William Cullen Bryant High School
QUEENS NY 11103 Map
William Cullen Bryant High School
William Cullen Bryant is a large, comprehensive high school with academic programs in business, math and science research, humanities, and law. It offers students a nice selection of electives, sports and extra-curricular activities, but faces tough challenges including low graduation rates and many students arriving ill-prepared for high school work. Bryant has many recent immigrants and English language learners.
In 2011, the Department of Education (DOE) identified Bryant as a low performing school. Rather than close the school, the DOE chose to reorganize it into small learning communities and appoint a new principal, Namita Dwarka who is a graduate of Bryant and a former assistant principal of Art and Design High School. A year later the DOE changed course, deciding to close Bryant at the end of 2011-12 and then reopen in it in September 2012 under a new name, headed by Dwarka but removing half the staff. Legal action against the city put those plans on hold so Bryant remains open, keeping its name and much of its faculty.
Staff interviewed at the high school fair said that Bryant is much calmer since the reorganization. However there are some tensions between administration and staff over Dwarka’s efforts to remove teachers she considered inadequate. Responses to the Learning Environment Survey show that half the faculty supports Dwarka and half find her ineffective. Students and staff say the school is safe and it has no metal detectors.
Bryant is organized into six academies. Most 9th-graders enroll in the freshman academy designed to help ease students’ transition to high school. Freshmen Academy students attend daily advisory classes that focus on developing social and study skills. Starting in 10th grade, students enroll in one of the four themed programs. Recent immigrants who are learning English enroll in the Newcomers Academy that has dedicated classes for English language learners in all subjects.
Advanced Placement Courses are offered in calculus (AB and BC), chemistry, physics, English, Spanish and both American and global history. Students may take classes for college credit at La Guardia Community College. Law Academy students may also take classes at John Jay College.
There are many sports teams and a nice selection of activities such as the literary magazine, math research, Model UN, mock trial as well as cultural-themed options including African-American, Arab, Greek, Nepali and Tibetan clubs. Bryant is particularly strong in the performing arts with several bands and choirs, a dance company and drama club.
“The opportunities are endless and you meet new people when you get involved in extra-curriculars,” said a 10th-grader.
Special education: The school offers a range of special education services, including "self-contained" classes (students with special needs only) and team teaching" classes, which mix general education and special education students.
College admissions: Most graduates who attend college enroll in CUNY and SUNY schools. Many must take remedial courses at CUNY because of low scores on Regents exams, SATs or college prep course.
Admissions: Zoned students have priority admissions to the school, but not to a specific themed program. Queens residents have priority consideration for the themed programs. Students must meet additional criteria for admissions that vary by program. (Laura Zingmond, statistics and interviews at high school fair, January, 2013).