Frederick Douglass Academy VI High School

Grades 9-12

What’s Special

A proactive and outspoken student congress.

The Downside

An influx of students from closing schools has had an impact on safety and order.

Our Review

Frederick Douglass Academy VI High School follows the principles of its model, Harlem's rigorous and respected Frederick Douglass Academy: a no-nonsense approach to schooling that demands parent involvement, school uniforms and strict adherence to the rules. The day starts with a "scholar's creed" to build pride and underscore high expectations. Students wear black and white uniforms and male teachers wear ties. Students and parents sign contracts agreeing to 12 non-negotiable requirements, including the completion of homework and the maintenance of clean desks. However, these principles have been tested due to an influx of students from closing high schools in the area, some of whom do not buy into the model.

Despite the emphasis on structure, teachers and administrators encourage students to speak up and be proactive about problems. "It's the students who make the school," said a senior, a member of student congress: "All my four years, I've been in congress. That's influenced me, to have a voice; to plan events and ceremonies and luncheons." Student congress has tackled more than luncheons: in 2010 they called the Daily News and picketed in front of the school to demand an English teacher after making do with rotating subs for the first three months. "They don't stop until they get a response," said Ms. Johnson, coordinator of student activities.

From the beginning, a goal at FDA has been to expose students to the world beyond the classroom walls. They take trips to Canada and Disney World. Every year a group travels to Washington D.C. to see the Frederick Douglass home, the National Blacks in Wax Museum and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Teachers have been known to anonymously donate money for deserving students who can't afford the cost.

Although students said they value the small school community, they worry that the school has become increasingly chaotic. An influx of students from Far Rockaway High School, which closed in 2011, and from Beach Channel High School, which is phasing out, has caused strains. Staff at the 2011 high school fair said parent involvement could be better and students said squabbles sometimes break out among students. "A lot of kids got pushed in," said one. According to the 2010-11 Learning Environment Survey, safety and order have slipped. "We have our challenges," said a guidance counselor.

FDA students must go through airport-like screening to enter the school, but the building's other features -- including sports facilities, a beautiful auditorium, and a grassy lawn decorated with flowers -- are incredible. Moreover, FDA's floor is a cozy area painted in an inviting yellow. Framed posters of the school's namesake, abolitionist Fredrick Douglass, hang on the walls along with photographs of the students. Students have access to a swimming pool, a weight-lifting room and two basketball gyms, one with an elevated indoor track. Outside, there are tennis courts, a football field and a track.

Afterschool homework help is available twice a week or at lunchtime during "lunch & learn." Tutoring in math and English take place Monday through Thursday until 4 p.m. Other activities include an annual fashion show, Latin dance, step, choir, band and keyboarding. The school has partnerships with Brooklyn College and the College of Staten Island for kids who want more challenge, as well as Advanced Placement classes in World History and English Literature and Composition.

College Admissions: CUNY schools are a popular choice for many students although some go out of state, from Florida to Alabama and beyond, said the parent coordinator.

Special education: A few students enrolled in general education classes also work with a learning specialist. There is a class with special and general education students mixed together with two teachers, one of whom is trained in special education.

Admissions: Priority to Queens residents. The administration reviews applicants' grades and test scores and requires an interview. The principal stresses, however, that the school does not "cherry pick" its students, and considers motivation, determination, and willingness to abide by FDA rules as important factors in deciding who is admitted. (Lydie Raschka, interviews at the high school fair, December 2011.)

About the students

Enrollment
344
Asian
1.7%
Black
54.9%
Hispanic
40.7%
White
0.9%
Other
1.7%
Free or reduced priced lunch
78%
Students with disabilities
22%
English language learners
16%
Male
55%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the Far Rockaway Educational Campus with three other schools
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
Yes
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
81%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
85%
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?
54%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
33%
18% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
66%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
25%
56% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
1.9
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
70%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
69%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
77%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
96%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
95%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
43%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
70%
84% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 4 dedicated spaces for Music, Theater, Visual arts, and an Auditorium
This school has 2 licensed arts teachers in Music (part-time) and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
45%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
33%
49% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
48%
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?
67%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
0%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
22%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
8%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
9%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
45%
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?
11%
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?
51%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
93%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
100%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
100%
89% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
35%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Frederick Douglass Academy VI High School
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Advanced academic course studies

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Swimming

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Flag Football, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball

Coed PSAL teams

Double Dutch

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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