Flushing High School
QUEENS NY 11354 Map
Flushing High School
Founded in 1875 with a class of seven, Flushing is the first public high school established in New York City. Typical of many large, urban high schools, Flushing struggles with overcrowding, low graduation rates, poor attendance and a high percentage of students who enter high school with weak academic skills.
There also are some pockets of excellence, particularly in math. Flushing’s math team consistently ranks among the best citywide. Also, an innovative geometry class designed by assistant principal of math, Gennaidy Eyshinskiy uses computer simulation to help struggling students visualize complex math concepts.
Flushing High School was slated to shut down because of low performance and reopen in September 2012 with a new name and a majority of new staff. However, legal action against the city put those plans on hold, so at least for now, Flushing will stay open, keeping its name and much of its faculty. In 2013, two new small schools moved into the building: Veritas Academy and Queens High School for Language Studies
Despite many challenges and an uncertain future, Flushing maintains a calm environment. There are no metal detectors and parents and students say the school is safe, based on their responses to the 2011-12 Learning Environment Survey. The school offers a nice selection of art and music classes as well as a full band. Students who stay on track in English classes may choose from electives such as journalism, creative writing, and play production.
Guidance counselors pay weekly visits to all freshman English classes to discuss issues ranging from study skills and anger management to career and college placement. Incoming students are given a binder filled with information laying out expectations for all four years of high school as well as continuing on to college.
The school has had a rapid turnover of leadership, with three principals in three years. Long-time principal, Cornelia Gutwein stepped down in 2010 when the city first identified Flushing as a persistently low-achieving school. Carl Hudson, a math teacher at Flushing with little administrative experience was appointed Gutwein’s successor. Hudson stepped down in June, 2012, as part of the city’s plan to reopen Flushing under a new name and leadership. Though Flushing will remain open, Hudson will not return. In July, 2012, Hudson was arrested for methamphetamine possession and pled guilty to disorderly conduct. Magdelen Radovich took the helm in September, 2012.
In 2011, Flushing reorganized its entire student body into themed academies in law, business, science, humanities, and international diplomacy. Each academy is headed by an assistant principal and has a dedicated guidance counselor. An additional program, the Renaissance Academy for Advanced Placement Studies targets high achievers. Students selected to participate will be eligible to take up to 12 Advanced Placement (AP) classes, starting with AP World History in 9th grade.
The school has been at its present site since the early 20th century. Its Gothic-style building features gargoyles perched atop a turreted façade, stained glass windows and an auditorium that could easily pass for a cathedral sanctuary, complete with vaulted ceilings and an enormous pipe organ that no longer works. Two more wings added in recent decades have transformed Flushing’s original structure into a massive facility with hallways that seem to stretch two city blocks.
The school has no sports field but teams have exclusive use of two fields within walking distance. There are two gyms and weight, cardio, and spinning rooms with professional grade equipment in the building.
College admissions: The school has full-time college advisor and a partnership with Asian Americans for Equality that sponsors trips to college campuses and provides students with help completing college applications and financial aid forms.
Special education: There are Special Education Teacher Support Services, self-contained classes for students with special needs only and Collaborative Team Teaching classes. Flushing has a large population of English language learners (ELL). Flushing offers English classes geared for ELL students and bilingual instruction in several courses, including some advanced classes for native Spanish and Chinese speakers.
Admissions: Varies by program. Students who are zoned for the school are guaranteed admission; those outside the zone are admitted according to the educational option formula designed to ensure a mix of abilities. (Laura Zingmond, November, 2008, updated, August, 2012)