I was fortunate enough to be sent to one of the few remaining large comprehensive high schools that has not been targeted for closing (yet). This school is located in a solidly middle class neighborhood and the students reflect the diverse neighborhood. The students are, for the most part, academic achievers and take advantage of the many Advanced Placement classes and electives the school offers. The school has numerous clubs and extracurricular activities that can be only found in a large comprehensive school.
While this school, like many of the large comprehensive schools in Queens, have seen an almost doubling of students with IEPs. The school has managed to maintain its reputation as a high achieving school. During the two weeks I was at the school recruiters from West Point, Binghamton University and Hunter College came to the school. After experiencing what was going on in schools #3 and #5, I was more used to seeing the only recruiting being done were by the "Bloods, Crips, and MS-13". More importantly, the only "Latin Kings" at this school were the top students who take Latin and not the street gang.
Does the school have problems? Of course, all schools do. One problem is that the school lacks a lateness policy for students. While most students follow the rules and get to class as quickly as possible, a few students know that if they show up ten or more minutes late, nothing will happen to them by the Administration. The second problem is that this school has three additional unnecessary Assistant Principals that gobble up a minimum of five teaching positions and with the school suffering from budget problems, that is a pity. Moreover, teacher morale in the school has declined over the last few years because of a very weak and "do as I say, not as I do" philosophy of the school's Administration. However, looking at the school from an outside perspective this school is like heaven, when compared to the other schools I have been sent to, with the exception of school #1.
In summary, this school is exactly what a high school should be.
- Loads of electives.
- A wide variety of clubs and extracurricular activities.
- An active and involved PTA.
- Good student-teacher rapport.
- An academically achieving and educationally engaged student body.