Preparatory Academy for Writers: A College Board School

Grades 6-12
Staff Pick

What’s Special

Lots of writing in all subjects; middle school has good attendance and test scores;

The Downside

Shared building means a lot traffic in the hallways; school's small size means fewer electives

Our Review

At Preparatory Academy for Writers (PAW), a small school serving grades 6-12, kids keep journals and have lively discussions in class. The middle school has excellent attendance and above-average test scores. By 8th grade students are tackling high school work and taking Regents exams.

The vibe throughout the school is friendly and calm. We were particularly impressed by how relaxed and focused 6th-graders were in classes immediately after their lunchtime.

Instead of simply lecturing from the front of the room, teachers encourage students to work on their own and in small groups. In a math class, some students may be solving problems at their desk, while another group is writing in their journal about the questions they have, and observations made, while still another group works with the teacher. In English classes, many lessons follow a similar pattern of reading, taking notes and discussing with peers and the entire class.

Students in all grades write a lot and compile portfolios of their best work as well as academic goals they set for themselves. At the end of each semester, students give oral presentations, discussing their work and reflecting on how well they met their goals.

To help with students transition to middle school, 6th-graders have the same teacher for both English and social studies in a double-period class called humanities. Students study algebra for two years starting in the 7th grade; by the end of 8th grade they take Regents exams in algebra, earth science and United States history.

About one-third of the student body leaves for high school, with a few going to super-selective schools like Townsend Harris. Those who stay are joined by new 9th graders, some of whom have weak skills. The school offers them a lot of support.

Stronger students take a range of Advanced Placement classes. Struggling students take fewer classes that run at least for a double period. For instance, students needing extra help dont take a science class freshman year so they can devote more time to English, math and history; in 10th grade they take a double period of Living Environment. The attendance rate in high school is lower than the middle school. While some students take a demanding college-prep curriculum, the majority of graduates need to take remedial classes in CUNY.

All students participate in small group advisory classes, where they focus on both academic and social-emotional skills. Incoming 6th- and 9th-graders participate in a summer bridge program, a mix of fun, team-building activities and academic assessments, so teachers know their strengths and weakness at the start of the school year.

Housed on the first floor of the large, 1960s-era Springfield Gardens Educational Campus, PAW shares the building with three small high schools:Excelsior Preparatory High School High School, George Washington Carver High School for the Sciences and Queens Preparatory Academy. Students get big school perks such as a variety of sports teams and larger facilities. The downside is that first floor gets a lot of traffic as students from other schools come and go throughout the day to use the cafeteria and gymnasiumboth located on the first floor.

Though PAW was one of several schools founded with support from College Board, the organization ended its affiliation with individual schools in 2013.

There are a few elective classes such as photography. The Child Center of New York sponsors onsite after-school activities for the middle school including arts and sports. High schools students participate in campus-wide sports teams

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are SETSS and ICT classes

ADMISSIONS: For middle school, priority to District 29 residents who attend and information session. For high school, priority to continuing 8th-graders and then to New York City residents who attend an information session. (Laura Zingmond, February 2017)

About the students

Enrollment
609
Asian
2.8%
Black
85.9%
Hispanic
6.4%
White
1.8%
Other
3.1%
Free or reduced priced lunch
74%
Students with disabilities
16%
English language learners
2%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the Springfield Gardens Educational Campus with three other schools
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
Yes
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
98%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
91%
90% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
21%
27% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
72%
74% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
24%
22% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
81%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
47%
48% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
6.9
5.8 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
81%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
96%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
78%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
71%
70% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
76%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
81%
83% 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?
43%
30% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
39%
35% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 1 dedicated space for Visual arts
This school has 1 licensed arts teacher in Music

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
74%
68% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
61%
52% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
75%
68% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
US History, Algebra I, Earth Science
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
88%
38% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
93%
87% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Preparatory Academy for Writers: A College Board School
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
82%
83% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
9%
13% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
0%
4% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
36%
38% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
44%
48% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
65%
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?
0%
7% 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 ICT students
2.12
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.22
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.82
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.22
2.2 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
65%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
100%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
100%
89% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
100%
87% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
61%
67% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Preparatory Academy for Writers
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Academics

Language Courses

French, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Biology, AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP Statistics, AP US History, AP World History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Football, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Flag Football, Indoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

Coed PSAL teams

Cricket, 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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