Newtown High School

Grades 9-12

What’s Special

Lots of support for 9th graders; many sports and activities

The Downside

Many graduates need remedial courses in college

Our Review

Newtown High School opened in 1897 as a small, farm-town school in Elmhurst, Queens. Today it is a large high school with a diverse student population that includes many English language learners and recent immigrants. Like many big, urban schools, Newtown faces tough challenges including overcrowding, spotty attendance and many students arriving ill-prepared for high school work. There are signs of improvement: Its graduation rate, which lagged for many years, has risen above the citywide average.

In 2011, the Department of Education identified Newtown as a low-performing school and decided to reorganize it into small learning communities instead of closing it. A year later the DOE changed course by deciding to close Newtown in June, 2012 and reopen in it September, 2012 with a new name and a majority of new staff. Legal action against the city put those plans on hold, so at least for now, Newtown remains open, keeping its name, much of its faculty and its longtime principal, John Ficalora.

Despite Newtowns uncertain future, teachers and staff have invested a lot in building up its small learning communities. Each one has its own group of classrooms and a set of teachers. All incoming freshman are enrolled in the Ninth Grade Academy designed to help new students ease into the high school experience and stay on track. Starting in 10th grade students enroll in one of the themed, communities in engineering, math and science, media studies, business, visual and performing arts, and one for English language learners.

Students are responding favorably to the changes based on their answers to the Learning Environment Survey. Notably, they are satisfied with the variety of classes and activities, feel supported by their teachers and safe in school, though some fights and bullying occur. Some students we spoke to at the high school fair said they benefit from the extra help they get through Newtowns partnership with City Year, which sponsors recent college graduates to commit to one year of fulltime service in a high-needs school. Students said they really like the City Year corps members who assist teachers in classrooms, provide tutoring and help organize and lead student activities.

Advanced Placement courses are offered in biology, calculus (AB and BC), United States history and language studies in English, Spanish and Chinese. Students may also take courses at Queens Borough Community College.

There are many sports teams and a wide array of activities and after-school clubs such as debate team, photography, play production, senior council, school newspapers and math league. The school fields a successful robotics team (which has its own website) and the music programs guitar ensemble performs at many community events.

Special education: The school offers both team teaching and self-contained special education classes.

College admissions: Most graduates who attend college enroll in CUNY and SUNY schools. Many must take remedial courses at CUNY because of low scores on Regents exams, SATs or college prep course.

Admissions: Zoned students have priority admissions to the school, but not to a specific themed program. Queens residents have priority consideration for the themed programs. Students must meet additional criteria for admissions that vary by program. (Laura Zingmond, statistics and interviews at high school fair, December 2012).

About the students

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

About the school

Shared campus?
This school shares the building with the International High School for Health Sciences
Uniforms required?
Metal detectors?
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average


Average daily attendance
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
37% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
85% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
57% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
80% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
86% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 4 dedicated spaces for Music and Visual arts
This school has 4 licensed arts teacher in Music and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
54% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
71% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
63% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

This school offers Transitional Bilingual Education in Chinese and Spanish.
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
65% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
68% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
90% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Business Institute
Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.
Program Description

Electronic Information Processing, Desktop Publishing, Web Page Design, e-commerce, and Microsoft Office certification training.

Pre-Engineering & Computer Technology
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description

Drafting, Engineering, Architecture, Computer Assisted Drawing, A+ certification (computer repair), Network Cabling (Telecommunication), Digital Electronics, Computer Applications, Robotics, and 3-D Printing.

Major Art
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Art, Commercial Art, Fashion Design and Illustration, Drawing, Painting, 3-D Design, Computer Art, Printmaking.

Admissions Method: Zoned Priority
Program Description

Students may take courses offered in the specialized programs, all academic departments, all elective departments, AP classes, CUNY College Now classes, and Extended Day and Saturday classes.


Language Courses

French, Mandarin, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Biology, AP Calculus BC, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Human Geography, AP Spanish


Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Cross Country, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

Coed PSAL teams


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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48-01 90th Street
Elmhurst NY 11373
Elmhurst (District 24)
Trains: M, R to Grand Ave-Newtown
Buses: Q29, Q38, Q53, Q58, Q59, Q60, Q72, Q88, QM10, QM11, QM40


John Ficalora
Parent Coordinator
Griselda Zapata

Zone for the 2017-2018 school year. Call school to confirm.

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