Information Technology High School
QUEENS NY 11101 Map
Information Technology High School
OCTOBER 2012 UPDATE: Nancy Casella, who became principal in 2008, was forced to retire in October 2012 after an investigation found she made inappropriate remarks to staff members, including assistant principals. Joseph Reed became the acting principal.
APRIL 2005 REVIEW: Located just blocks from Courthouse Square and the PS 1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, Information Technology High School opened in September 2003 in a new building boasting a spacious lobby, wide and well-lit hallways, and large classrooms. Teachers and students have access to six computer labs. There is no auditorium, but the cafeteria has colorful seating booths, the library is well stocked and programmed with an online catalog, and classrooms are big enough for lectures as well as hands-on work on desktop computers. The school in 2005 entered into a program that will train all its students to service Apple computers, and will begin requiring students to major in one of four computer-related disciplines.
In English classes, kids learn not only the standard curriculum, but useful cyber skills, such as how to create a Web page. We saw the standard curriculum at work in a class where two student teachers from Columbia University's Teachers College fine-tuned a student's reading of a scene from a Shakespearean play, while classmates observed them from desks positioned in the center of the room. In another class, we saw the "cyber" part of what the school calls its "Cyber English" curriculum: Students at computers were busy editing HTML code, which enabled them to make changes to Web pages where they had posted essays on their interpretations of a scene in A Midsummer Night's Dream. One student's essay was also displayed on a classroom Smartboard. The Cyber-English teacher says "they become much better editors" because they get practice revising both their writing and HTML code. A technology teacher adds, "Students are more willing to revise work on computers."
In September 2004, a new administration replaced the old. Principal Noralee Montemarano, who has a background in English and technology instruction, brought experienced additions to the staff and, one staffer said, a new sense of order to a school that had been a bit disorderly in its first year. A new partnership with the Apple computer company will see to it that every student is trained to receive Apple service certification by graduation, ensuring that the school's computer problems will be attended to by students, not outside professionals (and that students pick up some useful job skills along the way). Apple will also donate laptops to the school.
Students entering in September 2005 will take three core computer classes, in addition to courses in the standard high school curriculum. Students are to continue with eight additional computer classes to complete a major in networking, hardware engineering, application development, or media technology. Unfortunately, because these changes are a departure from the original curriculum, students who entered in fall 2003 and fall 2004 are already behind in fulfilling graduation requirements for the school. Administrators say that they will have to modify the programs and requirements for these students. "Schools are like babies. They don't come with instruction manuals. We figure it out along the way," a counselor said.
The school is also designing an online course program for students enrolled at the school who are performing at lower levels or do not work well in regular classrooms. In addition to computer-oriented classes, the school offers an art studio with pottery wheels and kilns, and a music room with a grand piano where kids are beginning to learn to read notes.
Admissions: The school will look for applicants with high math scores. Accepted applicants with low English language arts scores will be asked to attend a summer bridge program before entering the 9th grade. (Catherine Man, April 2005)