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: Latourette Park
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 3363

Average Daily Attendance 90%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
13%

Black

  
11%

Hispanic

  
27%

White

  
48%

Free Lunch

  
55%

Special ed

  
20%

English Language Learners

  
2%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.67 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

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% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

80% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

97% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

28% 36% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2015

How many students graduated within 4 years?

79% 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

27% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

85% 77% 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?

12%

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

42%

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?

45% 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

490
423 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 497 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

77% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

496
431 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?

48% 48% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

60% 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?

95% 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 Staten Island 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

Scholars’ Academy

Screened

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

Selection Criteria

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

Law & Politics Institute

Screened

The Institute uses the study of law as a thematic base for developing skills.

Selection Criteria

  • English (Scores 80-100) , Social Studies (Scores 80-100)
  • 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

Music

Audition

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

Selection Criteria

  • Math Levels: Review ; English Language Arts Levels: Review

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

Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps

Ed. Opt.

The AFJROTC program fosters a sense of leadership and self-discipline in students.

Theater

Audition

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

Selection Criteria

  • Math Levels: Review ; English Language Arts Levels: Review

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

Academy of Finance

Screened

The Academy of Finance is an interdisciplinary program that combines economic and business courses with hands-on work experience.

Selection Criteria

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

Visual Arts

Audition

Encourages students to reach their potential through the creation of original work and offers basic and major courses as well as special fashion design, computer graphic design, photography, and portfolio creation.

Selection Criteria

  • Math Levels: Review ; English Language Arts Levels: Review

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

Zoned

Zoned Guarantee

Academic Comprehensive Program

Academics

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

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Clubs: African Culture, Albanian, Anime, Art, Asian Dance, Astronomy, Baking, Ballroom, 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, Karaoke, Key Club, Korean Fan and Pop, Latino, Loving Bones, Mural, Muslim, Polish, Rotary, Russia, Show Choir, Soca, Spanish, Sri Lankan; Activities: Debate Team, Federal Reserve Challenge, Financial Literacy Certification, Stock Market Challenge, Dramatic Performances, Music Concerts, Shakespeare Monologue Contest, SING, Spring Musical, Art Shows, International Trips, Library Media Center, Marching Band , Math Team, Mock Trial, National Honor Society, Student Government, Student Newspaper, Yearbook

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

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

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

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

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