Forest Hills High School

An Insideschools pick
67-01 110 STREET
QUEENS NY 11375 Map
Phone: (718) 268-3137
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school; ed opt; screened programs
Principal: SAUL GOOTNICK
Neighborhood: Forest Hills
District:28
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: NEIL ROSENBLATT
Performing Arts
Science & Math
Law & Government
Zoned
Wheelchair Accessible
Screened

Buses: Q23, Q38, Q60, Q64

What's special:

Selective science program; wide variety of arts electives

The downside:

Severe overcrowding

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Forest Hills High School is a large neighborhood school that offers 39 Advanced Placement courses, several foreign languages (including Hebrew and Chinese), 60 clubs and 35 sports teams. Designed to serve 2,500 students, the building has long been severely overcrowded with close to 4,000.  Students attend school in three overlapping sessions with some arriving as early as 7:20 a.m. and the last class ending after 5 p.m.

When Saul Gootnick became principal in 2007, Forest Hills, though popular, did not have the same academic reputation as other Queens schools such as Cardozo, Bayside and Francis Lewis. Some students got lost – and skipped class or failed to take Regents or Advanced Placement tests. The graduation rate lagged, And the elegant 1940s building, was outmoded.

Gootnick focused on improving attendance, by hiring an attendance coordinator and upgrading the school's phone system. The average daily attendance rate rose from 86 percent in 2006-07 to nearly 90 percent.

Students now must take their Regents tests if they want to go to the prom or be on an athletic team. And anyone who signs up for an AP class should count on finishing it.

Forest Hills also introduced a program aimed at helping low performing students graduate -- whether it takes afterschool classes, Saturday classes, switching to a GED program or pestering parents. The graduation rate increased from barely 70 percent to nearly 85 percent.

Local politicians provided funds to modernize the building. Smart Boards were installed in every classroom, and the 1940s vintage library got a major makeover.

None of the improvements, though, mitigate the severe overcrowding. The school stays open until 8 p.m. in an effort to provide extracurricular activities and instill school spirit, but it's a struggle.

"It's pretty crowded," said one boy arriving in the late morning for the third session. By the time he leaves school after 5, eats dinner and does he homework, he complained, the evening is over. Despite the crunch, many students praised the teaching staff. And Forest Hills was featured by CNN as an example of how a large, crowded school can succeed.

Forest Hill admits anyone who moves into the school's zone during the year, resulting in some student changing classes several weeks into the year. A student struggling with an AP class, say, may be moved out of that class to make way for a new student.

Forest Hills offer honors classes, but most classes include students with a wide range of abilities. The special programs include two that feature moot court and mock trials. The Carl Sagan Program provides student with four years of research classes in addition to science and math. In one research class, students presented an experiment and their classmates critiqued it. Other options include a health professions program culminating in internships at North Shore Medical Center and drama and music academies.

Given the thousands of teenagers in a confined space and the constant coming and going, Forest Hills appears orderly with students at work in most classes. Even the cafeteria is not as noisy as one would expect.

About two thirds of Forest Hills graduates go on to college, attending a wide range of schools. The college office has two counselors.

Special education: The school offers self-contained classes, teams teaching classes and a resource room. In one team-teaching class, the two teachers collaborated closely on a lesson about the 1960 presidential election, drawing in the students. Forest Hills says it makes a concerted effort to help special education students get regular, not IEP, diplomas.

Admissions: The majority of Forest Hills students come from its zone, although some special programs take students from elsewhere. The very popular Law and Humanities program accepts students using the education option system. Students in the Sagan program are chosen based on achievement and attendance, and the drama and music academies require an audition. (Gail Robinson, April 2012)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 3800

Average Daily Attendance 90%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
26%

Black

  
9%

Hispanic

  
32%

White

  
32%

Free Lunch

  
64%

Special ed

  
12%

English Language Learners

  
9%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.20 2.80 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

33 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

65% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

86% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

84% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

89% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

24% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many 2009 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

86% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2007 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

88% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many 2008 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

87% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen earned an advanced regents diploma within 4 years?

33% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2006 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

91% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen dropped out within 4 years?

5% 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?

29%

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

22%

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

52%

Are students ready for college?

How many 2009 freshmen graduated in four years with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?

55% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

477
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2009 freshmen graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

77%

SAT math scores

514
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?

69% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students starting school in 2008 graduated within 4 years?

75% 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students starting school in 2006 graduated within 6 years?

70% 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

67% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

98% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners starting school in 2008 graduated within 4 years?

40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners starting school in 2006 graduated within 6 years?

58% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Open to New York City residents
  2. For Q19J only: open only to Queens students or residents
  3. For Zoned Program only: priority to students who live in the zoned area

Source: High school directory

Law & Humanities Institute

Ed. Opt.

Offers opportunities to study civil, criminal and constitutional law, and English electives.

Carl Sagan Science/Math Honors Academy

Screened

This program, for Queens students or residents, offers honors-level courses in authentic science and math research and seminars in advanced mathematics and statistics.

Selection Criteria

  • English (80-100) , Math (80-100) , Science (80-100) , Social Studies (80-100)
  • Math Levels: 3-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: 3-4

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

Zoned

Zoned

Drama Academy

Audition

One-year multimedia class to be conditionally followed with a three-year advanced sequence of all aspects of theater.

Academy of Instrumental Music/Performing Arts

Audition

Instruction on all vocal, band and orchestra instruments. Beginner and intermediate band, jazz band, orchestra and percussion. Study in acting and theater communication

Academics

AP COURCES: Art History, Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Economics: Macro, English Literature and Composition, Environmental Science, French Language, Government and Politics: United States, Psychology, Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, Statistics, United States History, World History

Online: N/A

Language classes: American Sign Language, Chinese, French, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Spanish

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Amnesty International, Arista/National Honor Society, Art, Bio-Medical Journal, Chess, Chinese/Korean/Japanese, Community Service Programs, Concert Choir, Dance, Debate Team, Forester Yearbook, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Guitar, Honor Societies in Major Subjects, Indian, Jazz Band, Key Club, Latin Dance, Math Team, Mock Trial, Moot Court, Multicultural, Origami, Peer Mediation and Negotiation, Performing Arts (Broadway Production), Photography, Poetry, Russian, School Newspaper, School Newspaper (Beacon), Shakespeare, SING, Student Government, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), We The People Competition

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

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Handball, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball & JV Volleyball

Other schools sports: Scholar Athlete: In addition to PSAL eligibility requirements and regulations, Forest Hills High School, with a vision of strong academic expectations, is requiring all student athletes to maintain a minimum overall Grade Point Average of 75.

Source: High school directory

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