Friday, December 12, 2008

Three Queens Schools Land on Top 100 List by Ben Hogwood - Queens Chronicle

Read original...

Three Queens schools leapt to the head of the class this year, securing spots in the U.S. News & World Report’s best 100 high school list, two of them cracking the top 50.

The highest ranked Queens school is Baccalaureate School of Global Education, in Long Island City, which came in at No. 38. Queens High School of Science at York College, in Jamaica, secured No. 48 and Townsend Harris High School, in Flushing, came in at No. 71.

“We have been getting calls and emails from colleagues to congratulate us,” said Jie Zhang, the principal of Queens High School of Science.

The school is one of eight specialized institutions in the city and while it is public, students must pass an entrance exam for placement. While it follows the New York State curriculum, it also goes beyond that. For example, the state only requires that students take three years of math to graduate. At Queens High School, most students have already taken one year of upper-level math before beginning ninth grade, so the faculty encourages its pupils to study math all four years. Almost 100 percent of students take pre-calculus.

Townsend Harris made the list for the second year in a row. While the school, located on the Queens College campus, is better known for its humanities program, its science program has flourished lately, receiving the prestigious Intel Excellence in Science Curriculum award in June.

“We’re very proud to add this to the list of accolades we’ve received recently,” said Ellen Fee, an assistant principal at the school.

Fee said the school focuses on college preparation and has very high expectations of its students. While 100 percent of students graduated last year, the school looks for 100-percent college placement.

The school has received credit for its science programs of late, but Fee said the new principal, Kenneth Bonamo, is eager to update its humanities program for the 21st century.

The school landed the 45th spot on the report’s list in 2007.

Officials with the Baccalaureate School of Global Education did not return calls seeking comment by press time.

In all, the city had nine schools on the list, up from six last year. Stuyvesant High School, in Manhattan, took the highest spot in the city at No. 23. Other schools included the High School of American Studies at Lehman College and the Bronx High School of Science, both in the Bronx; and Staten Island Technical High School and Brooklyn Technical High School.

Taking the top spot for the second year in a row was Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Va.

The magazine looked at more than 21,000 high schools across the country.