York College opens doors to whiz kids

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In September, York College in Jamaica will welcome about 125 ninth-graders to its campus, the home of a new high school specializing in science studies for students who excel on citywide admissions tests.

The Queens High School for the Sciences at York College will be part of a joint program between the City University of New York and the city Board of Education, where students who score well on the Admissions Test for the Specialized Science High Schools will have an opportunity to hone their science skills.

At the York campus, located at 94-02 Guy R. Brewer Blvd. in Jamaica, students will take classes as part of a rigorous three-year high school curriculum with a focus in the sciences, said Rowena Karsh, deputy superintendent for Queens High Schools.

Aside from the science high school at York, two other specialized schools are being created. Lehman College in the Bronx will host the High School of American Studies and City College in Harlem will have the High School for Math, Engineering, and Science.

After three years, seniors will be able to take college courses and earn college credits. The students can then chose to continue at York or apply to other colleges and universities outside the CUNY system, where they may be eligible to enter as a sophomore, Karsh said.

One advantage of the York program, aside from the concentration in the sciences, will be class size, Karsh said.

“It’s a very small program, which is different than many of the large high schools we have here in Queens,” she said.

Like other city high-schoolers, the students will be taught by Board of Education teachers and required to meet Regents requirements to earn their diplomas, Karsh said.

The students will also be able to take advantage of the college facilities and courses, Karsh said.

“It’s still in the planning stages, but there will be opportunities for collaboration with CUNY,” Karsh said.

For the first freshman class, spots are being offered to students who performed well on the Admissions Test for the Specialized Science High Schools but will not enter one of the existing specialized schools, Karsh said. The tests for September’s entering freshmen were administered in the first week in December, and only students who took the test will be invited to join this year’s class, Karsh said.

The test has been given for decades to determine admission to the city three elite public high schools: Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech.

Students who took the admissions test for placement this September, and their parents, were invited to attend informational forums to learn more about the programs, Karsh said. For Queens, the forum is planned for Tuesday at York College, she said.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 229-0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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