Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology

Grades 9-12
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

A friendly haven for techies

The Downside

Popularity reduces the odds of getting in

Our Review

Students at Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology have unusual access to computers every day, yet human bonds are all-important in this safe, close-knit school, where students greet each other with hugs and high-fives between classes and collaborate on creative projects and lessons.

In addition to the typical array of high school courses, students pick one of three career tracks: Digital Animation and Web Design, Computer and Information Technology, or Health Information Technology. As early as 9th grade, students may earn IC3 certification, a globally recognized and exam-based certification in basic computer and internet literacy.

The school's theme has struck a chordmore than 800 8th-graders applied for 108 spots in 2011, its founding year, and the applicant list topped 1,300 in 2015. Boys outnumber girls about four to one, but girls take a leadership role in the school's Mouse Squad, the team that keeps computers in running order and does random online "history" checks to curb improper internet use. Girls may also participate in an all-female advisory group. Those we spoke to said they are eager to jump into technology careers: "I want to be a part of it," said one.

Principal April McKoy, a former social studies teacher from Brooklyn College Academy, has an eye for good instructional practice and helps maintain a balance between screen-time and face-time. We saw discussion and activities in every classroom rather than long teacher lectures.

The humanities are strong here too and several students said history or English was their favorite subject. Complementary themes in English and social studies help students deepen their understanding. Tenth-graders study Afghanistan in global studies, for example, at the same time that they read The Kite Runner, a novel set in Afghanistan, in English class. Teens read novels such as The Joy Luck Club and Great Expectations, supplementing with poetry or articles that inform the time period or themes.

During our visit we noted kind and friendly relations between students. We also noticed tardiness, particularly among seniors. McKoy tries to help teens solve problems leading to tardiness such as those who must drop a younger sibling at their school first. She often greets students with a cheery, "Good morning, darling!" Teachers like her management style: "We've got the best principal in the DOE," a technology teacher said.

Students who fall behind visit the after-school tutoring program called GOLD (goal-oriented learning development). Teachers set goals with 3 to 5 students who are falling behind each day, so they "don't lose hope," said McKoy. She believes GOLD is a key to students' above-average Regent's exam passing rates in history, math and English. A guidance counselor on each grade level also keeps students on track. Teachers are highly visible and engaged.

Some students do not have computers at home, and they must learn to curb their impulses to get off-track or they lose privileges. "It's flexible but strict, in a good way," said a 9th grader. There isn't time to teach touch-typing so we saw a lot of hunt-and-peck-typing, but students also write the old-fashoned way, especially when composing stories.

The school year begins with an overnight camping trip, and staff visits the home of every incoming 9th-grader. Clubs include martial arts, skateboarding, drama, programming and digital photography. The "gamer haven" club is especially popular.

Community service begins close to home with students assisting in bulletin board design, sprucing up classrooms and improving the atmosphere in the cafeteria. They also take trips to college campuses and may secure internships at the Hospital for Special Surgery, among other locations.

UAG is one of more than 20 schools created and run by the nonprofit Urban Assembly. It shares the Graphics Educational Campus along with the High School of Graphic Communication Arts, the Business of Sports School and Mather Building Arts & Craftsmanship High School. Sports are campus-wide.

COLLEGE: The first graduating class in 2015 included a POSSE scholarship winner, as well as acceptances to Northeastern University, Occidental and St. Lawrence University. A few students planned to join the military.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Students are integrated in ICT classes with general education students and two teachers.

ADMISSIONS: Priority to Manhattan students or residents who attend an information session or fair. (Lydie Raschka, April 2015)

About the students

Enrollment
468
Asian
10.0%
Black
29.7%
Hispanic
52.4%
White
4.1%
Other
3.9%
Free or reduced priced lunch
100%
Students with disabilities
19%
English language learners
3%
Male
77%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the Graphics Educational Campus with three other schools
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
Yes
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
94%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
87%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
41%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
85%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
11%
18% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
93%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
69%
56% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
5.0
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
83%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
94%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
80%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
58%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
99%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
95%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
92%
84% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 3 dedicated spaces for Visual arts
This school has 3 licensed arts teachers in Music and Visual arts

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
77%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
48%
49% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
80%
70% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
91%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
11%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
3%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
36%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
68%
41% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
0%
0% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
100%
65% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
63%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
97%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
95%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
94%
89% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
83%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

UA Gateway
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP English, AP Statistics, AP US History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Handball, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Flag Football, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on the NYCDOE’s School Finder
NYC Department of Education: School Finder

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