Robert H. Goddard High School of Communication Arts and Technology

138-30 LAFAYETTE STREET
QUEENS NY 11417 Map
Phone: (718) 848-8357
Website: Click here
Admissions: Citywide
unzoned
Principal: Joseph Birgeles
Neighborhood: Ozone Park
District: 27
Grade range: 09 thru 12
Parent coordinator: ROSELYN CORCINO PINO

What's special:

Technology infused in all content areas and a strong English program.

The downside:

Limited clubs.

The InsideStats

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Our review

At Robert H. Goddard High School of Communication Arts and Technology, every classroom has a computer for every student, thanks to a partnership with Apple Computers. Technology is infused into all the content areas and teachers strive to give their students a strong foundation in reading, writing, research, and communication skills. It's a close-knit community where teachers learn together in workshops and extend their connections through technology. There are ways for kids to get extra help during and after school. Students are encouraged to do projects in small groups. The school opened in September 2008 with its first class of 9th graders and now goes up to 12th grade.

Every classroom has a Smart Board, a large surface that can be used as a traditional writing board or as a projection screen and touch-sensitive computer monitor that each student can connect to via their laptop computers. This can help shy kids who might be too nervous to raise their hand in class, said a math teacher. It also is helpful for presentations, research, and a way to keep kids alert and interested. Teens learn to use the Excel program and Power Point to create graphs and charts to present data. Parents are invited in to use computers to search for jobs or to learn more about aspects of technology. There are programs that can be used at home such as interactive textbooks and tutorials.

Additional classes include law (mock trial), forensics, consumer math, pre-calculus and statistics classes. At Goddard, students learn how to write, produce and edit television shows in the building's state-of the-art television studio. "You can be on either side of the camera," a teacher said. Advanced Placement choices include government, biology, calculus and English. Spanish is the only language offered.

There are eight periods a day. "Academy learning" is a 20-minute period after lunch when kids divide up and meet with teachers to get extra help in almost any subject area. "It's growing each year," said the parent coordinator. Teachers take attendance three times a day, and the school offers free test preparation through Kaplan. Extra help is also offered during lunch and after school in a credit recovery program. Ninth grade teachers meet weekly to make sure the incoming students are on-track.

Teachers learn how to use the technology and brainstorm ways that kids can learn by doing: for example, by sharing project ideas they come up with on Google documents. The math teacher mentioned that his students researched the cost of pizza in Manhattan versus upstate and learned how the price differs according to the cost of rent.

The school also has a partnership with Teachers College at Columbia University, which provides teacher training, especially in writing. This focus on language arts has apparently paid off: 97 percent of students who took the Regent's English exam in 2011 scored 65 or higher. Though math and science were scores were not as strong, they were still in the average range.

The high school shares a building with a middle school of the same name, the Robert H. Goddard School, but operates under the leadership of Joseph Birgeles, a popular former teacher who taught AP social studies in the middle school. There are some sports and a few clubs, including flag football and chess, but because the school is still relatively new, this area has yet to be fully developed.

College admissions: Three guidance counselors help with college admissions.

Special education: The school has self-contained classrooms with small groups of children with special needs; integrated co-teaching, where general and special needs children are mixed in one classroom with two teachers, one of whom is trained in special education; and special education teachers who work with teachers and children in and out of classrooms to make sure the needs of individuals are met.

Admission: Priority is given to students who continue from the middle school and then to students who attend an information session or fair. (Lydie Raschka, December 2011.)

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