Scholars' Academy

Grades: 6-12
Staff Pick
320 Beach 104th Street
Rockaway Park NY 11694
Phone: 718-474-6918

Our Insights

What’s Special

Accelerated academics plus fitness, music, drama, technology, art

The Downside

Remote location

Scholars' Academy brings together high-achieving students from across District 27 to form a diverse middle and high school community. The school is known for rigorous academics but also offers a wide array of sports and arts classes, as well as cutting-edge technology instruction.

The bustling life inside the three-story building is all the more pronounced given the remote landscape outside—elevated subway tracks, generic high-rise towers and the sound of seagulls above the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Jamaica Bay. Inside, in every classroom, alert teens work together in small groups on clear-cut tasks.

Principal Brian O'Connell, a native of the peninsula, calls Scholars' a "haven for positive integration," and while it is racially and ethnically diverse, we were also impressed by the fact that as many girls as boys told us they planned to pursue male-dominated fields such as civil engineering, electrical engineering and medicine. Recent Scholar’s Academy graduates have earned admission to Cornell, Harvard, Columbia University and other top-tier schools.

Easing into middle school, students travel in a group to math, science and humanities classes. We saw 7th-graders immersed in articles about life in Alabama in 1933 in preparation for reading the Depression-era novel To Kill a Mockingbird. In the music technology lab, 8th-graders studied 12-bar blues chords as part of a unit on jazz, informed by their lessons on slavery and segregation in humanities.

By the end of middle school, all students will have completed three high school courses. Ninth-graders have a course load typical of juniors in most high schools, taking the English, geometry, physics, Spanish, U.S. history and government Regents. Global studies is completed in three semesters instead of four.

All high school students are expected to complete four years of math, science and English. A partnership through St. Francis College in Brooklyn allows students to complete up to 30 college credits in 11th and 12th grade. The school has a total of 15 Advanced Placement course offerings.

Student dismissal is at 1:12 pm on Fridays to allow teachers to plan lessons. All staff members have web pages and use varying blended learning models, which combines face-to-face and online learning in a self-paced format, and "flipped" instruction, where kids watch videos of recorded teacher lessons at home and do "homework" in class, consisting of exercises, projects or lab experiments in small groups. Every classroom is equipped with iPads, chromebooks or Macbooks. Twelfth-graders in the blended economics class were learning how to budget money for college at the time of our visit.

Sixth graders rotate through seven STEM courses including coding, Lego Robotics, Agriculture, Stop Motion Animation and the Stock Market Game, while high school students study engineering and computer science.

The school's curriculum and day-to-day lessons are transparent to students and parents online, part of a massive effort to be transparent, according to O'Connell. "It shouldn't be mystery what your children are learning," he said, adding that self-paced learning is essential to helping bright students make progress and not just coast on their achievements.

The school hosts sporting events accompanied by their own marching band. Archery, bowling, tennis, lacrosse and swimming are some of the more unusual offerings. The latest is STUNT, a kind of acrobat cheerleading.

All students take visual arts and music classes. Eleventh-graders produce weekly news broadcasts in the media elective, while other students may help produce the school newspaper or join drama or stage crew and more.

Several graduating seniors revealed their very specific future plans to us, ranging from McCauley Honors (pre-med) and Stonybrook (electrical engineering) to St. Johns (elementary education) and St. Francis (accounting). Students have been accepted to Pratt and Parsons, as well as Cornell and Princeton.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school’s special education population increased from zero percent in 2014 to 12 percent in three years.

ADMISSIONS: Scholars' seeks students with good grades who have high 3’s or 4’s on their 4th-grade ELA and math exams. Promising applicants must complete an in-person interview and take on-site math and reading comprehension assessments. The admissions policy ensures that half of the students live on the Peninsula, another 40 percent live in District 27, and 10 percent live elsewhere in the city. Scholars' accepts 231 incoming 6th-graders from roughly 1,000 applicants. Priority in high school is given to middle school students. It is extremely difficult for outsiders to gain entry at the high school level. (Lydie Raschka, May 2014; updated, staff interviews, October 2017)

Read more

School Stats

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

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2019-20 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
84% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
44% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
78% Citywide Average

From 2019-20 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
3% Citywide Average

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
76% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From 2019 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
40% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
47% Citywide Average

From 2021 Middle School Directory

What high schools do most graduates attend?
Scholars' Academy, Townsend Harris High School, and Brooklyn Technical High School
Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Spanish,Algebra I,Living Environment

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

How many 8th-graders earn high school credit?
51% Citywide Average
How many students graduate in 4 years?
87% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
64% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
55% Citywide Average
How many graduates stay enrolled in college for at least 3 semesters?
77% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
93% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
20% Citywide Average

From 2020 School Directories

Uniforms required?

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
74% Citywide Average

From 2019 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
14% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
17% Citywide Average

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

Programs & Admissions

From the 2021 High School Directory

Scholars' Academy
Admissions Method: Screened


Language Courses


Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Chemistry, AP Physics 1, AP Art History, AP English Language and Composition, AP Biology, AP Computer Science A, AP Music Theory, AP Physics C: Mechanics, AP United States History, AP Calculus AB, AP Psychology, AP Calculus BC, AP World History: Modern, AP English Literature and Composition


Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Swimming

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

Coed PSAL teams

Golf, Stunt

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

Contact & Location


Far Rockaway (District 27)
Trains: A Line, S Line to Beach 105th St
Buses: Q21, Q22, Q53-SBS, QM16


Michele Smyth
Parent Coordinator
Kristine Supple

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
Metal detectors?

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