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Francis Lewis High School

Grades: 9-12
Staff Pick Staff Pick for Special Ed
58-20 Utopia Parkway
Fresh Meadows NY 11365
Phone: 718-281-8200
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Our Insights

What’s Special

Huge variety of courses and activities; lots of options and support for students with special needs

The Downside

Overcrowding and large class sizes

Francis Lewis is one of the city’s largest and most successful high schools. It is home to the nation's largest chapter of Junior ROTC, a sought-after law program, and demanding, selective programs in engineering, science research and humanities that offer academics on par with specialized and other highly competitive schools. Local students who qualify for these programs or are zoned for the school should think twice before taking on a long commute to attend selective or popular schools elsewhere in the city.

With course offerings that outpace some small colleges, options abound at Francis Lewis for all students. Ten languages are taught (including American Sign Language) and there are myriad Advanced Placement (AP) and College Now courses.

There are also class settings tailored for a range of student needs. For instance, there are three types of calculus class: AP calculus, AB and BC, as well as non-AP calculus for students not quite ready to tackle the college-level version. There are also sections for algebra and living environment that are taught over two years to give struggling students more time and support to learn the subjects.

To help downsize the learning experience for all, the school is organized into themed programs known as small learning communities (SLCs). In addition to the programs that admit students from outside the school’s zone, there are SLCs in art, business (known as Virtual Enterprise), dance, digital design, drama, engineering, forensics, international studies, journalism, and sports and health sciences. Each one delivers on its theme through a sequence of classes unique to that SLC and some dedicated activities that help build a sense of community. By the start of 10th grade, all students are enrolled in an SLC that they stick with through graduation.

Overall, academics are strong across all subjects and instruction that we observed reflected a mix of teaching styles. Collaborative work and projects dominate in some classes, while teacher-directed lessons are the norm elsewhere. Regardless of the class structure, we saw a lot of teachers build in time for student discussion and reflection.

Students have lots of opportunities to participate in competitions: in math, science, robotics, debate, moot court, mock trial, Model UN, the arts, writing and business. Science research students, who are groomed for national competitions such as Siemens and Regeneron Science Talent Search, take daily lab classes and have access to research labs during their free periods. By their junior year, they are working with professional mentors on independent research projects.

The vibe throughout the school is cheery and surprisingly orderly despite massive overcrowding (it's housed in a building designed for a much smaller population) and large class sizes. Hallways get very congested during change of classes and lunch periods serve up to 1,000 students at time, yet during our visit noise levels remained under control and students were calm in classes and throughout the building.

Most students adapt to the enormity of the place by finding their niche in a club, team or activity. There’s an eclectic mix of more than 50 student clubs and activities as well as many PSAL sports teams. Model UN, a popular activity, runs as a club in the lower grades and as a formal class for juniors and seniors. Choral groups and bands perform in concerts throughout the year. There are annual school plays.

Roughly 1,000 students participate in Junior ROTC, which requires no commitment to serve in the military. Some of the participants we spoke with, including girls who proudly keep pace with boys in physical feats such as regulation push-ups, say they appreciate the leadership training, camaraderie and academic support that are core to the program.

Graduates attend a wide variety of colleges such as CUNY, SUNY, trade schools and highly selective private colleges, including Ivy League universities and West Point Academy.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has a substantial special education and English language learner (ELL) population and offers many types of supports and settings. In addition to SETSS, there are self-contained and ICT classes in many subjects. Teachers take care to identify students’ strengths and place them in class settings that both support and challenge them. For instance, a student who needs self-contained classes for most courses but is strong in one area—for instance, math—will be placed in a general education class for that subject. When we visited, the school offered several ICT sections for algebra II/trig to accommodate all the students with special needs who were keeping pace with the traditional sequence of high school math. An alternative assessment program provides life skills, work opportunities and academic instruction for students who are unable to take a traditional academic load because of severe disabilities. There are multiple class settings for ELLs, such as bilingual instruction in core subjects, English classes for beginning speakers and self-contained classes for ELLs with special needs.

ADMISSIONS: Students who live in the school’s zone are guaranteed admission to the zoned program only but may apply to the other programs. The engineering and robotics, University Scholars (humanities) and science research programs admit students based on a review of grades, test scores, and records of attendance and lateness. Admission to the Jacob Javitz Law Institute is based on the educational option formula, which is designed to admit a mix of low-, average- and high-achieving students. (Laura Zingmond, April 2015; updated March 2018).

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School Stats

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

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2017-18 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
93%
77% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
87%
85% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
30%
36% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
87%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
97%
81% Citywide Average

From 2015-16 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
0%
3% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
86%
74% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school
4.8

How do students perform academically?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many students graduate in 4 years?
88%
80% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
80%
44% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
76%
39% Citywide Average
How many graduates stay enrolled in college for at least 3 semesters?
81%
66% Citywide Average

From 2017 NY State Graduation Outcomes

How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
60%
13% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2017-18 Demographic Snapshot

Enrollment
4557
Asian
57%
Black
6%
Hispanic
21%
White
16%
Other
1%
Free or reduced priced lunch
73%
Students with disabilities
14%
English language learners
10%

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
93%
87% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
18%
38% Citywide Average

From 2018 School Directories

This school offers Transitional Bilingual Education in Chinese.

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
66%
63% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
73%
68% Citywide Average


For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

Jacob K. Javits Law Institute
Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.
Program Description:

This program distinguishes itself with recognition in Mock Trial and Moot Court competitions. A small learning community which offers law-related courses including: You and The Law, Constitutional & Business Law, Mock Trial, Debate Team, and Bioethics.

Engineering and Robotics
Admissions Method: Screened
Requirements:
  • Attendance
  • Course Grades: English (88-100), Math (90-100), Science (90-100), Social Studies (90-100)
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (3.4-4.5), Math (4.0-4.5)
Program Description:

Students are programmed for honors level courses in Computer Science, Engineering, and Robotics. Students will prepare for a variety of high level regional and national competitions.

University Scholars
Admissions Method: Screened
Requirements:
  • Attendance
  • Course Grades: English (87-100), Math (86-100), Science (87-100), Social Studies (88-100)
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (3.3-4.5), Math (3.2-4.5)
Program Description:

This program provides an honors-level sequence of courses which engages students in a rigorous scholastic experience in the Liberal Arts & Humanities. Each term students are programmed for a second language or an additional English/Humanities course.

Science Research Institute
Admissions Method: Screened
Requirements:
  • Attendance
  • Course Grades: English (88-100), Math (90-100), Science (89-100), Social Studies (88-100)
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (3.4-4.5), Math (3.7-4.5)
Program Description:

Our award-winning institute has received high Honors in the National Siemens Competition, Intel, and NYSCEF. Students are programmed for advanced honors courses preparing for the SAT2 subject exams and courses in authentic science research.

Zoned
Admissions Method: Zoned Guarantee

Academics

Language Courses

French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Mandarin, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Art History, AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Japanese, AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, AP Physics, AP Psychology, AP Spanish, AP Statistics, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP U.S. History, AP World History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Flag Football, Golf, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling

Coed PSAL teams

Cricket

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on the NYCDOE’s School Finder
NYC Department of Education: School Finder

Contact & Location

Location

Fresh Meadows (District 26)
Trains: N/A
Buses: Q17, Q30, Q31, Q65, Q88

Contact

Principal
David Marmor
Parent Coordinator
CONSTANCE MIAOULIS

Other Details

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Metal detectors?
No

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

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