Aviation Career & Technical Education High School

Grades 9-12
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Students graduate with FAA certification; lots of hands-on work with aircraft

The Downside

Few elective courses; lopsided boy-girl ratio

Our Review

At Aviation High School students earn aviation technician licenses that qualify them for well-paying jobs straight out of high school. Accredited by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), Aviation is the largest high school program of its kind in the United States. All students train for FAA certification in either airframe or power plant maintenance while taking a full academic program. Those who stay on for an optional fifth year earn both certifications and get to work on a commercial aircraft housed in the school's annex at JFK International Airport.

The school boasts partnerships with many airlines and has an active network of alumni who contribute to the school and offer jobs to graduates. All shop or "lab" teachers are licensed aviation technicians who worked in the industry. Many also attended Aviation, including Principal Deno Charalambous, who was an airplane mechanic before becoming a teacher. Charalambous taught at Aviation for many years before becoming principal in 2009. Teachers think highly of him, based on their responses to the 2011-12 Learning Environment Survey. Overall, students give Aviation high marks on the survey, saying they get support from teachers and feel safe at school, though half report some bullying.

Girls make up only 16 percent of the student body, which Charalambous points out is higher than the percentage of women in the industry overall. Girls we met said they do not mind the gender imbalance because they get good grades and are respected by their male classmates.

The tone throughout is orderly and calm. At the start of a new period, students line up outside of the classrooms and wait for the teacher to let them in. Attendance is high and students say they take their studies very seriously, often staying up late to complete homework. All students we spoke with said that labs were their favorite classes.

Aviation labs are rigorous, hands-on and highly structured. Students handle heavy duty equipment and must keep organized and detailed logs of their work. Their diligence in labs carries over into other areas. Most students had neat handwriting and kept organized notes in their academic classes too.

Students rotate through different labs throughout the school year. Freshmen take two labs each day, sophomores take three, and juniors and seniors take four. On a typical day you can find students engaged in professional level work like constructing wings with fiberglass and resin or repairing cracks in aircraft parts with the aid of fluorescent black light. Students take apart and rebuild an entire airplane by hand in the building's airplane hangar filled with small aircrafts, some dating back to World War II.

Admission to the fifth-year program is competitive. There are only 150 spots open to students with strong academic records. In addition to industry internships, fifth-year students spend time at the JFK annex working on a Boeing 727 airplane donated by Federal Express.

In academic classes we saw a mix of teaching styles. In math and science, students tend to sit in rows facing the teacher lecturing from the front of the room. In English and history students often work in small groups on daily assignments and lengthier projects.

By their junior year, students spend half their day in labs, which leaves little time for electives. In addition to core academics, Aviation offers debate, drama, and journalism. Advanced Placement courses are offered in calculus, English, government, American and world history. Students can take College Now courses at LaGuardia Community College. Spanish is the only foreign language taught.

Special education: There are self-contained and ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) classes.

After school: Aviation fields many PSAL sports teams including four for girls: basketball, volleyball as well as indoor and outdoor track. After school clubs and activities include options such as Model UN, journalism, law and moot court, robotics, student leadership, and Airborne Flying, where students learn to pilot a plane. Aviation has a very active ROTC program.

College admissions: There is a full time college counselor. Roughly one-third of graduates choose to work straight out of school or enlist in the military. Every year the school sends graduates to CUNY and SUNY schools as well as private colleges.

Admissions: Students are admitted citywide based on their middle school grades, attendance and punctuality, as well as scores on the 7th grade ELA and math state exams. (Pauline Zaldonis and Laura Zingmond, October, 2012)

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At Aviation High School students earn aviation technician licenses that qualify them for well-paying jobs straight out of high school. Accredited by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), Aviation is the largest high school program of its kind in the United States. All students train for FAA certification in either airframe or power plant maintenance while taking a full academic program. Those who stay on for a optional fifth year earn both certifications and get to work on a commercial aircraft housed in the schools annex at JFK International Airport. The school boasts partnerships with many airlines and has an active network of alumni who contribute to the school and offer jobs to graduates. Aviation is located in Long Island City near subway and bus routes.

