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Our Insights

What’s Special

Serves a wide ranges of students well

The Downside

No football or music; limited space for gym

Robert F. Kennedy Community High School has a warm atmosphere, enthusiastic teachers and loyal families who speak more than 28 languages. A longtime teacher calls it “the best of the non-test-into schools around.” Most students graduate on time, and most teachers would recommend the school to other families.

“Parents love that it’s safe and that we know the kids," "says principal Anthony Barbetta. "The focus is on students. We know what they’re struggling with, where they need help.”

The school makes sure teens with disabilities and those learning English get the support they need. Unlike many schools, which face shortages, RFK has a stable of teachers who are dually certified to teach new English speakers and a content area like math, science or history. The three languages most children speak in addition to English are Spanish, Mandarin and Arabic.

The school has a partnership with the Theater Development Fund. The Arts in Schools report shows that here, too, the school takes into account its English learners; one year, Chris Lin, a Queens-based visual artist born and raised in Taiwan, developed art projects with the group of English learners. Children also go to theater performances, such as SpongeBob Squarepants and Come from Away, through the partnership.

Barbetta took over as principal in 2017. He has a good track record as the former principal of Townsend Harris High School and Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School. He is an approachable, likable problem solver, according to testimonials from students and colleagues on the Townsend Harris website. He earns high marks on school surveys.

RFK is focused on getting more graduates ready for college-level work. To this end, the school offers “more AP courses, more science, more college classes,” the principal says, both on-site and at Queensborough Community College. More than 100 children attend a popular Saturday Academy. After-school tutoring is also available.

The school’s size makes it easier for teens to jump into sports, clubs and school celebrations. “That’s the nice part of being in a small school," Barbetta says. Most classes have two teachers and mix in children with special needs, he points out, including in some college classes and Advanced Placement courses. “The kids are together,” he says. 

Of course, a smaller school is not able to offer old-fashioned football games and pep rallies, but students say teams are welcoming of non-athletes who want to try a sport as late as junior year. They might try bowling, fencing, baseball, basketball or tennis. There are art and technology classes but no music.

A guidance counselor serves as part-time college adviser. Most students go on to attend City University of New York schools. Some enter the workforce, military or trade schools.

(Lydie Raschka, web reports and interview, February 2018)

 

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School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Academics

School
Citywide
How many students graduate in 4 years?
 
94%
How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
 
89%
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
 
89%
Average daily attendance
 
89%
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
 
36%
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
 
75%
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achieve the goals of their students' IEPs?
 
92%
From the 2021-22 School Quality Guide and 2020-21 NYC School Survey

Students

569
Number of students
Citywide Average is 615

Race/Ethnicity


School
Citywide
Low-income students
 
78%
Students with disabilities
 
17%
Multilingual learners
 
11%
From the 2022-23 Demographic Snapshot

Safety & Vibe

School
Citywide
How many students were suspended?
 
0%
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
 
87%
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
 
35%
How many students say that some are bullied at their school because of their gender or sexual orientation?
 
28%
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
 
97%
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey and 2019-20 NY State Report Card

Faculty & Staff

School
Citywide
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
 
88%
6.1
Years of principal experience at this school
Citywide Average is 7
225
Number of students for each guidance counselor or social worker
Citywide Average is 157

Teachers’ Race/Ethnicity


How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
 
98%
Are teachers effective?
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey, 2021-22 School Quality Guide, 2019-20 Report on School-Based Staff Demographics, 2021 Guidance Counselor Report, and this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Advanced Courses

Which students have access to advanced courses at this school? Learn more

Calculus

 
6%

Computer Science

Not offered in 2019-20

Physics

 
7%

Advanced Foreign Language

 
27%

AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science

 
22%

AP/IB Math or Science

 
11%

Music

 
12%
From unpublished, anonymized data from the 2021-22 school year provided by the New York State Education Department, brought to you by

College Readiness

School
Citywide
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
 
70%
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
 
77%
How many students who have graduated from this high school stay in college for at least 3 semesters?
 
79%
From the 2020-21 and 2021-22 School Quality Guide
How many students filled out a FAFSA form by the end of their senior year?
 
73%
From the 2022-23 FAFSA data released by Federal Student Aid, brought you by Visit Understanding FAFSA for help with the FAFSA and financial aid.
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

From the 2024 High School Directory

College Head-Start (Q70A)

Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.

Program Description:

Students have the opportunity to take college-level courses and earn college credit through SUNY Albany, SUNY Farmingdale, Queens College, Queensborough Community College and Vaughn College. As part of College Access for All, students receive individual attention when applying for college, such as free SAT Prep, FAFSA and college application assistance and can attend college trips.

Offerings

From the 2024 High School Directory

Language Courses

Mandarin, Spanish

Advanced Courses

Algebra II (Advanced Math), AP Calculus AB, AP Chinese Language and Culture, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Psychology, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP Statistics, AP Studio Art - 2D, AP World History: Modern, Arts (College Course [Credited]), Chemistry (Advanced Science), Econ/Gov (College Course [Credited]), ELA (College Course [Credited]), Math (College Course [Credited]), Math (College Course [Uncredited]), Physics (Advanced Science), Social Studies (College Course [Credited]), US History (College Course [Credited]), World Languages (Advanced World Languages), World Languages (College Course [Credited])

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Soccer, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

Coed PSAL teams

Golf

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on NYCDOE’s MySchools

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location

Location

75-40 Parsons Boulevard
Queens NY 11366

Buses: Q20A, Q20B, Q25, Q34, Q44-SBS, Q46, Q64, Q65, QM1, QM31, QM35, QM36, QM4, QM44, QM5, QM6, QM7, QM8


Contact

Principal: Ignazio Accardi

Parent Coordinator: Angela Miraglia

Website

Other Details

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? No

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