Frederick Douglass Academy

An Insideschools pick
An Insideschools pick for Special Education
2581 7TH AVENUE
MANHATTAN NY 10039 Map
Phone: (212) 491-4107
Website: Click here
Admissions: screened District 5 preference
Principal: Joseph Gates
Neighborhood: Harlem
District: 5
Grade range: 6-12
Parent Coordinator: YVETTE MCKENZIE
Humanities & Interdisciplinary
Science & Math
Screened

Buses: Bx13, Bx19, Bx6, M1, M10, M102, M2, M3, M7

What's special:

A plethora of AP courses, electives, sports and arts

The downside:

Some silliness and crude language in classes

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Few public schools in New York City offer the range of academics, arts and enrichment programs that Frederick Douglass Academy does. Students may study Japanese and Latin, grow plants in a roof garden, travel abroad, and take a significant number of Advanced Placement classes. Coursework is accelerated, and students may take as many as four Regents exams by the time they finish 8th grade. There are also strong electives in the arts and internships in engineering. Some graduates go on to Ivy League schools, often with substantial scholarships.

Longtime Principal Gregory Hodges retired in December 2013. His replacement, Joseph Gates, comes from IS 238 in Queens where he was principal for 12 years. Gates has brought many new initiatives to the school and has the support of the staff and students.

Photographs of student trips to diverse destinations around the world – from South Africa to Greece – bedeck bulletin boards of the school hallways. The school sends kids to other countries every year, with trips to Japan sponsored by Jet Blue and a Japanese airline that was impressed that African American students were learning Japanese. Many students are able to go for free.

On our visit, we saw students engaged in lively class discussions and teachers who seemed to be passionate and committed. In middle school English, the teacher prepping students for state tests said, “Don't think ‘ELA exam.’ Think that you are in a room with college professors. How would you apply ‘supportive features’ with sophisticated language?” We saw 6th-graders using words like “myriad,” “vast” and “copious.”

Seventh-grade living environment students hypothesized about what the children of an orange-skinned mother and blue-skinned father would look like.

In high school, history lessons spanned the globe, from failed Marxist revolts to the Sepoy Mutiny in India. Teachers took the time to break down terminology, such as “Pan-Slavic,” and offered interesting anecdotes to make the lessons more relevant. In AP calculus, the veteran teacher asked students to put up their hands if they knew the answer before saying, “Great, now I will call on the ones with their hands down.” One student told us, "You can't hide here. Participation is part of the grade.”

In aviation class, the teacher asked, “What does airplane engine have that car engine doesn’t? “  A young lady responded," Dual engine ignition.” Most students were engaged, a few lost.

FDA students are expected to be more independent as they progress through high school. There is more teacher-directed content in regular high school classes, while in AP classes students are encouraged to take the lead. Most AP courses are a mix of juniors and seniors with some sophomores. Homework averages about two hours a night, but some seniors in AP courses say they study between three and five hours a night. More than 50 percent of students do well enough on their AP exams to receive college credit.

FDA excels in college counseling. The Posse Foundation, which sends young people to top universities like Harvard and Stanford, regularly picks FDA students for scholarships. There are three full-time college counselors and guidance counselors. Students say the office is often jam-packed with kids who aspire to college, and that it is relatively common for students to apply to more than a dozen institutions.

Uniforms (blue shirts for middle school and white for high school) have been a sensitive issue for parents who complain that the code is too strict. Deans do class rotations twice a period to check whether students’ uniforms are in compliance.

The school has a “zero tolerance” policy regarding fights, meaning that if you fight, you’re out. Occasionally, fights occur after school between students at FDA and neighboring schools. To avoid this, deans and school officers keep an eye out on campus and on the walk to trains and buses that students use for travel to make sure there are no altercations.

The hallways are generally orderly, even as students move from class to class. Horseplay, while not entirely absent, appears limited. We saw a boy throw a young lady’s shoe into the hall and heard a few students use poor language in robotics. However, most classes are well managed. Participating in student government has helped middle schoolers in particular take more responsibility for their actions on campus by giving them a voice in school affairs.

