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Astoria’s TV academy aces city HS progress report

Newcomers High School received one the highest scores across the city for closing the achievement gap.
TimesLedger Newspapers

While the number of Queens high schools receiving low marks on the city’s most recent progress reports remained the same from the previous year, successful new schools receiving high grades helped the borough grow in the higher ranks.

The city Department of Education Monday released the 2011-12 progress reports for the city’s high schools, transfer schools and Young Adult Borough Centers. The reports measure — based on a comparison between schools with similar student populations — how well a school helps its students improve over the course of a year.

New schools that have not yet graduated a class, such as Maspeth High School and the Hillside Arts & Letters Academy, do not get graded. But of the nine borough schools to receive a grade for the first time this year, seven received either an A or a B, helping the upper echelon of Queens high schools grow by 8 percent.

Overall, 72 percent of the borough’s high schools received a grade of either an A or a B.

The two best schools were the Academy for Careers in Television and Film in Astoria and the International High School at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, which both got an overall score above 90.

Long Island City’s Newcomers High School, which got a B, ranked among the best schools in the city when it came to closing the achievement gap.

From the 2010-11 to 2011-12 school years, 15 schools improved their grades, 38 remained the same and eight fell.

The Preparatory Academy for Writers: A College Board School in Springfield Gardens made the biggest jump, improving from a C to an A.

The school to receive the lowest overall score was the Queens Satellite High School for Opportunity, which got a 39.1. Queens Satellite in Jamaica is a transfer school designed to help re-engage students with at least one year of high school who have either dropped out or fallen behind.

Of the borough’s traditional schools, August Martin High School ranked at the bottom, receiving a D with a score of 41.7. August Martin was one of eight struggling schools the city unsuccessfully tried to close last year. With the exception of Newtown High School in Elmhurst, all of those schools’ grades either fell or remained the same. Newtown improved from a C to a B.

The reports combine attendance rates, school surveys, performance on standardized tests and progress toward graduation to arrive at a letter grade.

“Our high schools play an important role in student outcomes beyond K-12,” said city Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott. “By measuring how well our schools prepare students for college and careers, the Progress Reports shine a light on the importance of increased rigor as a bridge to future success.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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