Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
Jamaica NY 11433
A challenging curriculum on a college campus
School doesn't have its own building; few team sports
Queens High School for the Sciences at York College is one of three small specialized high schools to open on college campuses in 2002. Entrance is based on the same exam used for Stuyvesant and Bronx Science and all the kids are high-achievers. "You don't have to travel two hours to get a quality math and science education," said Principal David Marmor, formerly an assistant principal in charge of science at Francis Lewis High School, adding that commute time could instead be put to good use in a research lab or volunteering in a hospital. In October 2011, Marmor replaced Jie Zhang, who left to become network leader in charge of 30 area schools, including Queens Science.
The school occupies one floor and assorted rooms in a 2-story building across the street from the main York College building. Students have access to the college cafeteria, library, gym and swimming pool. Average class size is 26, according to the principal. We saw up to 33 in English and History classes and 35 in a robotics elective. A Spanish class had nine students, and a study hall, with a teacher available for extra help, had only two.
Queens requires all kids to take two periods of science each year. Most have completed all high school math requirements by sophomore year and move on to advanced placement courses and electives. Students may pair up with York College professors to pursue scientific projects. One completed a biochemistry project through the York chemistry department. In addition to a variety of AP courses, students have the opportunity to participate in college classes, like sociology, computer, or psychology. A junior tackling three AP classes said she had 4 to 5 hours of homework a night.
Although the school has a science/math focus, a senior said his favorite subject was history. "We learn why things happen," he said. Indeed, as 10th grade World History students discussed women's status in the 18th century, the teacher sparked debate by bringing up England's recent royal wedding. Eighteenth century women were "tools for desire and not really respected," said a student. "What about Kate Middleton?" the teacher asked. "Everyone is focused on her waist size, not how intelligent she is or isn't."
The school has a solid art program and a robotics elective. Nineteen clubs are offered, among them digital photography, chess, volleyball, film, knitting and some service and academic-oriented choices. They take place on Friday afternoons for 45 minutes. For sports, the school offers handball, tennis, swimming and bowling.
College Admissions: Graduates have gone on to Ivy Leagues like Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Brown, Cooper Union, Yale, University of Michigan and University of Chicago and CUNY and SUNY colleges. Queens Science was ranked one of the top 100 high schools in the country by US News & World Report for three years in a row.
Special education: At the time of our visit, the school did not have any children with special needs, but when they do, the IEP requirements are met on an individual basis as needed.
Admissions: Admission is based solely on the results of the Specialized High School Admissions Test, administered to 8th and 9th graders in October or November. There are two open houses for prospective parents and students in October. (Lydie Raschka, October 2011)
About the students
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Programs and Admissions
Admission to this Specialized High School is based solely on the score obtained on the Specialized High Schools Admission Test (SHSAT). Students should speak to their guidance counselors in the Fall to register for the SHSAT.
Chinese (Mandarin), French, Spanish
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP Chinese, AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics, AP Spanish, AP Statistics, AP US Government and Politics, AP US History, AP World History
Boys PSAL teams
Bowling, Handball, Swimming, Tennis
Girls PSAL teams