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Susan E. Wagner High School

Grades: 9-12
1200 Manor Road
Staten Island NY 10314
Phone: 718-698-4200
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Our Insights

What’s Special

New performing arts center

The Downside

Overcrowding

Sprawling Susan Wagner High School is a well-run school that serves college-bound children, as well as those who plan to enter the U.S. Air Force or join the family business as a carpenter or an electrician. Surrounded by single-family homes and well-tended athletic fields, Wagner looks suburban, but it grapples with big-city overcrowding.

The school has several hundred more students than it was designed for, and class size pushes up against the limit of 34 students, according to parent coordinator Debbi Rabinowitz. Despite the crowding, Wagner does well on the city's various measures, boasting good attendance and a high graduation rate.

Even so, the school’s large size can be intimidating for new students. “We try to encourage them freshmen year to attach themselves to something extracurricular,” Rabinowitz says. Along with a wide selection of courses, including Latin, opera, journalism, forensics and an array of Advanced Placement classes, Wagner has an active student government and about three dozen sports teams.

It also helps that the school is divided into 15 learning centers, or small communities, each with its own dean, assistant principal and guidance counselor.

Students may apply to eight different programs within the school; three are screened for grades and attendance (Academy of Finance, Law & Politics, Scholar’s Academy) and three require an audition (music, visual arts, theater). There is some overlapping; for example, a kid in band or theatrical arts might also be in the Scholar’s Academy, Rabinowitz says.

The school day is slightly staggered, with some students arriving at 7:00 a.m. and others at 8:15. Most students have an eight-period day, with seniors generally having the earlier schedule.

The school has a beautiful new performing arts center (it was featured in Architect magazine). It is adjacent to the school building and features a black box theater and music and dance studios. The theater program produces large-scale musicals—with complex sets built in the carpentry shop, and actors in full costume—such as Les Miserables, Grease and Gypsy, and dramas like Brighton Beach Memoirs.

Wagner accommodates children who learn at different speeds. Most classes include students with a range of academic abilities, but teachers frequently break classes into groups according to skill level. There is a Saturday program for students who did not pass Regents exams.

Classrooms used to be largely traditional—desks in rows, instructor at the front. But “we’ve moved away from that model,” Rabinowitz says. Desks now face one another so students can engage in discussions, she adds.

On school surveys, most students say they feel safe in school. They must swipe their identification cards when they enter the cafeteria and then sign out if they wish to go to the bathroom. There is little tolerance for lateness, and deans patrol hallways making sure students get to class on time.

The school has significantly reduced its number of suspensions over the years. “The staff is getting better training on how to proceed with students in an argumentative state,” Rabinowitz says.

Former Wagner history teacher David Cugini took over as principal in 2017, when longtime principal Gary Giordano retired. Cugini has also worked as assistant principal at Gaynor McCown Expeditionary Learning School.

Wagner has a widely praised college and career office with a full-time counselor and two other staff members. Counselor Jessica O'Connell says she works with all students, from those applying to Yale to those seeking a GED, doing “whatever it is I can do to help them find their slot.” Roughly 75 percent of Wagner graduates go on to college, with four-year SUNY and CUNY schools the most popular choices.

The school has one learning center, Vocational Preparatory, geared toward students with severe disabilities. These students do not take Regents classes. They are integrated into school life as much as possible, Rabinowitz says.

ADMISSIONS: Staten Island priority. Eight of the 15 learning centers accept zoned and unzoned students based on various criteria including middle school grades and test scores, and auditions. Students who are admitted to the zoned program choose their specialty before starting 9th grade. (Lydie Raschka, phone interview, March 2018)

 

 

 

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School Stats

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

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2017-18 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
84%
77% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
78%
85% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
54%
36% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
90%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
91%
81% Citywide Average

From 2015-16 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
1%
3% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
88%
74% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school
0.8

How do students perform academically?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many students graduate in 4 years?
87%
80% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
61%
44% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
59%
39% Citywide Average
How many graduates stay enrolled in college for at least 3 semesters?
78%
66% Citywide Average

From 2017 NY State Graduation Outcomes

How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
31%
13% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2017-18 Demographic Snapshot

Enrollment
3284
Asian
14%
Black
11%
Hispanic
27%
White
46%
Other
1%
Free or reduced priced lunch
56%
Students with disabilities
22%
English language learners
3%

