Queens Satellite High School for Opportunity
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Well-run school that gives older students a second chance
Queens Satellite High School for Opportunity serves students who are at least 16 years old and transferring from at least one prior high school. It runs on a trimester so older students who work hard may finish a year and a half’s worth of classes from September to June. Teachers overwhelmingly recommend the school to new families, according to NYC school surveys.
The average age of students is about 18 year old, said a social work student who worked in the building, posting on the parentsofteens listserv. Some may be older than 20 by the time they get their diplomas. The smaller school setting is designed to provide more individual support.
Principal Thomas McKenna took the helm in 2017. NYC school surveys show he is a respected leader. He has worked with a dedicated staff to improve the school's performance over the last several years, according to an email correspondence with the parent coordinator. McKenna gained experience with transfer schools as the founding principal of Brooklyn Democracy Academy. Much of his work experience has been with at-risk youth, according to his Linked in page, including a stint as assistant principal of the high school of Riker's Island.
The school shares the building with a GED program designed for new immigrants. There is no gymnasium, but gym classes are held in the Jamaica YMCA two blocks away, and students take yoga in the building for one trimester.
Queens Satellite is part of the New York Performance Standards Consortium, a group of schools exempt from administering all but the English Regents exam. Eleventh- and 12th-graders must complete PBATs (performance based assessment tasks) on topics of their choosing, which involve research and reading as well as writing and presenting papers in English, math, history, science, a foreign language and art.
The school partners with the NYC Learning to Work initiative, which provides paid internships and work experience for students.
Admissions: Open to older students who are unhappy or unsuccessful in their previous schools. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, December 2018; updated August 2020)