High School can be daunting for an incoming student. Some Queens high schools have student populations in the thousands, so navigating a new building with so many students and staff can leave a student feeling lost. For parents not comfortable with sending their ninth graders to a large school, there are a number of small school options. Cambria Heights Academy is one such option, and a very good one at that. Cambria Heights Academy, which opened its doors to freshmen in the fall of 2010, offers its students individualized attention in a setting that comes to feel like a second home.
One of the most impressive things about Cambria Heights Academy is their Advisory program. The Advisory program attempts to engage students through their interests, and helps them to remain on course through their high school career. Facilitated by teachers, this program meets two times a week throughout the year, and students are put in groups no larger than twelve students. In the program, students get help and guidance in academic issues, and in other areas that will help them succeed in school.
When I called CHA as a parent looking for information on what made the school special, Dilcia Medina, the school’s parent coordinator, was thorough and patient in answering all of my questions. She stressed the personalized nature of the school, saying that at capacity, the school will most likely have 350-400 students. This will still allow for individualized attention, and individualized instruction, across the grades.
Although small, Cambria Heights Academy still give its students exposure to a wide range of technology to help them master the curriculum. Tools such as Study Island allow students to study for tests while sending reports of the student’s progress to the teacher, who can then tailor instruction to the student’s needs. The school also utilizes technology to help parents get information on their children’s performance in classes. In the coming years, the school hopes to implement the Department of Education’s iLearn program that uses technology to provide students with individualized instruction through online learning programs. These programs offer everything from Advanced Placement courses for students who want the extra challenge to credit recovery courses for those who are falling behind. The school also plans to implement an internship program when students reach their senior year.
Cambria Heights Academy is definitely a school worth checking out as a prospect for your child if he or she will be entering high school, or looking to transfer schools in the fall. It gives its students access to the world of education through technology while still maintaining a small and individualized program.
by Simone Gobin