Eagle Academy for Young Men III
Jamaica NY 11434
Supportive environment for young men
Part of the Eagle Academy Foundation, an organization that seeks to encourage academic achievement and character development for young men, Eagle Academy III opened in 2010 with a 6th grade and will become a full 6 to 12 school in 2016.
By educating most of its students for seven years and keeping its enrollment low, Eagle hopes to support and encourage young men, most of them African American, from the surrounding neighborhoods of southeast Queens. Principal Kenyatte Reid, who served as principal ofSatellite III and has been at Eagle III since it opened, sees the 6-12 model as key. "You develop a relationship with the young men," he says. "They know what they're going to be held accountable for. Theyve learned to trust us. Even when we're being strict, they know we're doing it from a place of caring."
The school uses the state-provided Common Core curriculum but tries to use teaching methods geared to its male student body. Reid says they tend to do well with lessons that are activity-based and involve inquiry and group work. Technology often serves as an entry point, as in a math program where students create their own avatars and then solve problems. (We visited on a day students were taking a standardized test so we did not see any classes.)
Eagle has students at a range of academic abilities and tries to tailor teaching accordingly. An early morning program provides extra help to about two-thirds of Eagle students, four days a week. Another supplemental program helps less-proficient 6th-graders improve their reading. In English and social studieswhere students read general books, not just text booksteachers offer materials at a range of reading levels that cover the same subject areas.
To engage academically advanced students, Eagle has a partnership with Queensboro Community College for math. It plans to offer enough courses for students to qualify for a more demanding Advanced Regents diploma. Unlike many middle schools, however, it does not offer a math or science Regents to 8th-graders, though they can pick up some high school credit for Spanish. While the school plans to offer some College Now classescollege-credit courses given by CUNYit remains unclear whether Eagle will give AP courses.
Although Eagle has logged fairly low scores on its standardized tests, Reid says this reflects the fact that boys generally do not do as well as girls and says that Eagle students out-perform boys at similar schools.
As part of its character-building mission, Eagle requires all 6th- and 7th-graders to take a life skills class. In 8th and 9th grade, students participate in a college planning class, while 9th-graders have a public speaking class. Students are organized into one of six houses that meets at least one a week for team building and other support. The school offers a range of activities, such as Model UN, sports teams, a competitive drum line and student government.
Originally located inIS 59, Eagle occupies a building once used by the Allen Christian School and has renovated it to provide a clean bright environment, with two science labs and an inviting library. It does not have a schoolyard so Eagle uses nearby parks for sports and lets older students leave the campus for lunch.
Students must wear shirts and ties. "We have high expectations for young men. If they dont meet them, it's an opportunity for us to teach them," Reid said.
Special education: Eagle offers support services and has a team-teaching class mixing students with special needs and general education students for every grade. It also has self-contained classes at some grade levels.
Admissions: Most students enter in the 6th grade although there are some vacancies for incoming 9th-graders. Students are selected through a lottery open to all boys in Queens with preference for those who attend an information session or open house. In 2013, the schools had more than 1,900 applicants for 81 6th-grade seats. (Gail Robinson, May 2014)