Tottenville High School
Big, suburban-style high school with strong spirit
Lots of seniors only have a half day
"What's the tuition here?" an athlete from the Bronx asked a Tottenville player. His question was unsurprising given the school's plush campus, with three sprawling playing fields and a courtyard filled with blossoms in spring.
At just over 4,000 students, Tottenville is one of the city's biggest schools. Size allows it to provide many offerings, including one of the most successful sports programs in the city. It does not, however, guarantee ethnic diversity; about 120 African American and Hispanic students have been admitted from other parts of the island on an "integration variance," which allows non-white children from outside the school zone to attend Tottenville. Some teenagers might feel lost in the crowd, but Principal John Tuminaro says he works hard to break down what he calls "the anonymity factor" by urging kids to take advantage of Tottenville's many teams and clubs.
Students from three area middle schools, IS 7, 34, and 75, vie for entrance to one of two academically challenging "institutes" - humanities and science. Those who miss the exam cut-off may take individual honors courses.
That's just the beginning of the academic smorgasbord. In a "Virtual Enterprise" program, kids run a mock advertising agency. A computer networking course has helped get summer internships for many students, including one who helped set up the schools' Chancellor's computer. In a dental hygiene course we saw, students were learning how to clean one another's teeth. Students in the Culinary Arts program treated us to a meal that began with sweet potato soup and ended with a strawberry-filled pastry tied with licorice string. (If only school lunches were this good!)
The music department sponsors jazz and concert bands. The chorus decked out in tee-shirts that read, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" - has already performed in the renowned auditorium, one of only four schools in the state so honored. Tottenville has auto repair and woodworking shops, and the girls' soccer and boys' baseball teams rank near the top in the five boroughs.
Among the school's more innovative programs are its two, student-run stores. One, Tottenville Treasures, a cozy nook selling teddy bears and such, is the brainchild of a social worker who thought it could help kids at risk of dropping out, including special education students. The other is a mini supermarket, also run primarily by students in special education.
Most classrooms are traditional, with desks in rows and teachers leading discussion. We saw some notable exceptions, including a lively Italian class taught by a native speaker and an AP calculus class where students solve problems together.
Occasional fights in the neighborhood have gotten the school some bad press. Security, however, is not oppressive, and Tuminaro tolerates minor infractions. "I like to think I'm a kid's principal," he says.
More than 90% of graduates attend four-year colleges, including St. Johns University, Cornell and Columbia. An open house is held in October for prospective students and their parents. (Pamela Wheaton, February, 2003. This school is featured in NYC's Best Public High Schools: A Parent's Guide.)
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
The Marine Corps JROTC program is co-sponsored by the Department of Education and the US Marine Corps. The curriculum is divided into three areas: academic, military, and physical fitness and is designed to provide students with a sense of leadership and self-discipline.
This four-year program is designed to challenge those students who are not only strong in the humanities and language areas, but also interested in pursuing careers in these or related professions. The program is rigorous and requires a serious commitment.
This four-year program is designed to challenge students who are strong in math and science and are interested in pursuing careers in these or related professions. The program is rigorous and requires a serious commitment. In addition to fulfilling all high school requirements, students take a minimum of two college-level science classes and one year of college-level math. Hands on and computer research in science is required, leading to opportunities for both supervised and independent research.
A comprehensive academic college preparatory program.
Italian, Latin, 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 Physics, AP Psychology, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP U.S. History, AP World History
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Football, Gymnastics, Handball, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling
Girls PSAL teams
Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Flag Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Handball, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams
Staten Island NY 10312