Grover Cleveland High School

QUEENS NY 11385 Map
Phone: (718) 381-9600
Website: Click here
Admissions: Queens residents; ed opt Science/Math Institute
Principal: Denise Vittor
Neighborhood: Ridgewood
District: 24
Grade range: 09 thru 12
Parent coordinator: LYDIA MARTINEZ

What's special:

A lot of support for 9th-graders; many sports teams and extra-curricular activities

The downside:

Low graduation and college enrollment rates

The InsideStats


Our review

Grover Cleveland is a large high school offering a broad range of courses and extracurricular activities. Many of its students are still learning to speak English, including immigrants from Central and South America, Albania and Poland. It grapples with problems typical of large, urban schools such as low graduation rates, lagging attendance and 9th graders starting school with weak skills.

In 2011 the Department of Education identified Grover Cleveland as a poor performing school, but chose to reorganize it into small learning communities and change leadership rather than close it. Denise Vittor became principal in September, 2011. One year earlier she left her position as principal of Queens Vocational High School as part of a similar DOE plan to address that school's record of low achievement. Vittor received high marks from Grover Cleveland teachers on the 2011-12 Learning Environment Survey, though school-wide participation on the survey was low so the results only reflect the opinion of half the teaching staff.

All incoming freshmen are enrolled in the Tiger Academy designed to help new students ease into the high school experience and stay on track. It operates on a different schedule from the rest of the school and has a dedicated staff of teachers. Ninth graders spend most of their day in classrooms clustered together in a wing of the building.

Beginning in 10th grade students enroll in one of four, themed programs: Academy of Allied Health and Athletic Sciences, Academy of Business, Hospitality and Tourism, Academy of Arts and Humanities, and the Math/Science Institute. Each has its own administrators and teachers and set of elective classes. Students are expected to choose a major. For instance in Arts and Humanities, students can concentrate their studies in fine arts, drama, music or humanities. In the Math/Science Institute they can major in engineering or information technology.

Grover Cleveland was one of five schools nationwide chosen by the National Academy Foundation to pilot a program that teaches students how to create Android-based mobile applications (apps). Students create the apps on tablet and laptop computers supplied by the computer manufacturer, Lenovo.

There are numerous Advanced Placement classes and students may take college classes at La Guardia Community College. Foreign languages include Spanish, Spanish for native speakers, Polish for native speakers and Italian.

The Achieve Now program targets seniors who don't have enough credits to graduate on time and freshmen who failed most of their classes. Participants attend school from noon to 5:40 pm , taking classes in a cluster of rooms tucked away in a side hallway. Once they catch up, they transition into one of the academies, or graduate.

The massive 1930's-era building is located a few blocks from the Brooklyn border. A commute by subway is doable, but it is a long walk to the "M" and "L" lines. Facilities include three gymnasiums, an auditorium, an art room equipped with a kiln, a swimming pool, indoor track, weight training room, and an aerobic room filled with professional-grade cardio equipment. An outdoor track and field is located a few blocks away. There are no metal detectors.

There are many sports teams and a nice mix of clubs and activities such as math team, international bridge building, drama, school newspaper, Lincoln-Douglas debate and web design. Grover Cleveland hosted the New York State Science Olympiad in 2012.

Special education: There are Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS), ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) and self-contained classes. Supports for English language learners (ELL) include bilingual instruction for native Spanish speakers and ELL-concentrated classes for courses required for graduation.

College admissions: The majority of graduates who attend college enroll in CUNY schools. Many must take remedial courses at CUNY because of low scores on Regents exams, SATs or college prep courses.

Admissions: Zoned school for the general program. For the themed programs, priority goes to Queens students. Students are selected according to the educational option formula designed admit a mix of low, average and high achieving students.(Laura Zingmond, statistics, news reports and interviews, November, 2012)


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