Susan E. Wagner High School

Grades 9-12
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What’s Special

New performing arts center

The Downside


Our Review

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)




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

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2016-17 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
77% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
85% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
37% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
81% Citywide Average

From 2015-16 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
3% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

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

How do students perform academically?

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many students graduate in 4 years?
77% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
37% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
38% Citywide Average
How many graduates stay enrolled in college for at least 3 semesters?
64% Citywide Average

From 2017 NY State Graduation Outcomes

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

Who does this school serve?

From 2017-18 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
87% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
37% Citywide Average

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
59% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
66% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs and Admissions

Academy of Finance
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description

This program is an interdisciplinary program that combines economic and business courses with hands-on work experience.

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

The objectives of the Air Force JROTC program are 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
Program Description

This program uses the study of law as a thematic base for developing skills.

Scholars' Academy
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description

The goal of the Scholars' Academy is to provide students of outstanding ability and potential with an enriched program that emphasizes inquiry, critical thinking, and research skills.

Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Instrumental courses for beginning and experienced students including: symphonic, jazz, concert, intermediate, beginning, and marching bands; beginning and advanced guitar; and beginning piano. Students of all levels can perform in S!NG, and our spring musical.

Visual Arts
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

A program that encourages students to reach their potential through the creation of original work. This program offers basic and major courses as well as special fashion design, computer graphic design, photography, and portfolio creation.

Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

A comprehensive program that includes all aspects of theater. Courses include: acting, stage design, musical theater, directing, and playwriting courses. In addition to the annual spring musical, students may showcase their talents in S!NG, holiday and spring shows, and dramatic theater productions.

Admissions Method: Zoned Guarantee
Program Description

Comprehensive Academic Program


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 Human Geography, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP U.S. History, AP World History


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

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1200 Manor Road
Staten Island NY 10314
Mid-Island (District 31)
Trains: N/A
Buses: S54, S57, S61, S91, X31


David Cugini
Parent Coordinator
Debra Rabinowitz

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.
Metal detectors?

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

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