High School of Applied Communication
QUEENS NY 11101 Map
High School of Applied Communication
At the High School of Applied Communications students write, use technology, and converse to get their ideas across. Round tables spark old-fashioned, face-to-face interactions. “If you’re an effective communicator, you’ll be better off at work and in college,” said Principal Dan Korb, who sets a welcoming tone at this diverse, safe, orderly school.
Students and staff agree that the school’s small size promotes strong teacher-student bonds. Students reel off the names their favorites from among the young, upbeat, male and female staff. Routines provide continuity and there is little misbehavior. “We’re firm but fair,” said assistant principal Amy DeMarco. The social worker phones the home of every child who is absent.
Aside from the typical array of high school classes and three advanced placement courses, in U.S. History, English Literature, and European History, the school offers a few opportunities that fit the applied communications theme. There is an on-again, off-again journalism class with plans to publish an online newspaper. Students may become certified in Adobe and Microsoft Office in the computer design class. And together with Magic Box Productions, 10th graders learn to tell stories on film. The process of interviewing and shooting footage for documentaries has been so much fun that staff said English language learners are not aware of how much their English skills improve – until it shows up on test scores.
Staff share a common planning period each week to discuss lessons and student progress. Teachers strive to ensure that the lessons in one class support the lessons in another. The computer teacher, for example, may follow a theme in Global Studies by asking his students to create a brochure about Egypt or Spain. In most classrooms, we saw teachers roam around and crouch to eye level to expand the learning by asking “how” and “why” questions.
The number of students who score 65 percent or higher on Regent’s exams is on the rise, but there’s still a lag in math and science, although there are extra periods of algebra for 9th graders, just as there are extra periods of English. Korb hopes a second science teacher will provide additional support and help boost scores even more. Extra science classes include anatomy and forensics.
An industrious art teacher and her students use the hallways as a canvas for flowers and bugs and portraits of school personnel. There is no music, aside from band club and “open mic” night. After school activities include student government, art, drama, dance team, technology, book club and peer tutoring.
HSAC is on the 5th floor of a beautifully renovated office building that is also home to Bard Early College and Academy of Finance and Enterprise, with whom it shares a cafeteria. HSAC has a tiny gym, but the campus as a whole has boys' and girls’ basketball, cross-country, track and field, wrestling, and a strong girls’ Rugby team.
Special education: Team-taught classes, which include children with special needs, are on each grade level. A drawback for the few children in wheelchairs is that the elevators occasionally break down and get very crowded after 9th period. However, students with special needs seemed to be fully integrated into activities.
College admissions: The majority of the graduates attend SUNY or CUNY schools like Borough of Manhattan Community College, LaGuardia or Stonybrook. Private school acceptances have included St. Johns University and Savannah College of Art and Design.
Admissions: Admissions to the school is open citywide and based on the educational option formula. (Lydie Raschka, May 2012)