Student work toward fluency in Mandarin and English in a friendly and supportive environment
Limited electives classes though there are clubs, sports and activities after school
Opened in 2013, Queens High School for Language Studies (QHSLS) is a well-run, high performing school modeled after the High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies in Manhattan. The school admits a mix of students fluent in English who want to learn Mandarin as a foreign language and native Mandarin Chinese speakers still learning English. The goal is for the blended population of English and Mandarin learners to support each other while all work towards fluency in their new language on top of taking a full load of academic classes.
“Chinese is reinforced throughout the school day,” said founding principal Melanie Lee, who taught history and English as a second language at High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies. “You hear it in the hallways and at lunchtime because students are encouraged to learn and practice with their peers.”
Housed in the Flushing High School building, QHSLS has a calm and friendly vibe. In classes we visited, teachers were enthusiastic; students seemed engaged. The school gets very high marks from teachers and students in a range of areas based on responses to the annual NYC School survey. Overall, students say they feel safe in the building and bullying is rare; teachers say order and discipline are maintained and that Lee is an effective principal.
QHSLS follows a bilingual rather than dual language format, meaning that fluent English speakers take a daily Mandarin class for all four years, but all their other classes are taught in English. The English language learners (ELL) take Mandarin classes geared for their advanced level as well as classes in other subjects geared for non-fluent English speakers. In 9th and 10th grade they may also take science, math and history taught in Mandarin to ensure they do not fall behind in those subjects while working to improve their English skills; by 11th grade all core subjects are taught exclusively in English.
The school serves students at all academic levels and does a good job of giving them the opportunity to work at their own pace and skill level. For instance, math and Advanced Placement courses are taught in extended periods to ensure students get extra time to digest the lessons, which helps them perform better. In English-only classes, teachers give instructions in Mandarin to make sure all students understand the assignments. Conversely, in Mandarin for beginning learners, the teacher may explain a task in English before switching to Chinese for the remainder of the class.
Teachers in all subjects make time for class discussions and small group work. “It’s essential that students work in groups to help them process their lessons in their native language and their new one”, said Lee.
Typical of small schools, QHSLS offers a limited number of elective classes. Students may earn college credit taking a range of Advanced Placement courses as well as free courses at Queens College. In addition to core subjects, there are elective classes in, theater, computer applications and visual arts.
A local cultural and social welfare organization, AAFE (Asian Americans for Equity), helps with student support and family outreach. AAFE funds college tours for students and their parents and connects families with needed services such as counseling, immigration and healthcare.
Lee invites parents to tour the school several times each year so they may see the school in action and offer the administration feedback.
QHSLS shares the facilities with Flushing High School and Veritas Academy. Students at all three schools may participate in campus-wide sports teams and other extracurricular activities. There are some school-run activities that vary by year based on student interest. Recent options have included theater, creative writing, Key Club (volunteer work), math team, chess dance and student government.
The Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc. also provides after-school activities for QHSLS students including physical fitness classes and academic help, such as SAT preparation and tutoring.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers ICT and SETSS and has two special education teachers who work with students in the classrooms and on an individual basis.
ADMISSIONS: Up to 50% of seats may be filled with native Mandarin speakers who are still learning English. Priority to Queens residents. (Laura Zingmond, November 2015; updated via interview, August 2018)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
Computer ScienceNot offered in 2019-20
Advanced Foreign Language
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
MusicNot offered in 2019-20
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Queens High School for Language Studies
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Chinese Language and Culture, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Calculus BC, AP Biology, AP United States History, AP Psychology
Boys PSAL teams
Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Football, Handball, Soccer, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling
Girls PSAL teams
Badminton, Basketball, Handball, Indoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling
Contact & Location
35-01 Union Street
Flushing NY 11354
Trains: to Flushing-Main St
Buses: Q12, Q13, Q15, Q15A, Q16, Q17, Q19, Q20A, Q20B, Q25, Q26, Q27, Q28, Q34, Q44-SBS, Q48, Q50, Q65, Q66, QM20, QM3
This school shares the building with Veritas Academy and Flushing HS