Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Secondary School for Arts and Technology
Friendly place with lots of spirit and a sought-after middle school
Many windowless classrooms
Housed in a former Macy’s warehouse in the heart of Long Island City’s industrial and commercial center, Wagner Secondary School for Arts & Technology attracts students looking for a small, welcoming alternative to large, traditional schools. Students generally work together in groups or in pairs at small tables, generating lots of class discussions and collaborations. Classes last 51 minutes and meet four times a week. Every Friday there is an all-school Town Hall meeting.
Some interior classrooms lack windows and the low-ceilinged gymnasium is inadequate but there is a friendly feel to the brightly painted building, from the round tables in the cafeteria to the Chill-out Area where kids relax after school.
Students representing 20 countries collaborate on projects and edit one another’s work. There is less emphasis on test prep and worksheets than many students were used to at their more traditional elementary schools.
High school students take frequent trips, to the Laugh Factory in Times Square and to Ellis Island, for example, and a day-long trip to Philadelphia. Students take four years of science, including chemistry and physics. The biology lab is covered with plants and are part of the classrooms community and population, the teacher explained. Some teachers require students to re-do sub-par work until their grade comes up to an 85 or 90.
There are several advanced visual arts classes in addition to intro to art and intro theater classes in 9th grade. Tenth-graders all take a theatre class and some continue in 11th grade, performing updated version of Shakespearean plays, such as Twelfth Night done to disco music. Middle-schoolers get piano lessons four days a week and art every semester.
Despite the lack of a proper gym, Wagner has an active and successful sports program, sharing 16 teams shared with two other local schools: International High School at LaGuardia and Middle College High School.
Admissions: Open to all Queens residents. There are far more applicants than seats in the middle school. The school looks at 4th grade test scores and grades. Applicants submit a writing sample and take part in a group interview. High school students are selected via the Ed Opt method, allowing a range of students of all levels. (Pamela Wheaton, December 2011; updated October 2017)
About the students
About the school
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Programs and Admissions
Opportunities in the arts, career education, athletics, college classes, trips, and conferences.
See above description.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP English, AP US History
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Volleyball, Wrestling
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams
Long Island City NY 11101