J.H.S. 194 William Carr

154-60 17 AVENUE
QUEENS NY 11357 Map
Phone: (718) 746-0818
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood
Principal: JENNIFER MILLER
Neighborhood: Whitestone
District: 25
Grade range: 06 thru 08
Parent coordinator: ANN LIPPERT

What's special:

Safe, disciplined school with good academics.

The downside:

Large class sizes.

The InsideStats

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Our review

JHS 194 is a large middle school on a quiet residential street lined with private homes. It offers several "SP" (special progress) sections per grade for high achieving students, as well as general and special education classes. Every year a number of graduating students are accepted by specialized high schools, while many others move on to Queens schools such as Bayside and Francis Lewis.

Overall, the tone of the school is calm and relaxed, and in many classes we saw strong teaching and students primed for independent learning. "You know what I like when I walk into a class? To have to look around for the teacher because they're busy working with the kids," said Principal Anne Marie Iannizzi.

In an 8th grade math class we saw, students solving complex equations displayed on a Smart board, a large surface that can be used like a traditional blackboard or as a projection screen and computer monitor. Elsewhere, 7th graders were busy editing their classmates' work while their English teacher went from desk to desk offering comments. "I am reading what my partner added to his writing to see if it works or needs some tweaking," a student explained to Insideschools. We listened to an 8th grader lead a book discussion from a podium at the front of her classroom. The teacher had asked for the podium to encourage public speaking, Iannizzi told us.

The arts play a big role in rounding out the core curriculum. In addition to visual arts, students study dance and may participate in the school's jazz and orchestral bands and annual musical production. Impressive student artwork lines the walls of the hallway on the main floor.

Spanish is the only foreign language taught in the school.

Discipline is tough and JHS 194's suspension rate is high, which we found to be the product of strictly enforced rules rather than an unruly environment. For instance students earn detention for offenses such as chewing gum or not waiting their turn to buy lunch. The payoff, we observed, is good behavior and order. We dropped in on a special education class lead by a substitute teacher and saw students reading quietly; they had already finished the work left for them by their regular teacher. When we visited the cafeteria, we found students chatting freely and moving around calmly, all waiting their turn to be called to join the lunch line. A lot of adults were present to make sure students did not get too rambunctious and cleaned up before they headed to the yard. We saw no litter on the floor.

Facilities include art and dance studios, a library, auditorium, a renovated gymnasium, and band room. At recess, students can go next to the school building to play basketball and handball in a large yard maintained by the New York City Parks Department.

Beginning September 2007, JHS 194 will shift to a 6th through 8th grade population, eliminating its 9th grade as part of a District 25-wide restructuring of elementary and middle schools. Class enrollment is already high, and the school population is expected to grow to more than 1,000 students after the transition because the incoming 6th grade will be larger than the outgoing 9th grade. To help make the school seem more intimate, the administration has made each floor a kind of mini-school with its own assistant principal, guidance counselor, lunch period, mix of grades, and group of math, science, and English teachers.

English as a Second Language: There are no bilingual classes, but the school does have classes concentrated with English language learners who receive additional English instruction.

Special education: The school has both "self-contained" classes, only for children with special needs, and "collaborative team teaching" (CTT) classes, where two teachers work in the same classroom with both general education students and those needing special services.

After school: The school offers extra-curricular and academic-support activities such as book and math clubs, a dance team, and test prep. The Beacon Program, a city-run youth-service organization, also offers on-site activities open to students attending schools in the community.

Admissions: Through variances, the school accepts some students from outside the neighborhood for which it is zoned.

This school is featured in New York City's Best Public Middle Schools. (Laura Zingmond, October 2006)

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