Curtis High School

An Insideschools pick
105 HAMILTON AVENUE
STATEN ISLAND NY 10301 Map
Phone: (718) 390-1800
Website: Click here
Admissions: neighborhood school/integration variance
Principal: AURELIA CURTIS
Neighborhood: North Shore
District: 31
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: THOMAS HEPWORTH
Humanities & Interdisciplinary
Performing Arts
Health Professions
Computer Science & Technology
Visual Art & Design
Law & Government
Zoned
Communications
JROTC
Wheelchair Accessible
Screened

Buses: S40, S42, S44, S46, S48, S52, S61, S62, S66, S74, S76, S78

What's special:

Powerhouse sports, with strong school spirit.

The downside:

Crowded school building.

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

In a century-old building on grounds with lawns and tall trees, Curtis High School draws a wide mix of Staten Islanders to its varied offerings. From rigorous academics to top-notch arts education and city-champion sports, the school is thriving, complicated, crowded, and lively. The school is divided into 10 "houses," which allow Curtis' 2,600 students to find niches, yet take advantage of school-wide offerings typical of a large, urban school, such as teams, clubs, and student publications.

All students take comparable basic academics, but may focus on computer science and technology, journalism, or performing and visual arts in programs that do not have auditions or minimum academic requirements. Other programs, including an International Baccalaureate/honors program, an international study program (that often includes overseas travel), and a nursing program, all accept students based on academic records and test scores. Curtis’ (Navy) Junior Officer Reserve Training Corps program enrolls about 60 students a year. Many seniors have a shortened day, having completed their graduation requirements.

Many faculty and staff are Curtis graduates. One guidance counselor we spoke with estimated that 40 percent of the adults working at the school were once Curtis students. Curtis’ popular principal, Aurelia Curtis, continues to teach, working daily with some of the school’s most at-risk students, and is a strong, dynamic leader, according to teachers at the school. Sports are “huge” in the school’s culture – of the school’s 2,600 students, over 1,500 are involved in sports teams.

With numerous musical groups, from guitar ensembles to jazz and symphonic bands, dance companies, and more, the school extends ample opportunities to motivated students. There are 16 Advanced Placement classes and a challenging International Baccalaureate program, which leads to a diploma recognized by many colleges and universities around the world provide a breadth of academic challenge. At the same time, most students arrive performing below grade level and the majority of graduates still need some remedial classes in college, according to CUNY standards.

There are some self-contained classes, but special-needs students are most often mainstreamed into general education classes.

Demand for the school is strong, guidance counselors say, and the building is crowded, at 130% of its official capacity. To help improve the flow of students in the building, the school staggers the time that students begin and end their school days.

Safety concerns at the school surface with regularity, including a 2011 incident that involved a conflict that began off-campus and included a student carrying a knife into the school building -- there are no permanent metal detectors. A minority of students come from challenging domestic circumstances, guidance counselors say – their life at school may be the most stable and predictable element in their complicated lives. Discipline at school is benevolent but instant: conflicts and fights are stopped “within 30 seconds,” a guidance counselor said, and “nothing lingers. We’re a family.”

Admissions: Interested students should apply by program on the high school application, ranking their most desired "houses" higher on the list. The nursing, International Baccalaureate, and School for International Service programs are selective, with admissions based on academic record, attendance, and standardized test scores.

This school is included in New York City's Best Public High Schools. (Helen Zelon, October 2006, updated October 2011)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 2396

Average Daily Attendance 89%

Uniforms? Yes

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
7%

Black

  
39%

Hispanic

  
34%

White

  
20%

Free Lunch

  
72%

Special ed

  
19%

English Language Learners

  
6%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.80 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

23 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

50% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

80% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

69% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

52% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

25% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many students graduated within 4 years?

79% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

76% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many students graduated within 4 years?

74% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

18% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

76% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates 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?

21%

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

36%

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

31%

Are students ready for college?

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

38% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

472
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

58% 62% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

470
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?

70% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

41% 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

52% 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

98% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

95% 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 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

Computer Business Institute

Unscreened

E-Commerce & Web Design or Co-Op Education. Courses lead to Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification in Word, Excel, PowerPoint & Access. Web Design students take Dreamweaver and courses that lead to Web certification.

Legal Studies & Law Enforcement

Unscreened

Provides a basic understanding of law and our role as citizens in the justice system. Students interact with speakers from the legal world, including district attorneys, judges and special legal services like the FBI.

International Baccalaureate/Scholarship Honors Program

Screened

Program offers a challenging curriculum in the Arts and Sciences. All students are expected to take a minimum of 4 Advanced Placement (AP) classes during high school and 6 IB exams. Scholarship school-based entrance exam is given.

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

Journalism Institute

Unscreened

Program offers students opportunities to explore the following: writing, layout, photojournalism, documentary film, broadcasting & print production; annually publishes 10 newspapers, a yearbook and literary magazine; partnerships with local media.

Naval Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps

Ed. Opt.

Navy Junior ROTC is a leadership and citizenship training program co-sponsored by the Department of Education and the United States Navy. The curriculum is divided into three areas: academic, military skills and physical fitness.

Practical Nursing/Nursing Assistant/Medical Technology

Screened

1,514 hours of clinical and classroom studies prepare students for NYS Certification as Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Nursing Assistant (NA) program prepares students to take national performance/written exams for NYS Public Health Department Certification

Selection Criteria

  • English (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

Performing Arts

Unscreened

Program provides the opportunity for study in Music, Theatre & Dance. Courses: Acting, Tech Theater & Stage Management, Dance, AP & IB Music Theory, IB Theatre. Music ensembles: Orchestra, Symphonic, Concert and Jazz Bands, Guitar and Chorus.

School for International Services

Screened

This program offers study towards a Regents diploma (Advanced Designation), while taking advantage of foreign exchange/foreign study to broaden awareness of global issues. At least 2 AP courses required. Study of 2 foreign languages recommended.

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

Visual Arts

Unscreened

Students will develop their creative and intellectual potential through sequential offerings that provide instruction ranging from fine arts to graphic arts. Courses: Painting, Drawing, Ceramics, Graphic Design, Photography, AP & IB Art

Zoned

Zoned

Academic Comprehensive Program

Academics

AP COURSES: Art History, Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, European History, French Language and Culture, Italian Language and Culture, Music Theory, Physics B, Spanish Language and Culture, Statistics, Studio Art: Drawing, United States History

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Arista, Art, ASPIRA, Awareness Clubs (Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Women’s Black, Hispanic, AIDS) Book Club, Chess, Conflict Resolution, Cranial Crunch, Curtis Alliance, Dance, Fashion, Foreign Exchange, Jazz, Journalism/Yearbook, Jr. Statesmen of America, Key Club, Law, Literary Magazine, Mathematics, Mock Trial and Debate Teams, Moot Court, Naval JROTC Drill Team, Newman Club, Newspaper, Nursing, Peer Mediation, Robotics, Simpson’s Stonecutters, Student Government, Symphonic and Concert Bands, Theatre Arts, Video, Vocal and Guitar Ensembles

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, Double Dutch, Golf, Handball, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball & JV Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball & JV Volleyball, Wrestling

Other schools sports: Cheerleading, Dynasty Step Team

Source: High school directory

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