Saturday, April 26, 2014
I finally found myself in a large comprehensive high school in Northeast Queens and was pleasantly surprised that despite the school's ongoing financial problems with the DOE, this school is what all high schools should be.
This large comprehensive high school has a very diverse student body, who show respect for their teachers and yes, even to the ATRs! The teaching staff is highly experienced and sympathetic to our plight. There's plenty of parking and I was able to select my schedule. Even better, the school didn't require me to do a useless "circular six" obligation. The administration is "hands off" and let teachers do their job.
The school has loads of electives and extracurricular activities for the students. Furthermore, the students can pick and choose their schedule, within limits and if a problem exist between a student and teacher an alternative program can be done to give the student a different teacher. As you have guessed they have a high "college and career readiness" score Many of the students are happy and proud of their school. This is in contrast to the Bloomberg small schools with rigid curriculums and few extracurricular activities and many frustrated students who feel they made a mistake going to them. To me, the students of this school have a real high school experience.
Are there negatives at the school? Yes, the classes are crowded, the Advanced Placement classes are single period and except for Physics, the Regents Science classes have a 4-1 schedule. In fact, with the same amount of students, the Science Department went from 34 teachers in 2008 to 23 teachers in 2013. Moreover, the school has excessed 15 to 20 teachers over the last two years due to their financial problems with the DOE.
This is a school I would be proud to send my child to and I would be ecstatic to get a position in this school.
Friday, April 4, 2014
I was sent to a small school in a college building in Western Queens and was very impressed with the school. The teaching staff is a mixtures of veteran and "newbie teachers" with a collaborative administration, a rarity in my travels this school year.
The student body is diverse with a majority Hispanic population and an increasing number of White and East Asian students coming to the school every year since its start. The students wear professional attire and are well-behaved. It was a pleasure to be at the school as there were no students walking the halls, or disrespecting the rules of the school.
The staff is friendly and supportive and work with the school administration to run a academically proficient school culture. This is shown by the above average "college and career readiness scores" despite being an unscreened school. Like all small schools course selection is limited and few extracurricular activities.
The downside is the late start time and the long commute by mass transit or by car in rush hour traffic that can take over an hour or more to get there from Eastern Queens. Of course there's no parking, unless you want to lay out $14 daily. Furthermore, the school has no gym and Physical Education is given in a large room. There's no SAVE room for suspended students (they have a zero tolerance approach with regard to student misbehavior). Instead, the students are dumped into the Dean's office for the day. Like many schools I've been to, the Earth Science classes are taught by a non-certified teacher in the subject.
If it weren't for the late start time and commute I would consider it an "A-" school but since this is an issue I must drop the grade a bit. I would be happy to work there.