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Hillside Arts & Letters Academy

Grades: 9-12
Staff Pick for Special Ed

Our Insights

What’s Special

Four years of art or music

The Downside

Metal detectors

Hillside Arts & Letters is a small, well-run high school that offers children a choice of four years of music (band, chorus, piano) or four years of art (digital art, sculpture, painting, photography). It serves a range of children well including those learning to speak English and those with special needs. It is a “melting pot,” with more than 40 nationalities represented and kids who speak Bengali, Arabic, Spanish and Creole.

Community partnerships add spice to the music and art themes. The Queens Museum hosts an after school art program that culminates in a show at the museum. Fyrezone (finding your rhythm through education) taps into kids’ musical talent with music production, songwriting and dance.

Hillside encourages teens to share and evaluate their work with adults, a skill that may help them in college. Tenth graders present samples of class work on “portfolio day” at the end of the semester, 11th graders present their arts-based work, and 12th graders interview—and are interviewed by—adults in various fields. A list of college acceptances on the website includes many CUNY and SUNY schools and New York University.

The school opened in 2010 in the Jamaica Educational Campus. It shares the building with three other schools. Children must pass through metal detectors.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Hillside has a good on-time graduation rate with children with disabilities. Lincoln Center and Shakespeare Company sends teaching artists to work on theater performances with children learning English. (Lydie Raschka, web reports and DOE data, August 2018)

School Stats


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


Number of students
624 Citywide Average


Low-income students
Students with disabilities
Multilingual learners
From the 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

Safety & Vibe

How many students were suspended?
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
How many students say that some are bullied at their school because of their gender or sexual orientation?
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey and 2019-20 NY State Report Card

Faculty & Staff

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

Teachers’ Race/Ethnicity

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
Are teachers effective?
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey, 2020-21 School Quality Guide, 2019-20 NY State Report Card, 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


Not offered in 2019-20

Computer Science




Advanced Foreign Language


AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science


AP/IB Math or Science



From unpublished, anonymized data from the 2019-20 school year provided by the New York State Education Department, brought to you by

College Readiness

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
From the 2020-21 School Quality Guide
How many students filled out a FAFSA form by the end of their senior year?
From the 2020-21 FAFSA data released by Federal Student Aid, brought you by
How many graduates of this school received Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funding to attend a NYS college?
How many of those TAP recipients made it through college? Learn more
From unpublished, anonymized student-level data for the class of 2014 provided by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) in coordination with the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), brought to you by
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

Hillside Arts & Letters Academy

Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.

Program Description:

All students have the opportunity to take AP courses. All juniors have the opportunity to take CUNY College Now courses for college credit. Seniors are offered the opportunity to take St. John's University approved courses and receive a transcript from the university. Incoming ninth grade students choose an art or music track. Music students are able to choose: band, chorus or piano. Students have the opportunity to take four years of art/music and graduate with an Arts Endorsed Diploma.


From the 2021 High School Directory

Language Courses


Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Environmental Science, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP United States History, AP Computer Science A, AP Computer Science Principles, AP English Language and Composition, AP Psychology, AP Statistics, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Calculus AB

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Fencing, Football, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Flag Football, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Volleyball

Coed PSAL teams

Cricket, Double Dutch, Golf, Stunt

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

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location


167-01 Gothic Drive
Jamaica NY 11432

Trains: F Line to 169th St

Buses: Q1, Q17, Q2, Q25, Q3, Q30, Q31, Q34, Q36, Q43, Q65, Q76, Q77, X68


Principal: Raquel Nolasco

Parent Coordinator: Annis Manuel Dry


Other Details

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the Jamaica Educational Campus with three other schools

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? Yes

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