Academy of American Studies

An Insideschools pick
28-04 41 AVENUE
QUEENS NY 11101 Map
Phone: (718) 361-8786
Website: Click here
Admissions: educational option/screened
Principal: William Bassell
Neighborhood: Astoria/ LI City
District:30
Grade range: 9-12
Humanities & Interdisciplinary

Buses: B62, Q100, Q101, Q102, Q103, Q32, Q39, Q60, Q66, Q67, Q69

What's special:

Lots of history-oriented field trips and engaging lessons.

The downside:

Few sports and cramped quarters.

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

On a rainy day in May, students file into the former sewing machine factory that houses half of the Academy of American Studies. The teens are noticeably polite as they greet their principal, remove hats and earplugs, fold down umbrellas and funnel calmly into a hallway as narrow as two single file lines.

For the most part, students don't seem to mind the cramped quarters. "It's small," said a junior, "but we get more attention." They also get to take history-oriented trips: to Plymouth, Massachusetts when they study the colonial period, to Boston to walk the freedom trail, to Washington D.C. to see the Constitution, and to Gettysburg, for a unit on the Civil War. Even during school, movement is a feature of many lessons. "Do I look like a pilgrim?" asked a girl, in a long black skirt and a white scarf, ready to act out a scene from the Crucible. "We bring history to life," said assistant principal Mark Solkoff.

The school was founded in 1996 with support from The Gilder Lehrman Institute, a foundation that seeks to bolster the study of American history in public schools.

In addition to trips and skits, history is explored through student-made posters, timelines and charts. Much more than textbooks, students use original source documents, art, letters and political cartoons from the period. They read memoirs, graphic novels and watch films. Trips are not always directly related to history. In the journalism class, students had a chance to visit the New York Times printing plant and to sit in on an editorial meeting at People Magazine.

Students come from all over the world, and they are motivated and articulate about their goals. "I'm going to the University of Buffalo to study Biomedical Science," said a senior. Although science and math are not a major focus at the school, there are limited Advanced Placement offerings in both. The school has a range of clubs that foster leadership and self-expression – Student Government, Debate, Eagles in the Morning (a radio team), College Discovery, and Improvisational Theater.

Those with special needs are integrated and also have a voice. Skits are a good way for everyone to feel like a part of things, said a co-teacher in one of the Integrated Co-Teaching classes, which have a mix of general and special needs students. In geometry, a blind child calculated the mid-point of a triangle, like her sighted peers, but she used Braille shapes created by her unobtrusive adult assistant. Students can get extra tutoring help during and after school.

William Bassel became principal in 2011 after many years as principal of Long Island City High School. He plans to expand the number of Advanced Placement courses and is an advocate of infusing art into academics. Teachers said there is more structure under his leadership – no visible hats, cell phones, or iPods, and more formalized teacher meetings.

The school has two campuses separated by a quiet residential street. Rooms in the south campus feel packed and can get warm – although noisy air conditioners help – and hallways, offices and classrooms have pockets of clutter. In fall 2012, Academy students will have access to science labs and more space in the north campus, a building they share with Newcomer's High School. Only seniors are allowed to go out for lunch but on nice weather days everyone has access to a large asphalt yard with handball and basketball courts. There are seven sports teams. The Newcomers band is campus-wide.

College admissions: College representatives visit the school. SAT test prep is offered in the spring. Many graduates attend CUNY and SUNY schools, Syracuse, Boston, NYU, and Penn State, among others.

Admissions: The school admits three-quarters of students via the educational option method, a formula designed to attract a mix of high and low achieving students in which half of the students are selected by computer, the other half by the school. The remaining one-quarter of the students is chosen based on their grades and test scores. Tours are offered in the fall. (Lydie Raschka, May 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 810

Average Daily Attendance 93%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
30%

Black

  
8%

Hispanic

  
36%

White

  
25%

Free Lunch

  
73%

Special ed

  
8%

English Language Learners

  
3%

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

30 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

59% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

88% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

91% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

91% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

15% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many 2009 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

92% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2007 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

94% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many 2008 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

88% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

43% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2006 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

91% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen dropped out within 4 years?

3% 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?

35%

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

65%

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

44%

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?

67% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

500
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

88%

SAT math scores

501
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?

80% 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?

67% 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

65% 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?

94% 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. Priority to Queens students or residents
  2. Then to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

Intensive Academic Humanities

Screened

Integrates literature, history and art with a focus on writing.

Selection Criteria

  • English (85-100) , Math (85-100) , Science (85-100) , Social Studies (85-100)
  • Math Levels: 3-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: 3-4

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

Academy of American Studies

Ed. Opt.

A challenging program focusing on American History throughout all four grades.

Academics

AP COURSES: Art History, Biology, Calculus AB, Economics: Macro, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, European History, Government and Politics: United States, Human Geography, Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, United States History

Online: N/A

Language classes: French, Spanish

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: "Academy Gazette" Newspaper, Literary Magazine, Big Sib, Book Club, College Discovery Club, Debate Team, Eagles in the Morning Radio Show, Ecology and Environmental Concerns Club, History Club, Improvisational Theatre, International Thespian Society, Internships, Knitting, Model United Nations, Multicultural, National Honor Society, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), Senior Committee, Theatre Production Club, Step Team, Student Government, Opera Club, Blood Donation Drives

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Volleyball

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Football, Softball, Volleyball

Other schools sports: Baseball Club

Source: High school directory

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