All shop or lab teachers are licensed aviation technicians who worked in the industry. Many also attended Aviation, including Principal Deno Charalambous, who was an airplane mechanic before becoming a teacher. Charalambous taught at Aviation for many years before becoming principal in 2009. Teachers think highly of him, based on their responses to the 2011-12 Learning Environment Survey (LES). Overall, students give Aviation high marks on the survey, saying they get support from teachers and feel safe at school, though half report some bullying.

Girls make up only 16 percent of the student body, which Charalambous points out is higher than the percentage of women in the industry overall. Girls we met said they do not mind the gender imbalance because they get good grades and are respected by their male classmates.

The tone throughout is orderly and calm. At the start of a new period, students line up outside of the classrooms and wait for the teacher to let them. Attendance is high and students say they take their studies very seriously, often staying up late to complete homework. All students we spoke with said that labs were their favorite classes.

Aviation labs are rigorous, hands-on and highly structured. Students handle heavy duty equipment and must keep organized and detailed logs of their work. Their diligence in labs carries over into to other areas. Most students had neat handwriting and kept organized notes in their academic classes too.

All students rotate through different labs over the school year. Freshmen take two labs each day, sophomores take three, and juniors and seniors take four. On a typical day you can find students engaged in professional level work like constructing wings with fiberglass and resin or repairing cracks in aircraft parts with the aid of fluorescent black light. In an onsite airplane hangar filled with small aircrafts, some dating back to World War II, students take apart and rebuild an entire airplane by hand.

Admission to the fifth-year program is competitive. There are only 150 spots open to students with strong academic records. In addition to internships in the industry, fifth-year students spend time at the JFK annex working on a Boeing 727 airplane donated by Federal Express.

In academic classes we saw a mix of teaching styles. In math and science, students tend to sit in rows facing the teacher lecturing from the front of the room. In English and history students often work in small groups on daily assignments and lengthier projects.

By their junior year, students spend half their day in labs, which leaves little time for electives. The school offers a few including debate, drama, and journalism. Advanced Placement courses are offered in calculus, English, government, American and world history. Students can take College Now courses at LaGuardia Community College. Spanish is the only foreign language taught.

Special education: There are self-contained and ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) classes.

After school: Aviation fields many PSAL sports teams including four for girls: basketball, volleyball as well as indoor and outdoor track. After school clubs and activities include options such as Model UN, journalism, law and moot court, robotics, student leadership, and Airborne Flying, where students learn to pilot a plane. Aviation has a very active ROTC program.

College admissions: There is a full time college counselor. Roughly one-third of graduates choose to work straight out of school or enlist in the military. Every year the school sends graduates to CUNY and SUNY schools as well as private colleges.

Admissions: Aviation is open to students citywide. Students are admitted based on their middle school grades, attendance and punctuality, as well as scores on the 7th grade ELA and math state exams. (Pauline Zaldonis and Laura Zingmond, October, 2012)

About the students

Enrollment
2114
Asian
34.3%
Black
5.1%
Hispanic
45.7%
White
10.3%
Other
4.6%
Free or reduced priced lunch
100%
Students with disabilities
13%
English language learners
3%
Male
81%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
140%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
97%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
8%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
99%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
14%
18% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
92%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
77%
56% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
6.8
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
98%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
95%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
92%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
89%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
99%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
93%
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 Music, Visual arts, and an Auditorium
This school has 1 licensed arts teacher in Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
85%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
58%
49% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
83%
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?
93%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
46%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
1%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
74%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
64%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
89%
63% 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?
85%
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?
68%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
78%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
83%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
85%
89% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
70%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Aerospace Engineering Technology
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description

Designed for students who excel in math and science, this challenging academic and technical program will prepare students for engineering colleges and FAA maintenance certification. Students not meeting this criteria are encouraged to apply to Q60Q.

Aviation Maintenance Technology
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description

A challenging academic and career-oriented program leading to a New York State Advanced Regents diploma and FAA certification as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician. Students in this program have every opportunity to take higher-level and AP courses.

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics, AP US Government and Politics, AP US History, AP World History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Volleyball

Coed PSAL teams

Cricket, Golf

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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