Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
Queens High School for the Sciences at York College is a small specialized high school opened on the campus of York College in 2002. The school’s mission is to provide a rigorous curriculum that prepares students for college, with a focus on science and math.
For the last five years, Queens has ranked in the U.S. News and World Report’s list of the top 100 high schools in the nation. In 2014, the school was ranked twenty-fifth in the United States and 3rd in New York State.
Queens is located on York College’s campus, in a two-story building across the street from the college’s main building. QHSS students can access York College’s library, cafeteria, gym, and swimming pool, and Queens enjoys a strong collaboration with the college.
- Enrollment 484
- College Matriculation 91.9%
- Graduation Rate 100%
Rigorous College Prep
The introduction to college life doesn’t stop with its proximity to a college: the rigorous courses available at Queens prepare students for the competitive environment and challenges they’ll face in higher education. In fact, the U.S. News and World report awarded Queens a college readiness score of 93.8 out of 100.
All students take honors classes, and QHSS offers a wide variety of AP classes, with the AP participation rate at 100 percent. College NOW courses are available in psychology, biology, computer science, pre-calculus, Nutrition and Health, and more. Queens students are also initiated into a demanding workload, with some reporting 4-5 hours of homework nightly.
Strong Science and Math Programs
At Queens, all students are required to take two periods of science per year. By sophomore year, most have fulfilled the science requirement and are taking AP courses and electives, like the popular robotics course.
The school offers math and science research classes, and students have successfully entered their projects in competitions. Students at QHSS can even pair up with a York College professor to conduct scientific research and projects. This hands-on opportunity not only prepares students for college and careers, but it’s also an impressive experience to list on college and internship applications.
Despite the focus on science and math, Queens offers a well-rounded education. It boasts a solid arts program, a wide variety of electives, and 19 clubs.
Clubs like chess, volleyball, film, digital photography, and knitting, as well as academic and service-oriented options, meet on Friday afternoons for 45 minutes.
Team sports may be the only area that’s lacking: QHSS offers only tennis, handball, swimming, and bowling. Still, 57% of students feel that Queens provides a wide variety of programs, classes, and activities to help them maintain their interest in school.
Believing that students learn best when nurtured in a small learning community, Queens enrolls only 100 students annually. Total enrollment hovers around 430, and the student-teacher ratio is 18:1. Students praise the safe and supportive environment.
The first Tuesday of every month, principal Ana De Jesus hosts a “Pizza Chat,” encouraging students to “bring your questions, comments, suggestions, and compliments!” The intimate gathering is limited to 25 students, and a Google Form is provided for sign-ups.
Links for student and parent feedback are prominently displayed on the school’s website, along with a monthly parent newsletter. The newsletter consists of announcements, updates, photographs, and news on school ratings and reports.
Based on responses to parent surveys, Queens regularly hosts parent workshops as well. Topics include social media literacy, helping kids deal with stress and anxiety, graduation requirements, summer programs, the college application process, and suicide prevention.
Teachers also take the time to maintain the school-home connection, with 87% of parents saying they communicate regularly with teachers about helping their child learn.
QHSS students represent a global community, with students hailing from Bangladesh, Korea, China, Pakistan, Poland, Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Germany, Mexico, Peru, Germany, England and India. The school website states that many students are bilingual, and some are even trilingual.
A College NOW course in cultural diversity is offered, and students are encouraged to embrace and celebrate their varied backgrounds and cultures.
Effective School Leadership
Teachers, parents, and students rate QHSS especially high in effective school leadership. Teachers coordinate curriculum, instruction, and learning materials across grade levels and report that the principal communicates a clear vision for the school.
100% of the teachers at Queens have three or more years of teaching experience. Students say the teachers treat them with respect, clearly communicate what students are expected to learn, and teach challenging material effectively.
Teachers regularly attend professional development on topics such as conflict resolution, mental health aid training, and strategies for implementing writing across disciplines.
Is QHSS Right for You?
QHSS offers rigorous college preparation right on a college campus, and the school community is small and close-knit. School leadership and teaching are highly effective, students have many challenging course options, and the school embraces and celebrates student diversity.
It’s an especially good choice for students interested in pursuing math and science careers. Students can take research courses and participate in scientific research with York College professors.
On the other hand, students with a passion for team sports may find limited opportunities at Queens, and over 40% of students feel school programs and activities lack variety.
The bottom line is this:
For high-achieving students with a talent and passion for STEM, Queens High School for the Sciences at York College offers excellent preparation for college and careers.