Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School

91-30 METROPOLITAN AVENUE
QUEENS NY 11375 Map
Phone: (718) 286-3500
Website: Click here
Admissions: Priority District 28
Principal: Damon McCord
Neighborhood: Forest Hills
District: 28
Grade range: 6-12
Parent Coordinator: CINDY PACHECO
Humanities & Interdisciplinary

Buses: BM5, Q11, Q21, Q23, Q52, Q53, Q54, Q55, QM12, QM15

What's special:

Interesting field projects; interdisciplinary approach

The downside:

May not appeal to those seeking a traditional curriculum.

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Launched in 2010, Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School believes in hands-on learning in the classroom and beyond. The school sends its students out across the city and brings in experts to give subjects, particularly math, science and technology, a real-life relevance.

The school is the brainchild of co-principals Pat Finley and Damon McCord who wanted to provide Queens middle and high school students with an education that’s not focused on textbooks. The 11 expeditionary schools in New York City are run in partnership with the organization Outward Bound.

Most work, particularly in the middle school, is organized around two or three "expeditions" a year, all interdisciplinary and many involving sustainability. A project on building a better taxicab had students collecting pollution data in math and studying different types of engines in science. The 6th graders then designed engines, with help from Cooper Union students. In the expedition entitled “Invaders” children learned about Genghis Khan in social studies and invasive species in science. As part of their work, students mapped and trapped the Asian longhorn beetle in parks. That study extended to physical education as the students learned about viruses and played a game pitting HIV against T-cells.

In most classes we visited, students seemed engaged and enthusiastic about fieldwork. In English for, example, they eagerly sought out instructions in preparation for interviews they would conduct with immigrants. Students seems a bit less involved as they studied a diagram of the reproduction system as part of their consideration of birth control pioneer Margaret Sangers in the "Great Power, Great Responsibility "expedition.

The school focuses on character development. Every student is a member of a group, called a CREW, consisting of about 16 classmates and a teacher. Every day starts with a CREW meeting. One of the most anticipated CREW events is a five-day back packing trip for 6th graders that includes an overnight hike, and ropes courses. One student told us, "You don’t have to be a nature person to really enjoy the trip."

Some parents may worry that the field experiences could come at the expense of more traditional work. "We do think this type of learning works well with all students," McCord says, "but it may not work well with all families." However the co-principals say MELS students have done well on tests so far, due, they think, to the school's emphasis on literacy and delving deeper into subjects, such as science. The school is grappling with how to mesh Regents requirements and Advanced Placement classes with field experiences, but does plan to provide AP courses. High school students do a bit less fieldwork than middle school students.

The Queens Metropolitan campus in Forest Hills is new, bright and inviting. MELS shares the building with Queens Metropolitan High School and a District 75 school for students with disabilities.

Special education: MELS offers team teaching classes and services for special education students in regular classes. It also has some self-contained classes. Students in those have a CREW, take art and physical education with the general education students, and do some expeditions.

Admission: The middle school is open to District 28 students, with few, if any, openings for those outside the district. Most middle school students stay on for high school, leaving hardly any slots for incoming 9th graders. Priority for those goes to Queens residents who attend an open house. (Gail Robinson, February 2013)

Middle InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the Metropolitan Educational Campus with two other schools

Number of Students 829

Average Daily Attendance 95%

Uniforms? NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
17%

Black

  
18%

Hispanic

  
39%

White

  
20%

Free Lunch

  
62%

Special ed

  
19%

English Language Learners

  
2%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.59 2.59 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


1 = Far below grade level 2 = Below grade level 3 = At grade level 4 = Above grade level

Safety & vibe

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students say this school offers enough programs to keep them interested?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE KIDS NICE?

How many students complain about bullying?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students say students at their school respect one another?

69% 49% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

98% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

NA 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students are chronically absent?

12% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam

31% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam

44% hi 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS Prep

How many 8th graders pass high school regents exams?

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass the algebra regents:

10% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass a science regents:

13% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How do graduates do in 9th grade?

Percent who pass all their classes freshman year:

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

0% 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

4% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

0% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

9% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

7% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

7% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 18% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the Metropolitan Educational Campus with two other schools

Number of Students 829

Average Daily Attendance 95%

Uniforms? Yes

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
17%

Black

  
18%

Hispanic

  
39%

White

  
20%

Free Lunch

  
62%

Special ed

  
19%

English Language Learners

  
2%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.59 2.39 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


1 = Far below grade level 2 = Below grade level 3 = At grade level 4 = Above grade level

Middle school students reading at grade level:

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Middle school students doing math at grade level:

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Safety & vibe

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

79% 74% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

98% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

92% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

12% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2015

How many students graduated within 4 years?

NA 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

NA 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

NA 9% 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?

NA

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

NA

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

NA

Are students ready for college?

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

NA 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

NA
424 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 495 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

NA
432 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 511 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

Is the guidance counseling helpful?

How many students say that this school provides helpful counseling on college or job-seeking?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

NA 48% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

NA 57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

48% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

56% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School

Limited Unscreened

Academics

AP COURSES: AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP Spanish, AP US Government and Politics

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Crew, Academic Support, Music, Yearbook, Outdoor Expeditions, Robotics, Speech and Debate, Student Government, Theatre, Visual Arts, Boatworks, Green Team, Yoga

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball, Wrestling

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Cross Country, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Volleyball

Other schools sports: Soccer, Track

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

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