Queens Preparatory Academy
Stable leadership; program to improve achievement for black and Latino boys
Some safety concerns outside Springfield Gardens complex; attendance & grad rate need improvement
Queens Preparatory Academy was founded in 2005 with the support of the Institute for Student Achievement (ISA), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving underserved urban schools and creating small high schools.
Tashon Haywood, principal when the school opened in the Springfield Gardens High School complex in 2005, provides stable leadership. "She pushes her staff. She pushes her students. She brings in lots of outside programs," said Malika Hibbs, director of student services for the network of schools that includes Queens Prep.
A partnership with the non-profit organization, The Me Nobody Knows, provides performing arts opportunities for Queens Prep students. The school's chapter of Junior Achievement helps students acquire financial literacy. Queens Prep students even received some news coverage for their work introducing community economics to 2nd graders at P.S. 80, Thurgood Marshall School.
Queens Prep was one of 40 city high schools selected to participate in the Expanded Success Initiative, a program to improve college and career-readiness rates for black and Latino boys. The school received a $250,000 grant to develop strategies to improve achievement and better outcomes for its male students.
The school's small size allows it to provide personalized attention to students, most of whom are ill-prepared for high school. Attendance is below average for high schools in the city while the graduation rate is about average for city schools.
Spanish is the only foreign language taught. The school offers Advanced Placement classes, which have included AB and BC Calculus, English and American History.
Students and teachers offered a mixed response in the 2011-12 Learning Environment Survey. Most students said they feel safe inside the school, but nearly 40 percent said they don't feel safe on school property outside the building. A majority also say teachers enjoy teaching their subjects and offer extra help when needed. Most teachers gave high marks to Haywood and say the school sets high standards. One-third, however, said the school does not help students find the best way to achieve learning goals.
Queens Prep is one of several small schools housed inside the Springfield Gardens Educational Campus Building. Other campus schools include Excelsior Preparatory High School, George Washington Carver High School and the Preparatory Academy for Writers. All schools share use of the media center, gymnasium and cafeteria. Students must pass through metal detectors when entering the building.
Queens Prep students wear uniforms of a collared school shirt and khakis pants or skirts.
After school: Students can participate in campus-wide sports teams. Extra-curricular activities include chess, drama, chorus, visual arts, robotics, dance and modelling. The school also runs a Saturday enrichment program.
College: The school encourages graduates to go to college. However, many must take remedial courses at CUNY because of low scores on Regents exams.
Admissions: Priority to Queens students or residents who attend an information session. (Laura Zingmond, web and news reports, interview August, 2012)
About the students
About the school
Is this school safe?
About the leadership
About the teachers
How many graduate?
Are students prepared for college?
How does this school serve English Language Learners?
How does this school serve students with disabilities?
Programs and Admissions
Pre-Engineering: Basic training in the challenging courses related to the field of engineering; four years of math and science; exposure to the various opportunities in the engineering field and other math/science related fields.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Biology, AP English, AP US History, AP World History
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Football, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Wrestling
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Flag Football, Indoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams