Scholars' Academy

An Insideschools pick
320 BEACH 104TH STREET
QUEENS NY 11694 Map
Phone: (718) 474-6918
Website: Click here
Admissions: selective
Principal: BRIAN OCONNELL
Neighborhood: Rockaway Beach
District: 27
Grade range: 6-12
Parent Coordinator: MARTA MOSKAL
Humanities & Interdisciplinary
Wheelchair Accessible
Screened

Buses: Q22, Q53

What's special:

Accelerated academics plus fitness, music, drama, technology, art

The downside:

Isolated location

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

On the racially polarized Rockaway peninsula, Scholars' Academy brings together high-achieving students from across District 27 to form a diverse middle and high school community. The school is known for rigorous academics but also offers a wide array of sports and arts classes, as well as cutting-edge technology instruction.

The bustling life inside the three-story building is all the more pronounced given the bleak landscape outside—elevated subway tracks, generic high-rise towers and the desolate sound of seagulls. In every classroom, alert teens work together in small groups on clear-cut tasks.

Principal Brian O'Connell, a native of the peninsula, calls Scholars' a "haven for positive integration," and while it is racially and culturally diverse, we were also impressed by the fact that as many girls as boys told us they planned to pursue male-dominated fields such as civil engineering, electrical engineering and medicine.

Middle school students travel in a group to math, science and humanities classes. We saw 7th-graders immersed in articles about life in Alabama in 1933 in preparation for reading the Depression-era novel To Kill a Mockingbird. In the music technology lab, 8th-graders studied 12-bar blues chords as part of a unit on jazz, informed by their lessons on slavery and segregation in humanities.

By the end of middle school, all students will have completed three high school courses. Ninth-graders have a course load typical of juniors in most high schools, taking the English, geometry, physics, Spanish, U.S. history and government Regents. Global studies, typically a two-year program, is covered in its entirety in 10th grade.

All high school students are expected to complete four years of math, science and English. A partnership through St. Francis College in Brooklyn allows students to complete up to 20 college credits in 11th and 12th grade.

Student dismissal is at 1:12 pm on Fridays to allow teachers to plan for up to two hours. All staff members have web pages and are experimenting with new models of instruction including “blended learning”—which combines face-to-face and online learning in a self-paced format—and "flipped" instruction, where kids watch videos of recorded teacher lessons or "snippets" at home and do "homework" in class, consisting of exercises, projects or lab experiments in small groups while the teacher circulates. Kids can use iPads or one of many computers sprinkled throughout the building to access web pages. Twelfth-graders in the blended economics class were learning how to budget money for college at the time of our visit.

All this is part of a massive effort to be transparent according to O'Connell. "It shouldn't be mystery what your children are learning," he said, adding that self-paced learning is essential to helping bright students make progress and not just coast on their achievements.

The school hosts sporting events, accompanied by their own marching band, which is a draw for parents. Archery, bowling, tennis, lacrosse and swimming are some of the more unusual offerings. The latest is STUNT, a kind of acrobat cheerleading.

All students take visual arts and music classes. Eleventh-graders produce weekly news broadcasts in the media elective, while other students may help produce the school newspaper or join drama or stage crew.

Several graduating seniors revealed their very specific future plans to us, ranging from McCauley Honors (pre-med) and Stonybrook (electrical engineering) to St. Johns (elementary education) and St. Francis (accounting). Students have been accepted to Pratt and Parsons, as well as Cornell and Princeton.

Special education: The school is phasing in classes that mix children with special needs and general education students beginning in September 2014.

Admissions: Scholars' seeks students with good attendance records who have high 3s or 4s on their 4th-grade ELA and math exams. Promising applicants must complete an in-person interview and take on-site math, reading comprehension and writing assessments. The admissions policy ensures that 50 percent of students live on the Peninsula, another 40 percent live in District 27, and 10 percent live elsewhere in the city. Scholars' accepts 264 incoming 6th-graders from roughly 1,000 applicants. Priority in high school is given to middle school students. There is no room for outsiders at the high school level unless the population fluctuates. The school will be admitting a defned number of students with special needs this year. (Lydie Raschka, May 2014)

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 1253

Average Daily Attendance 95%

Uniforms? Yes

Students at this school

Asian

  
23%

Black

  
18%

Hispanic

  
18%

White

  
39%

Free Lunch

  
53%

Special ed

  
1%

English Language Learners

  
0%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.73 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?

80% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

91% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE KIDS NICE?

How many students complain about bullying?

53% 71% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

86% 57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

96% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

96% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

33 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students are chronically absent?

10% 24% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

93% 25% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

87% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

99% 21% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

99% 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 state math exam:

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 4% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state 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 1253

Average Daily Attendance 95%

Uniforms? Yes

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
23%

Black

  
18%

Hispanic

  
18%

White

  
39%

Free Lunch

  
53%

Special ed

  
1%

English Language Learners

  
0%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.70 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:

86% 25% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Middle school students doing math at grade level:

88% 24% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Safety & vibe

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

31 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

80% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

96% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

98% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

100% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

10% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many students graduated within 4 years?

100% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

100% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many students graduated within 4 years?

99% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

89% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

NA 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

0% 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?

49%

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

74%

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?

99% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

547
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

99% 62% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

577
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?

91% 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 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

NA 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?

100% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

58% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Priority to continuing 8th graders
  2. Then to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

Scholars' Academy

Screened

Selection Criteria

  • English (85-100) , Math (85-100) , Science (85-100) , Social Studies (85-100)
  • 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: Art History, Biology, Calculus AB, Chemistry, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, Spanish Language and Culture, Statistics, United States History, World History

Online: Spanish Language and Culture, Statistics

Language classes: Spanish

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Metropolitan Museum of Art HS Tour Program, Scholars' Shadow Internships, Guitar, The World of Art; Carnegie Hall Program, Art & Design, Band, Chorus, Dance, Digital Photography, Drama, Drawing, Film Production, Independent Art Studio Morning Program, Journalism, Key Club, LEGO Robotics, Mathletes, Mentoring Program, Multicultural, Painting, Peer Tutoring, Percussion, SAT Preparation Courses, Sculpture, Shakespeare, Spanish Culture, Stage Crew, Student Government, Summer Jobs Program, Video Editing, Video Yearbook, Yearbook, Knitting & Crocheting, PBIS, Peer Mentoring, Stock Market Game

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Cross Country, Golf

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Softball, Volleyball

Other schools sports: Co-ed: Archery, Cheerleading, Fitness, Step

Source: High school directory

Comments

Please post comments

  • Give specific examples. Tell us why this school rocks (or doesn't)
  • No profanity. No racial or ethnic slurs. No personal attacks
  • Criticism is fine but don't be nasty.
  • Flag inappropriate comments. (Hover your cursor over comments to see flag)