Scholars' Academy

Grades 6-12
Staff Pick
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Location

320 Beach 104th Street
Rockaway Park NY 11694
Far Rockaway (District 27)
Trains: A, S to Beach 105th St-Seaside
Buses: Q22, Q52, Q53

Contact

Phone
718-474-6918
Principal
Brian Oconnell
Parent Coordinator
Janet Mineo

What’s Special

Accelerated academics plus fitness, music, drama, technology, art

The Downside

Isolated location

Our Review

On the racially polarized Rockaway peninsula, Scholars' Academy brings together high-achieving students from across District 27 to form a diverse middle and high school community. The school is known for rigorous academics but also offers a wide array of sports and arts classes, as well as cutting-edge technology instruction.

The bustling life inside the three-story building is all the more pronounced given the bleak landscape outsideelevated subway tracks, generic high-rise towers and the desolate sound of seagulls. In every classroom, alert teens work together in small groups on clear-cut tasks.

Principal Brian O'Connell, a native of the peninsula, calls Scholars' a "haven for positive integration," and while it is racially and culturally diverse, we were also impressed by the fact that as many girls as boys told us they planned to pursue male-dominated fields such as civil engineering, electrical engineering and medicine.

Middle school students travel in a group to math, science and humanities classes. We saw 7th-graders immersed in articles about life in Alabama in 1933 in preparation for reading the Depression-era novel To Kill a Mockingbird. In the music technology lab, 8th-graders studied 12-bar blues chords as part of a unit on jazz, informed by their lessons on slavery and segregation in humanities.

By the end of middle school, all students will have completed three high school courses. Ninth-graders have a course load typical of juniors in most high schools, taking the English, geometry, physics, Spanish, U.S. history and government Regents. Global studies, typically a two-year program, is covered in its entirety in 10th grade.

All high school students are expected to complete four years of math, science and English. A partnership through St. Francis College in Brooklyn allows students to complete up to 20 college credits in 11th and 12th grade.

Student dismissal is at 1:12 pm on Fridays to allow teachers to plan for up to two hours. All staff members have web pages and are experimenting with new models of instruction including blended learningwhich combines face-to-face and online learning in a self-paced formatand "flipped" instruction, where kids watch videos of recorded teacher lessons or "snippets" at home and do "homework" in class, consisting of exercises, projects or lab experiments in small groups while the teacher circulates. Kids can use iPads or one of many computers sprinkled throughout the building to access web pages. Twelfth-graders in the blended economics class were learning how to budget money for college at the time of our visit.

All this is part of a massive effort to be transparent according to O'Connell. "It shouldn't be mystery what your children are learning," he said, adding that self-paced learning is essential to helping bright students make progress and not just coast on their achievements.

The school hosts sporting events, accompanied by their own marching band, which is a draw for parents. Archery, bowling, tennis, lacrosse and swimming are some of the more unusual offerings. The latest is STUNT, a kind of acrobat cheerleading.

All students take visual arts and music classes. Eleventh-graders produce weekly news broadcasts in the media elective, while other students may help produce the school newspaper or join drama or stage crew.

Several graduating seniors revealed their very specific future plans to us, ranging from McCauley Honors (pre-med) and Stonybrook (electrical engineering) to St. Johns (elementary education) and St. Francis (accounting). Students have been accepted to Pratt and Parsons, as well as Cornell and Princeton.

Special education: The school is phasing in classes that mix children with special needs and general education students beginning in September 2014.

Admissions: Scholars' seeks students with good attendance records who have high 3s or 4s on their 4th-grade ELA and math exams. Promising applicants must complete an in-person interview and take on-site math, reading comprehension and writing assessments. The admissions policy ensures that 50 percent of students live on the Peninsula, another 40 percent live in District 27, and 10 percent live elsewhere in the city. Scholars' accepts 264 incoming 6th-graders from roughly 1,000 applicants. Priority in high school is given to middle school students. There is no room for outsiders at the high school level unless the population fluctuates. The school will be admitting a defned number of students with special needs this year.(Lydie Raschka, May 2014)

About the students

Enrollment
1351
Asian
20.6%
Black
18.2%
Hispanic
18.6%
White
41.2%
Other
1.4%
Free or reduced priced lunch
47%
Students with disabilities
9%
English language learners
0%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
103%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
96%
90% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
6%
27% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
100%
75% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
24%
45% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
95%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
80%
49% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
11.0
5.8 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
96%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
99%
85% 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?
65%
70% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
98%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
99%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
95%
84% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Test scores

How many students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
90%
29% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
91%
38% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 8 dedicated spaces for Music, Theater, Visual arts, and Media arts
This school has 5 licensed arts teacher in Visual arts (part-time), Music, and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
85%
68% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
74%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
82%
69% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Spanish, Algebra I, Living Environment
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
100%
38% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
98%
87% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Scholars' Academy, Townsend Harris HS, and Fiorello H. LaGuardia HS of Music & Art and Performing Arts
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
100%
83% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
97%
13% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
1%
4% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
99%
38% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
100%
48% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
93%
71% 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?
100%
43% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
Average math score for self-contained students
2.88
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.79
2.2 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
80%
67% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
99%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
99%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
97%
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Scholars' Academy
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Art History, AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP English, AP Music Theory, AP Physics, AP Psychology, AP US History, AP World History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Swimming

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

Coed PSAL teams

Golf, Stunt

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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