New Dorp High School
STATEN ISLAND NY 10306 Map
New Dorp High School
New Dorp is a large, well-functioning high school organized into distinct, small learning communities (SLCs) of a few hundred students each. Each academy has its own faculty, guidance counselor and administration and its own dedicated area of the school. Nestled between one of the busiest intersections in the borough and a sprawling, grassy stretch of Gateway National Park, the school is housed in a massive, contemporary building. The school has long provided excellent academics to high-performing students and has used the small learning communities to integrate struggling students.
Deirdre DeAngelis has been principal since 1999 and has overseen a consistent and impressive rise in the school’s graduation rate since 2005 when the school created the small learning communities. Significantly, attendance has also improved over the same period of time.
There are six academies that take a students at a range of performance levels: a teachers academy; science and criminology; business and technology; health professions; media and communication; and the arts. The school also offers a screened math and science program and a law and government program open to high-performing students. Technology students can earn Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification. Students in the screened programs are expected to complete college-level courses and participate in internships. Student teaching is required in the teachers academy. There is also a Junior ROTC program.
“The teachers make sure you do well,” one student told us at the high school fair. “They push you, they pull you aside to say ‘I know you can do better.’ They’re like your parents, only at school.”
Students who change their minds about the SLC they choose may switch to another one at the end of 9th grade. Some who say they want to change SLCs early in the year decide to stay with their original choice by the end of the school year, counselors say, so making all changes late in the year is most efficient.
The school works hard to integrate special-needs students with general-education students, and involve students of all abilities in classes and afterschool activities. Its large size allows for a wide range of extracurriculars including mock trial, chorus, peer mediation, jazz, marching band, poetry, culinary arts, and a fashion club. The school has 30 sports teams including lacrosse, soccer, swimming, softball, gymnastics and tennis.
For high performing students, the school offers more than a dozen Advanced Placement courses including government and politics, art history, psychology, Spanish, Italian and world history. New Dorp students may earn college credits via the College Now program, taking classes at Brooklyn’s Kingsborough Community College.
Seniors at New Dorp often have only three or four classes a day, because they have fulfilled graduation requirements. That may be part of the reason that only 20% - about the city average – were considered “ready for college” in 2010, according to their Regents and SAT scores. Another factor, guidance counselors say, is that the school admits a large number of students throughout the year who either never applied to high school or are living in difficult family situations or in foster care. These students often need extra academic and emotional support, counselors say. A few dozen students participate in Saturday school to make up credits and coursework required for graduation.
Guidance counselors say most New Dorp graduates go on to college, mainly to CUNY and SUNY schools. About 47% of students who were ninth graders in 2006 enrolled in college in the fall of 2010, according to Education Department statistics.
Admissions: Zoned school. Students may apply to various screened (selective) or educational option programs (which admit students with a range of abilities. 0The school allows interested eighth-graders the opportunity to ‘shadow’ an enrolled New Dorp student to learn more about the school. The visits begin in early November and continue until the winter recess; slots are limited, however, so the school advises that parents and students call as early in the school year as possible to make arrangements. More information is available by calling 718 667 8686 x 11351 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. (Helen Zelon, interviews at high school fair, October 2011)