Susan E. Wagner High School

1200 MANOR ROAD
STATEN ISLAND NY 10314 Map
Phone: (718) 698-4200
Website: Click here
Admissions: Zoned school, selective programs
Principal: Gary M. Giordano
Neighborhood: North Shore
District: 31
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: Debra Rabinowitz
Humanities & Interdisciplinary
Performing Arts
Visual Art & Design
Law & Government
Zoned
Business
JROTC
Wheelchair Accessible

Buses: S54, S57, S61

What's special:

Strong arts programs; small learning centers geared to student interests; lots of clubs & activities

The downside:

Overcrowding

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Surrounded by single-family homes, well-tended athletic fields and streets lined with students' cars, sprawling Susan Wagner High School looks like a suburban school. But Wagner grapples with a big city over-crowding problem.

The school has several hundred more students than it was designed for, and class size pushes up against the contractual limit of 34 students. Despite the crowding, Wagner gets high marks for safety and does well on the city's various measures, consistently getting A's on its progress reports.

"One of the challenges for big schools is breaking it down for kids to make sure no one gets lost in the shuffle," says longtime principal Gary Giordano. With that in mind, Wagner is divided into 15 learning centers, or small communities, each with its own theme, assistant principal and guidance counselor.

Students may take classes with students from other centers, and many of the specialized offerings, such as music or introduction to art, are open to all.

The school day is slightly staggered with some students arriving at 7:25 am and others at around 8:15. Most students have an eight-period day, with seniors generally having the earlier schedule. There is an extended day program for students who have failed Regents exams.

Wagner is racially diverse, reflecting the surrounding community. In the large, bright cafeteria, kids seem to mix, but unfortunately this diversity does not show up in all classrooms. The honors Scholars Academy is predominately white and Asian, while other programs have a larger percentage of black and Latino students.

The quality of classes and student work varies widely. A 10th grade global history class was lively and informative, as students, studying the drive for African independence, discussed nationalism, in the U.S. as well as Africa. In some other classes, such as an introductory language course, attention lagged, with several students clearly distracted or whispering to one another. Classrooms are largely traditionally organized -- desks in rows, instructor at the front -- but lessons can be innovative and creative.

Arts classes in particular seemed energetic. In the school black box theater, students walked through a scene from "Our Town," doing it repeatedly in response to guidance from their animated teacher. The concert band focused intently on practicing for an upcoming performance.

Most classes include students with a range of academic abilities. Wagner requires all entering students to take a learning style survey and frequently breaks classes into groups, according to either skill level or learning style putting all students who like to build things in one group, for example. Students coming in with low English or math scores are placed in smaller classes until they pass the Regents exam. There is also an extended day program for students who don't pass Regents.

Giordano says the school firmly adheres to the "broken windows approach," holding students accountable for even minor disciplinary lapses. In 2011-12, Wagner gave out about 700 suspensions, the  highest number in the city. Three infractions of even relatively minor rules, such as the ban on hats, result in detention; a student who skips detention faces suspension.

Students going to the cafeteria at lunch must swipe their cards and then sign out if they wish to go to the bathroom. There is little tolerance for lateness, and deans patrol hallways making sure students get to class on time. There are few, if any students in corridors during class.

Students seem relatively satisfied. "Every school has its negative points but it's one of the better schools on Staten Island," a sophomore told us.

Along with a wide selection of courses, including Latin, opera, journalism, forensics and an array of Advanced Placement classes, Wagner has an active student government, abour three dozen sports teams and many extracurricular activities. Students have taken trips to Spain, France, Italy and Costa Rica.

"The opportunities are here," says Parent Coordinator Debbi Rabinowitz, "Whether they all take advantage of it is hard to say, but you try to find something to pique their interest."

College: College Now courses are widely available. The school has a widely praised college and career office with a full-time counselor and two other staff members. Counselor Jessica O'Connell says she works with all students, from those applying to Yale to those seeking a GED, doing "whatever it is I can do to help them find their slot." About 82 percent of Wagner graduates go on to college, with four-year SUNY and CUNY schools the most popular choices.

