Francis Lewis High School

Grades 9-12
Staff Pick Staff Pick for Special Ed
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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

Our Review

Francis Lewis is one of the citys largest and most successful high schools. Its a vibrant place with a broad selection of courses, teams and activities that outpace some small colleges. It is home to the nations largest chapter of Junior ROTC, a sought-after law program, and demanding, selective programs in math, science 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.

Options abound for students of all levels and with all kinds of interests. Twelve languages are taught (including American Sign), there are a myriad of Advanced Placement (AP) and College Now courses, and class settings are tailored for a range of student needs. For instance, there are three types of calculus classes: AP calculusAB and BCas 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 and keep better tabs on kids so they dont fall through the cracks, the school is organized into themed programs known as small learning communities (SLCs). In addition to four programs that admit students from outside the schools zone there are SLCs in computer science, business (known as virtual enterprise), dance, design, engineering, forensics, journalism, math team, music, sports, and sports medicine/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. 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 competitionsin 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 Intel, 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 (its 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 controleven in the cafeteriaand 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. Theres an eclectic mix of more than 50 student clubs and activities as well as 27 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. During our visit, students were rehearsing for an upcoming performance of the musical "Rent."

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.

Theres a dedicated college office staffed by two full-time college counselors and a support staff of four. Named for former schools chancellor, Dennis Walcott, who attended Francis Lewis, the college office is a large, bustling place where students can drop in for questions and individualized help and entire classes visit for college admissions workshops.

Graduates attend a wide variety of colleges such as CUNY, SUNY, trade schools and highly selective private colleges, including the Ivy Leagues 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, say math, will be placed in a general education class for that subject. When we visited, the school offered three ICT sections for algebra II/trig to accommodate all the special needs students who were keeping pace with the traditional sequence of high school math subjects. An alternative assessment program provides life skills, work opportunities and academic instruction for special needs students who are unable to take a traditional academic load because of severe disabilities. There are multiple class settings for ELLs, such as English classes for beginning speakers and self-contained classes for ELLs with special needs.

ADMISSIONS: Guaranteed admission to students in the schools zone if they apply to the Zoned program. The Math Research, Science Research and University Scholars (humanities) programs accept students with good attendance, level 3 or 4 scores on standardized tests and grades of at least 85 in core subjects. 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. Students admitted to these four programs may apply to switch to another SLC at the end of 9th grade. (Laura Zingmond, April 2015).

About the students

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

About the school

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.
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
87% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
37% 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
5.8 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?
74% 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 3 dedicated spaces for Music and Visual arts
This school has 10 licensed arts teacher in Dance, 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?
36% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
37% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
60% 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.
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
66% 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?
59% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and 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
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
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
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.

Admissions Method: Zoned Guarantee
Program Description


Language Courses

American Sign Language, Arabic, French, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Mandarin, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

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 Physics, AP Spanish, AP Statistics, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP U.S. History, AP World History


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


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NYC Department of Education: School Finder

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58-20 Utopia Parkway
Fresh Meadows NY 11365
Fresh Meadows (District 26)
Trains: N/A
Buses: Q17, Q30, Q31, Q88, QM1, QM31, QM35, QM5, QM7, QM8


David Marmor
Parent Coordinator
Constance Miaoulis

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

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