Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design

An Insideschools pick
257 NORTH 6 STREET
BROOKLYN NY 11211 Map
Phone: (718) 388-1260
Website: Click here
Admissions: Limited unscreened, Brooklyn priority
Principal: Gill Cornell
Neighborhood: Williamsburg/ Greenpoint
District: 14
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: Lai Sin Chu
Architecture

Buses: B24, B32, B39, B44, B44-SBS, B46, B48, B60, B62, Q54, Q59

What's special:

Preservation arts program; students learn drafting and computer design.

The downside:

No music; Spanish is only foreign language.

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design is one small school that lives up to its theme. Students follow a rigorous four year curriculum in preservation arts, engineering and architecture, from drafting, mixing mortar and concrete to learning sophisticated computer programs used by professional architects. The school accepts students of all abilities and gets them to succeed.

In 9th grade students begin drawing with t-squares, and are introduced to the computer design program CAD. In later years, they get experience working with electrical wiring systems and building with different materials, including concrete, stone and wood.

"What makes us unique is we have the studio experience," said Principal Gill Cornell, himself an English teacher who came to Architecture as assistant principal in 2008. A graduate of Staten Island Tech High School, he first wanted to become an engineer like his father, and the school's theme resonates with him. When he became principal in 2009, he introduced the historic preservation program that he knew from his time at Brooklyn High School of the Arts. The historic preservation curriculum is supported by the New Jersey Institute of Technology and it quickly brought in paid internships for students, he said.

Science courses are interwoven with the school's theme. In a building science class, juniors travel locally and to Philadelphia to look at building deterioration and learn about upkeep, taking photos of what they see. "Look out the window, that's your laboratory," a science teacher with a PhD in cell biology told his class.

As a limited unscreened school, Architecture gets students of all abilities, including many with special needs who are integrated in the classrooms. There are a handful of AP courses, including art, calculus and English. The visual arts program is particularly strong and some projects are connected to the building trades and restoration.

Struggling students are taught by the most experienced teachers and the two assistant principals. Students who fail a course repeat it in "night school", held in the afternoon from about 3 to 5 p.m.

There is no music program, and Spanish is the only foreign language. Cornell is working to get the school certified as a CTE (Career and Technical Education school).

High attendance is achieved by offering incentives and a staff member who calls and send letters to every family whose child is absent or late to school. The principal also credits the friendly environment. "If this feels like a home to them, we get consistency in the classroom," he said.

The graduation rate is high and nearly 90 percent of graduates go to either two or four year colleges, including art and technical schools close to home, the principal said. By the Education Department's calculation, using Regents scores as a baseline, just over 5 percent of graduates were deemed college-ready. But, says the principal, 50 percent stay in college, and that's about the city average.

There is no dedicated college counselor but there are three guidance counselors, each of whom follows a grade for four years.

The Van Arsdale building is shared with Brooklyn Prep and Williamsburg Prep. Each school has its own floor with science labs on the top floor. Principals meet weekly but if an issue arrives, "it's just a two minute walk to see another principal," said Cornell. Shared facilities include the gym, a dance studio, a small cafeteria and an auditorium. Students may play on the same sports teams and say they get along well.

Located in an increasingly safe and gentrifying area of Williamsburg, student must nevertheless pass through metal detectors on their way into the building. The principal approves, saying it keeps the school safe.

In an attempt to boost parent involvement – an average PTA meeting has only about 8 parents -- parents are expected to collaborate with their children on in-school projects twice a year.

Admissions: Limited unscreened. Priority to Brooklyn. (Pamela Wheaton, April 2012)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

Harry Van Arsdale Educational Campus

Number of Students 579

Average Daily Attendance 90%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? Yes

Students at this school

Asian

  
2%

Black

  
35%

Hispanic

  
59%

White

  
3%

Free Lunch

  
82%

Special ed

  
26%

English Language Learners

  
7%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.31 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

31 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

98% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

94% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

100% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

94% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

27% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2014

How many students graduated within 4 years?

91% 73% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

88% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many students graduated within 4 years?

90% 65% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

27% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

90% 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?

0%

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

13%

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

38%

Are students ready for college?

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

28% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

415
418 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 497 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

65% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

429
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?

95% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

67% 47% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

81% 54% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 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 Brooklyn students or residents who attend an information session
  2. Then to New York City residents who attend an information session
  3. Then to Brooklyn students or residents
  4. Then to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

Architecture and Design

Limited Unscreened

Introduction to historic architectural preservation, architecture, engineering and design concepts. Students participate in a professional internship and college portfolio review.

Academics

AP COURSES: Calculus AB, English Language and Composition, Human Geography, Spanish Language and Culture, United States History

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Students organize to establish clubs that interest them. Students have organized clubs such as the video game club, architecture club, photography club, peer tutoring, and skateboarding club. WHSAD invites honor roll students to free incentive field trips at the end of each marking period. Past trips have included court-side seats to a Brooklyn Nets basketball game, ice skating at Central Park, as well as Broadway plays and musicals.

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Handball, Indoor Track, JV Basketball, Outdoor Track, Volleyball

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Softball, Volleyball

Other schools sports: Cheerleading, Co-ed Soccer Club, Dance, Girls Flag Football, Step

Source: High school directory

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