonese

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

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

Other schools sports: Full program of intramural school sports

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

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