Robert F. Kennedy Community High School

Grades 9-12
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Diverse, family-like atmosphere

The Downside

No music or football, limited gym space

Our Review

Robert F. Kennedy Community High School has a warm atmosphere, enthusiastic teachers and loyal families who speak more than 28 languages. Students come from home, to home, said the parent coordinator Angela Miraglia. Every one of our doors is open.

Longtime teacher James Gildea calls it, the best of the non-test-into schools around.

Under the leadership of Principal Beshir Abdellatif, the schools focus is squarely on college readiness. Every child who scores below 80 percent on the math Regents exam or below 75 percent on English Regents exam must re-take math and English. Those bound for Regents exams attend a Saturday Academy.

Students come from the Middle East, China, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere. Abdellatif speaks Persian, Arabic, English and French. He was principal of Law, Government and Community Service and interim principal, during a troubled time of administrative turnover, at Khalil Gibran International Academy. He likes things ship-shape: sparkling hallways, no sagging jeans, no cell phones or open soda cans in class. When he took the helm in 2011, he installed card-swipe machines to track attendance and tardiness. Since his arrival, satisfaction, test scores and attendance are inching up.

Dress is casual, but attendance and hallway changes are strictly monitored. Some teachers talk from the front of the room perhaps longer than teens care to listen, but we also saw enthusiastic and creative teaching. During one lesson, when no one raised his hand to answer a question, the teacher had students turn and talk to each other, thus sparking full participation. A science teacher kept his students on their toes with witty remarks and a well-organized science experiment on isotopes using colorful candy. In a digital computer class, students worked on timely PowerPoint presentations about a presidential debate. Teachers often stay late and are willing to arrive early. Everybodys a first priority, said a senior.

For high achievers, there is a range of Advanced Placement classes including English literature, Spanish language and composition, geography and calculus. Students expressed pride in the fact that their school made the list of top high schools in a US News report. While some grumbled about new rules, such as no visiting lockers between classes, they also praised their teachers for exposing them to new subjects, like journalism. The school newspaper has candid articles on the danger of using the cafeteria as an extra gym space and the aggravation of locker bandits.

Whats missing, say students, are old-fashioned football pep rallies like you get at big schools. However, one praised the fact that teams are welcoming of non-athletes who want to try a sport as late as junior year. A variety of offerings include bowling, fencing, baseball, basketball and tennis. There is no music. Instead, students have art and technology classes.

College: A guidance counselor serves as part-time college advisor. Students said they push each other to reach for schools beyond the CUNYs, to which the majority apply and attend. Some enter the work force, military or trade school. At least one student wins a POSSE scholarship every year. A recent winner chose to attend Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.

Special education: Children with special needs are mostly taught alongside their general education peers in classes with two teachers. A pair of 10th history teachers led a jeopardy-style game to help students prepare for an upcoming test. There is one self-contained class.

Admissions: Educational option, designed to admit a range of academic performers. (Lydie Raschka, October 2012)

About the students

Enrollment
730
Asian
33.7%
Black
11.1%
Hispanic
37.8%
White
14.4%
Other
3.0%
Free or reduced priced lunch
79%
Students with disabilities
17%
English language learners
11%
Male
56%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
136%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
93%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
24%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
84%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
22%
18% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
81%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
62%
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?
91%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
89%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
87%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
98%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
94%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
89%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
86%
84% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 1 dedicated space for Visual arts
This school has 2 licensed arts teachers in Music

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
67%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
46%
49% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
71%
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?
86%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
18%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
6%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
42%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
67%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
79%
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?
86%
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?
71%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
89%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
86%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
87%
89% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
75%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

College Head-Start
Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.
Program Description

Academics

Language Courses

Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Calculus, AP Spanish

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Fencing, Soccer, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

Coed PSAL teams

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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