Offerings in art, music and dance are available after school and on Saturdays. Sports include taekwondo, lacrosse, fencing and Aviation club, just to name a few. There is a newly constructed radio station in collaboration with WBLS. The school has a fully staffed medical and dental office.

Special education: FDA offers Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) and self-contained classes. Specific Regents prep for special needs and one-on-one tutoring are offered. The school goes to great lengths to ensure that all students have the skills they need to succeed by the time they graduate. Middle school years are spent paying close attention to specific areas of concern. By 9th-grade, the hope is that all special ed students can be integrated into ICT classes in the four major subjects, with the goal of being fully mainstreamed with resource room time for senior year. FDA's graduation rates for special ed students are way above the city average.

Admissions: District 5 only for middle school. For high school, preference is for District 5 students with 3s or 4s on standardized tests and for current middle school students who placed the school on their application. Students with lower scores and those outside the district may still get in. (Jamaal Abdul-Alim and Jacquie Wayans, February 2014)

Middle InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares a building with PS 200

Number of Students 1409

Average Daily Attendance 89%

Uniforms? NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
2%

Black

  
71%

Hispanic

  
23%

White

  
2%

Free Lunch

  
71%

Special ed

  
12%

English Language Learners

  
3%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.49 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?

41% 49% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

63% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

63% 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?

31% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

11% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

22% 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:

7% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 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:

0% 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:

0% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 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:

0% 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 a building with PS 200

Number of Students 1409

Average Daily Attendance 89%

Uniforms? Yes

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
2%

Black

  
71%

Hispanic

  
23%

White

  
2%

Free Lunch

  
71%

Special ed

  
12%

English Language Learners

  
3%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.49 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?

86% 74% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

63% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

73% 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?

31% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2015

How many students graduated within 4 years?

70% 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

21% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

89% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

6% 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?

19%

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

6%

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

36%

Are students ready for college?

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

33% 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

452
424 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 495 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

82% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

463
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?

33% 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

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

Screened

This Academy will prepare students for college studies and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine. Students will have access to elective courses such as Robotics, Aeronautics/Aviation, Anatomy & Physiology and Forensic Science. Students are expected to take a minimum of two AP or CUNY College Now courses for which they are eligible and may include AP Calculus, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry and AP Physics.

Selection Criteria

  • English (Scores 61-100) , Math (Scores 64-100) , Science (Scores 65-100) , Social Studies (Scores 62-100)
  • Math Levels: Levels 1.8-4.5 ; English Language Arts Levels: Levels 1.8-4.5

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

Frederick Douglass Academy for the Humanities (FDAH)

Screened

This Academy will prepare students for their choice of college studies and careers. Students are expected to take a minimum of two AP or CUNY College Now courses for which they are eligible which may include AP United States History, AP Microeconomics, AP European History, AP English, AP Spanish, AP French and AP Latin.

Selection Criteria

  • English (Scores 65-100) , Math (Scores 61-100) , Science (Scores 60-100) , Social Studies (Scores 65-100)
  • Math Levels: Levels 1.8-4.5 ; English Language Arts Levels: Levels 1.8-4.5

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

Academics

AP COURSES: AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science, AP Economics, AP English, AP European History, AP Physics, AP Spanish, AP Statistics

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Art, Dance, Music, Chorus, Drama, Chess, Gardening, Debate, Karate, Sports, Student Government, School Radio, School Newspaper; BOTA, NY Greenhouse, Hydroponic & Horticulture Programs; Maroon & Gold Beautification Team, White & Blue Sustainability Team; National Honor Society; Hayden Math & Science Programs; Science Scholars,Leadership for Life Program; domestic and international travels (e.g. Florida, Nashville, Canada, Brazil, Japan, China, Egypt, Ghana, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Ireland)

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Fencing, Football, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Fencing, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling

Other schools sports: Basketball (JV), Capoeira, Cheerleading, Double Dutch, Indoor Soccer, Martial Arts, Step, Table Tennis, Wrestling

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

Comments

Please post comments

  • Give specific examples. Tell us why this school rocks (or doesn't)
  • No profanity. No racial or ethnic slurs. No personal attacks
  • Criticism is fine but don't be nasty.
  • Flag inappropriate comments. (Hover your cursor over comments to see flag)