Mathematics, Science Research and Technology Magnet High School

207- 01 116TH AVENUE
QUEENS NY 11411 Map
Phone: (718) 978-1837
Website: Click here
Admissions: Ed Opt
Principal: JOSE CRUZ
Neighborhood: Cambria Heights
District: 29
Grade range: 09 thru 12
Parent coordinator: KAREEN ARMSTRONG

What's special:

Students take college courses to prepare for careers in medicine.

The downside:

Few advanced courses; campus-wide concern for security.

The InsideStats


Our review

The Math, Science Research and Technology Magnet High School (MAST) is one of four small schools housed in the Campus Magnet building, the former home of Andrew Jackson High School, which was shut down in the mid-1990's for poor performance. Overall, MAST has the best record of achievement among the Campus Magnet schools. Though many students start school performing below grade level, the school also attracts more students with solid math and science skill than the other Campus Magnet schools.

The school offers honors classes in English and math and participates in campus-wide Advanced Placement classes, open to students in all four schools. There are College Now classes in select subjects and MAST participates in the Queens Bridges to Medicine program, where highly motivated students take courses at York College to prepare them for careers in medicine and the sciences. Spanish is the only foreign language taught.

Unlike the newer breed of small schools that were created with the support of outside organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, MAST and its sister schools in the building opened with little vision and fewer resources. After languishing for years with poor student achievement, MAST made some gains with the help of improved organization building-wide, a steady increase in its graduation rate and the best attendance rate among all schools in the building. A low percentage of students, however, are considered “college ready,” indicating that they scored high enough on state exams to avoid remedial classes at CUNY.

The entire campus was designated an Impact School in the 2006-07 school year, meaning that it was identified by the city as a facility in need of extra security. The school came off the Impact list a year later and was reorganized, with each school assigned its own dedicated space and lunch and gym periods. Unfortunately, security concerns persist, requiring students in all schools to enter the building through a single entrance in the cafeteria where they must pass through metal detectors.

The addition of a campus-wide Assistant Principal of Security in 2011 is helping the schools unify their efforts to improve student safety and the overall tone of the building. Students in all schools now wear uniforms; MAST Students wear purple polo shirts with black bottoms. “The culture of the building has changed a bit,” said a MAST teacher. “Now kids go straight to class, they don’t linger in the hallways and we know exactly who our kids are and if someone from another school is not where they’re supposed to be.”

In the 2010-11 Learning Environment survey, teachers gave low marks to the administration, with 65 percent describing the principal, Jose Cruz, as an ineffective manager. The majority of students who answered the survey felt that they were offered good academic support, although 38 percent gave low marks for safety on school grounds outside the building. Nearly half of all students said the school is not kept clean.

The Campus Magnet building is situated in a quiet, residential area surrounded by small homes. The building's early 20th century architecture exudes a pleasant and welcoming aura, boasting a stately entrance surrounded by manicured lawns, wrought iron fencing and a flag pole soaring several stories high. All four schools, which also include Humanities & Arts Magnet High School; Business, Computer Applications and Entrepreneurship; and Law, Government, and Community Service, share use of the auditorium, gym, cafeteria, newly renovated library and sports fields out back.

The school is not near any subway lines. Most students take the E or F train to the Parsons Boulevard station and transfer to a bus.

There are Special Education Teaching Support Services (SETSS), and there is a small population of English language learners who get extra help from campus-wide ESL instructors who serve students in all schools.

There are campus-wide PSAL sports including basketball, football, bowling, track, soccer, gymnastics, swimming, volleyball and softball.

College: Less than half of students who enter the school as ninth graders end up attending college, just under the citywide average. College-bound graduates usually go to two- or four- year colleges at CUNY or SUNY.

Admissions: Students are admitted according to the educational option formula designed to ensure a mix of low, average and high achieving students. (Laura Zingmond, visited November 2008; updated with interviews at high school fair, October 2011)


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