High School for Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture
Ozone Park NY 11416
Hands-on projects in construction and engineering
Very limited art, music, and foreign languages; poor subway access
Each spring, seniors at the High School for Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture build a house in the yard behind the school. (The following fall, a new class of seniors takes it down again.) Other students make architectural plans and construct 3-D models; learn how to install energy efficient wiring; and study the principles of engineering.
For some, the school leads to unionized apprenticeships in the construction trades. For others, it offers a strong background in engineering or architecture that prepares them for a four-year college.
Opened in 2006 in a new building in Ozone Park, the school has become a popular choice for students looking for in-depth career education and hands-on projects. Almost everyone graduates on time, and about one-quarter receive the demanding Advanced Regents diploma.
Attendance is high and the school is orderly. On our visit, class changes were smooth, and students seemed happy. Students in career classes were excited about their projects and eagerly explained them.
"It's fun. It brings out your creative side," one student told us.
"There's not much to complain about here," another said.
Students apply to one of the three programs: architecture, engineering or construction trades. In 9th grade, all students in the school take an introductory course in their major, followed by two periods a day in 10th through 12th grades.
Architecture students learn drafting and design. Engineering students identify a problem and design and build an invention to solve it. Having identified their dilemma as going back to sleep after the alarm goes off, two students weighed solutions such as incorporating a snooze alarm equipped with a hand buzzer to jolt any slugabed.
In the construction program, students take a year each in electrical work, carpentry and electrical mechanical. completing their studies by erecting a house their senior year.. The school has been seeking state Career and Technical Education certification for all three programs.
The school also offers the standard complement of academic subjects, including Advanced Placement classes. All first year students take a nonfiction literacy class in addition to English. Unfortunately, the school only offers one year of Spanish and one studio art coursethe minimum graduation requirements.
The academic classes, if lacking some of the energy of the career classes, engaged most students. In 10th grade, student grappled with what constitutes genocide, while 9th graders reading the memoir "The Color of Water" discussed what effect religion had on the characters' lives.
The school has a full-time college counselor. About 95 percent of students go to college, with CUNY and other local schools the most popular choices. Another staff member works with students who want to go into a union apprenticeship program.
There has been a high rate of teacher turnover as well as friction between the administration and the faculty. Some teachers complain that Lakeisha Gordon, principal since 2010, has poor management and communication skills, according to the Learning Environment Surveys. In 2012, two teachers sued Gordon saying they were terminated unfairly. Assistant Principal Steven Wynn told us that some staff members resisted Gordons efforts to "raise the bar;" he added that the administration was meeting with teachers to try to improve communication. Gordon was on maternity leave at the time of our visit.
Special education: The school has team teaching classes and other services but no self-contained classes. The building also houses a District 75 program for students with more severe disabilities. Some of its students participate in an inclusion program that allows them to attend classes at the high school of construction trades.
Admission: Students with standardized test scores Level 2 or above and grades of at least 75 in core academic subjects may apply. Preference is given to students who attend HCAT's open house. Although the school has screened admission, the administration encourages students with fairly low middle school test scores to apply. The school is open to all New York City students, although the nearest subway is not close. (Gail Robinson, March 2013)
About the students
About the school
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Programs and Admissions
New York State approved CTE Program that leads to national certification aligned with industry standards and a CTE-endorsed Regents diploma. Students are prepared for entry-level positions in construction trades. Interdisciplinary project-based curriculum includes electrical installation, carpentry, and mechanical construction.
New York State approved CTE Program that leads to national certification aligned with industry standards and a CTE-endorsed Regents Diploma. Interdisciplinary project-based curriculum includes concepts such as architectural form, space, order and design and construction of residential structures, as well as skills of hand crafting, advanced AutoCAD and 3-Dimensional modeling using AutoDesk Revit.
New York State approved CTE Program that leads to national certification aligned with industry standards and a CTE-endorsed Regents Diploma. Interdisciplinary project-based curriculum includes coursework in Introduction to Engineering & Design, Digital Electronics, Principles of Engineering, and Engineering Design & Development.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP English, AP Statistics, AP US History, AP World History
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Indoor Track
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Cross Country, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball, Wrestling
Coed PSAL teams