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
90%
87% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
27%
38% Citywide Average

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
61%
63% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
77%
68% Citywide Average


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

Programs & Admissions

Academy of Finance
Admissions Method: Screened
Requirements:
  • Attendance
  • Course Grades: Average (87-100)
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (2.7-4.5), Math (3.5-4.5)
Program Description:

This program connects high school students with the world of financial services and personal finance, offering a curriculum that covers banking and credit, financial planning, global finance, securities, insurance, accounting, and economics. This varied content gives our students an education that is both current and in-line with industry standards. Students are able to supplement their knowledge with a host of work-based learning opportunities, including paid internships their junior year.

Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps
Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.
Program Description:

This program aims to educate and train high school cadets in citizenship, promote community service, instill responsibility, character, and self-discipline, and provide instruction in air and space fundamentals, leadership, and wellness. The program is grounded in the Air Force core values of integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.

Law & Politics Institute
Admissions Method: Screened
Requirements:
  • Attendance
  • Course Grades: English (92-100), Social Studies (94-100)
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (2.7-4.5), Math (2.7-4.5)
Program Description:

This program provides students with a four year sequence that engages them in coursework that is focused on how our society is shaped by the laws that govern it.

Scholars' Academy
Admissions Method: Screened
Requirements:
  • Attendance
  • Course Grades: English (91-100), Math (92-100), Science (92-100), Social Studies (92-100)
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (3.7-4.5), Math (3.8-4.5)
Program Description:

This program provides students of outstanding ability and potential with an enriched program that emphasizes inquiry, critical thinking, and research skills.

Music
Admissions Method: Audition
Requirements:
  • Attendance
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (2.2-4.5), Math (1.9-4.5)
  • Audition
Program Description:

As the specially selected "Chancellor's Arts Designated High School" for Staten Island, music students are eligible to receive a special Chancellor's Endorsed Arts Diploma. The following courses are offered within the Music sequence: Wind Ensemble, Symphonic, Concert, Prelude, Beginning, Jazz, Marching Bands, Advanced, Intermediate, Beginning Guitar Ensembles, Concert, Mixed, Intermediate Chorus, and Composition. Students will perform in multiple concerts, festivals, and events each year.

Visual Arts
Admissions Method: Audition
Requirements:
  • Attendance
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (2.3-4.5), Math (2.0-4.5)
  • Audition
Program Description:

As the specially selected "Chancellor's Arts Designated High School" for Staten Island, visual arts students are eligible to receive a special Chancellor's Endorsed Arts Diploma. The Visual Arts program encourages students to reach their potential through the creation of original work. The following courses are offered within the Visual Arts sequence: Painting, Portfolio, Advanced Drawing, Beginning Drawing, Graphic Design, Digital Photography, Basic Art, and Art History.

Theater
Admissions Method: Audition
Requirements:
  • Attendance
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (2.4-4.5), Math (1.9-4.5)
  • Audition
Program Description:

As the specially selected "Chancellor's Arts Designated High School" for Staten Island, theater students are eligible to receive a special Chancellor's Endorsed Arts Diploma. The following courses are offered within the Theater sequence: Basic Acting, Advanced Acting, Musical Theater, Directing, Playwriting, and Theater Production. Student performance opportunities include: the Spring Musical, Show Choir, Winter Musical, Spooktacular, SING, Original Works by New Writers, and more.

Dance
Admissions Method: Audition
Requirements:
  • Attendance
  • Standardized Test Scores: Average
  • Audition
Program Description:

As the specially selected "Chancellor's Arts Designated High School" for Staten Island, dance students are eligible to receive a special Chancellor's Endorsed Arts Diploma. The dance program is a comprehensive course of study that includes training in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Horton Technique, and Limòn Technique.

Zoned
Admissions Method: Zoned Guarantee
Program Description:

Comprehensive academic program.

Academics

Language Courses

French, Italian, Latin, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Environmental Science, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP U.S. History, AP World History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Football, Handball, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Flag Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Handball, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball

Coed PSAL teams

Golf, Stunt

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

Contact & Location

Location

Mid-Island (District 31)
Trains: N/A
Buses: S54, S57, S61

Contact

Principal
David Cugini

Other Details

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Metal detectors?
No

Zone for the 2017-2018 school year. Call school to confirm.

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