Special education: The school has one learning center -- Vocational Preparatory -- geared toward students with severe disabilities. These students do not take Regents classes but are integrated into school life as much as possible, Giordano says. The school has about 70 team teaching classes as well as self-contained classes for students with special needs. The self-contained classes all have two teachers so the class can be larger -- and therefore seem more like a "regular" class -- and to allow teachers to cover for one another.

Admission: Staten Island priority. Eight of the 15 learning centers accept zoned and unzoned students based on various criteria including middle schools grades and test scores and auditions. Students who are admitted to the zoned program choose their specialty before starting 9th grade.(Gail Robinson, April 2013)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 3461

Average Daily Attendance 90%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
13%

Black

  
11%

Hispanic

  
26%

White

  
49%

Free Lunch

  
56%

Special ed

  
20%

English Language Learners

  
3%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.66 2.40 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

32 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

62% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

91% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

80% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

93% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

25% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2014

How many students graduated within 4 years?

84% 73% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

81% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many students graduated within 4 years?

81% 65% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

26% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

84% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

7% 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?

15%

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

44%

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

35%

Are students ready for college?

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

41% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

482
418 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 497 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

73% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

492
426 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 513 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 graduated within 4 years?

53% 47% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

48% 54% 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?

93% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

37% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

56% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Priority to Staten Island students or residents
  2. Then to New York City residents
  3. For Zoned program only: priority to students who live in the zoned area

Source: High school directory

Academy of Finance

Screened

The Academy of Finance is an interdisciplinary program combining economic and business courses with real hands-on working experience.

Selection Criteria

  • English (80-100) , Math (80-100) , Science (80-100) , Social Studies (80-100)
  • 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

Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps

Ed. Opt.

The Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program is designed to foster a sense of leadership and self-discipline in students.

Law & Politics Institute

Screened

The Institute is designed to use the study of law as a thematic base for developing skills.

Selection Criteria

  • English (80-100) , Math (80-100) , Science (80-100) , Social Studies (80-100)
  • 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

Scholarsï¾’ Academy

Screened

The goal of the Scholarsï¾’ Academy is to provide students of outstanding ability and potential with an enriched program which emphasizes inquiry, critical thinking and research skills.

Selection Criteria

  • English (90-100) , Math (90-100) , Science (90-100) , Social Studies (90-100)
  • 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

Music

Audition

Instrumental courses for beginning and experienced students including: symphonic, jazz, concert, intermediate, beginning and marching bands; beginning and advanced guitar, and beginning piano. Students of all levels have the opportunity to perform in the chorus, SING, and the spring musical.

Visual Arts

Audition

In addition to basic and major art courses, we offer special courses in fashion design, computer graphic design, photography, and portfolio creation. Students are pushed to reach their potential through the creation of original work.

Theater

Audition

A comprehensive program of study which includes all aspects of theater. Courses include: acting, stage design, musical theater, directing and playwriting. In addition to the annual spring musical, students may showcase their talents in SING, holiday and spring shows and dramatic theater productions.

Zoned

Zoned

Academic Comprehensive Program

Academics

AP COURSES: Biology, Calculus AB, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, French Language and Culture, Human Geography, Spanish Language and Culture, Statistics, United States Government and Politics, United States History, World History

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Clubs: African Culture, Albanian, Anime, Art, Asian Dance, Astronomy, Belly Dance, Bengali, Celtic Society, Christian, Creative Writing, Egyptian, Explorers, French, Future Engineers of America, Gay-Straight Alliance, Girl Up, Horticultural, Indian Dance, Italian, IUVO, Jewish, Karaoke, Key Club, Korean Fan and Pop, Latino, Loving Bones, Mural, Muslim, Polish, Rotary, Russia, Show Choir, Soca, Spanish, Sri Lankan, Step Team and Twirlers; Activities: Debate Team, Drama Performances, Federal Reserve Challenge, Financial Literacy Certification, Holiday and Spring Concerts and Art Shows, International Festival, International Trips, Library Media Center, Marching Band Parades, Math Team, Mock Trial, National Honor Society, Paid Internships, Shakespeare Monologue Contest, SING, Spring Musical, Stock Market Challenge, Student Government, Student Newspaper, Yearbook

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

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

Other schools sports: Cheerleading, Dance Company, Steppers, Twirlers

Source: High school directory

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