Queens Collegiate: A College Board School
Jamaica NY 11432
Big school perks with small school warmth and attention
Housed in the majestic Jamaica High School Campus, Queens Collegiate offers lively classes, lots of art and music, and a principal who seems to know every student by name. The school, which serves children in grades 6 to 12, does a particularly good job boosting the achievement of kids who arrive in 6th grade with weak academic skills.
The school welcomes anyone who wants to be here, including kids who arrive mid-year, English Language Learners, and those who receive special education services. While test scores are only average, middle school children show “excellent” growth compared to where they started, according to the School Quality Snapshot. Children in a special reading program made one-year’s progress in just four months, said founding Principal Jaime Dubei.
Students may speak Spanish, Bengali, Punjabi, Arabic, Hindi or Haitian Creole at home, and the school does a good job helping them perfect their English, both during their regular classes and in an afterschool program in English as a Second Language. Many classes have two teachers, one of whom is certified in special education.
Kids seem happy, engaged and respectful. The school has a gentle tone; there is a quiet hum of activity and no adults raised their voices during our visit.
In one class, we saw kids sing, play the piano, and strum a guitar—performing a rock song they wrote themselves. In an “advisory” group of 12 children, a teacher read aloud the Langston Hughes story “Thank You Ma’am,” then encouraged discussion of the feelings it evoked. In a 6th grade math class, kids pondered whether to calculate the “median” or the “mean” to find the “typical” salary of a player for the New York Knicks. In a global history class, children walked around “stations” in the room, each with a poster explaining how technological innovations such as navigational tools, the printing press and gunpowder helped pave the way for the Age of Exploration.
The school offers a challenging college prep curriculum. Eighth graders take Living Environment and many receive high school credit. Most students take 4 years of high school math and 4 years of science. The school offers a range of Advanced Placement classes. “AP Psychology is almost an institution here,” says Dubei.
The small schools that share the Jamaica campus have campus-wide sport teams, including some unusual ones like football, co-ed Double Dutch and cricket (popular with students from Indian and Bangladesh). Other campus-wide activities include a movie-night, dances and a student-produced musical. Dubei says Queens Collegiate offers big school perks with the warmth of a small school. Another perk: students may go outside after lunch, and on our visit we saw kids playing an improvised game of touch football on the lush lawn. A downside: Students must pass through metal detectors to enter the building.
The school was founded with the help of the College Board, the organization that administers the SAT. Although the school is no longer affiliated with the College Board, the name has not changed. Most graduates go on to CUNY and SUNY campuses; Dubei says counselors encourage children to go away to college, although many immigrant parents prefer to keep their children close to home.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers flexible programming for children with special needs. For example, a student may be assigned to a “self-contained” class for some subjects and a team-teaching class for others.
ADMISSIONS: Limited unscreened. Priority in the middle school goes to children who live in District 28 and attend an information session; the high school is open to students citywide. (Clara Hemphill, May 2017)
About the students
About the school
Is this school safe?
About the leadership
About the teachers
Are students prepared for high school?
How many graduate?
Are students prepared for college?
How does this school serve English Language Learners?
How does this school serve students with disabilities?
Programs and Admissions
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Biology, AP English, AP Psychology, AP US History
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Fencing, Football, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Flag Football, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams
Cricket, Double Dutch, Golf, Stunt