About Us

The Scholars' Academy (27Q323) is an Accelerated College Preparatory School for Grades 6 to 12 320 Beach 104 Street, Rockaway Park, NY 11694 | Tel: (718) 474-6918 | Fax: (718) 945-8958 | DOE: PortalPrincipal: Michele Smyth | Assistant Principals: Toni Marie Viera, Dannielle Colleran, Sean Brandeis

Vision Statement:

To engage the entire Scholars’ Academy Community in cultivating and celebrating well-rounded resilient scholars and empathetic citizens equipped with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to pursue success and happiness in the 21st Century.

Mission Statement:

To prepare for college and careers of the 21st Century.

Theory of Action:

To leverage technology to enhance student learning through increased efficiency and communication.

One of the Top Schools in NYS and in the Nation

  • We are in the top 1.25% of schools in NYS out of more than 1,200 schools (we are #15, 98.75%ile) *source

  • We are in the top 1% of schools in the nation out of more than 17,000 schools (we are #129, 99.0075%ile)

  • 47% Economically Disadvantaged | American Indian/Alaskan Native =1% | Asian = 20% | Black = 18% | Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander = 0.4% | Hispanic = 19% | White = 41% | Two or More Races = 0.4% | ELL = 0.07% | SWD = 12.9%

The cumulative impact of the organization's hard work and strategic instruction by teachers, coupled with a tenacious, conscientious, and meticulous college office makes this happen.

Through the teaching or support of our teachers, our students are able to dodge distraction and focus on both progress and performance.

We are fortunate to have such a quality student body with supportive parents and a supportive Parent Association. They work behind the scenes and help us do our jobs!

Thank you students, thank you Scholars' Staffers, thank you parents, thank you community partners, and thank you District 27 Superintendent's Office and Queens South Supporters!

Every person on our staff and who is part of the Scholars' Community (all the way out here in little Rockaway) has a hand in this work.

Well done!

Scholars Stands for Empathy, Equity & Excellence

Scholars’ Academy is one of the most diverse schools in New York City, bringing students of many races, ethnicities, and religions from surrounding neighborhoods to engage together in learning.

Our diversity is our strength. This diversity is the very heart of our school community. It makes us smarter, stronger, and more creative.

We must be cognizant of recognizing that we are not immune to what is happening in the world

around us.

We are committed to valuing each other and understanding the different perspectives of people who do not necessarily look like us.

An Overview of the Scholars' Academy

  • Scholars’ Academy is an academically top ranked middle and high school located in a beach community in the Rockaways, NY, approximately 60 minutes from Manhattan. Scholars’ Academy serves one of the most diverse student populations in New York State. The Scholars’ Academy High School student body is 19% Asian, 22% Black, 22% Hispanic, and 37% White. The Scholars’ Academy Middle School is 22% Asian, 15% Black, 16% Hispanic, and 45% White. More than 10% of Scholars’ Academy students have special needs and the school is over 46% of students with free and reduced lunch status.

  • Scholars' Academy students benefit academically, as well as socially and emotionally. During instruction, all Scholars are actively engaged in teams called triads on learning tasks through a “Scale-Up” research-based model of cooperative learning used by many top universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). From grade 6 through grade 12, students at the Scholars’ Academy leverage technology and cooperatively engage in learning tasks and performance based assessments which enhance their academic performance to better prepare for college and careers of the 21st Century.​​ Technology tools such as ipads, Chromebooks, MacBooks and iMacs are used in every class. Students have access to screencasts, lesson plan tasks, and online tools in school and from home.

  • The instructional programs at Scholars’ Academy have generated incredible results. In middle school, mathematics and ELA performance is at 93% and 90% respectively, while out performing comparison school populations by 6% in mathematics and 3% in ELA. In high school, 100% of students graduated in 4 years. 100% of students completed college courses. 99% of high schoolers earned College Ready status. Students earned between 20-30 college credits through college partner, St. Francis College. Students also earned Advanced Placement Course credits in courses such as: AP English Language, AP Calculus, AP English Literature, AP U.S. History, A.P. Physics, and AP Art, etc.

  • Each year, students, teachers, and parents complete surveys that delineate the degree of satisfaction with the school’s work utilizing the Framework for Highly Effective Schools. With regard to Rigorous Instruction, 90% of those surveyed responded positively. With regard to Collaborative Teachers, 92% of survey responses were positive. With regard to a Supportive Environment, 85% of surveys were positive. With regard to Effective School Leadership, 94% of survey responses were positive. With regard to both Strong Family Ties and Trust Framework Categories, 92% of survey results were positive. Scholars’ Academy has many sports teams in both middle and high school such as boys and girls basketball, high school swimming, high school bowling, high school golf, high school archery, middle and high school girls volleyball, middle school track and field, high school track and high school girls soccer, high school girls softball and boys baseball, and middle school lacrosse.

  • There are many electives enjoyed by students during the school day such as: Lego robotics, chess, yearbook, mathletes, urban art, band, yoga, journalism, chorus, sports marketing, livestreaming, book making, debate, and guitar, code academy, Magic Box Video Production, crochet, gardening, stock market game, brain games, coding, debate, and stop motion video, etc.

  • The students of Scholars' Academy also benefit from strong family-community ties. Scholars’ Academy has partnerships with community-based organizations such as: Millennium Development, Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, and Rockaway Rotary Club; Higher Education Institutions such as: Queens College School of Education and St. Francis College; and Cultural/Arts Organizations such as: Broadway Jr. and the Magic Box Corporation. The primary career and college readiness partner of the Scholars’ Academy is Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. Each year, Broadridge Executives provide career awareness trainings, on site shadowing opportunities, mentoring, college essay support, scholarships, and employment coaching, thereby helping Scholars' in pursuit of college and career readiness. Locally, Scholars' seniors also have the opportunity to apply for internships in community based workplaces.

A Brief History of the Scholars' Academy

The Scholars' Academy, located on the Rockaway Peninsula, was created by a District 27 School Board Resolution on March 1, 2004 to create an academically accelerated and demographically integrated haven of learning for gifted children. The Scholars’ Academy was charged with the mission of attracting high performing students from opting for other competitive entry, or highly sought after, public, charter, or private schools. To accomplish this goal, The Scholars’ Academy, currently a 6-12th grade school, replaced middle school (27Q180).

The Scholars’ Academy was initially founded as a middle school, however the school’s immediate success prompted parents to lobby for the expansion of the school to include high school grades in 2007. Since 2007, the Scholars’ Academy expanded to over 1,380 students. To accommodate the growing high school due to the incredible graduation rate, college enrollment rate, and scholarships earned, the number of middle school classes were decreased from the original 9 per grade to 6 homerooms per grade.

The Scholars’ Academy was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy on October 28th, 2012. The school suffered millions of dollars in damage and the middle school and high school were separated and relocated at two different schools in East New York, Brooklyn until January 11th, 2013. The staff, students, and parents rallied to keep the spirits of one another aloft as they dealt with more than ½ - ¾ of the student population and staff being rendered homeless or displaced for months.

The school is currently near complete renovation since the storm and school life has returned to normalcy, while the larger Rockaway Community is more prosperous and popular than before the storm.

The founding principal is Brian O’Connell who led the Scholars’ Academy since its inception in 2004 until March or 2020. His successor as Principal is Michele Smyth, who is supported by three assistant principals: Toni Marie Viera, Dannielle Colleran, and Sean Brandeis.

The Objectives of the Scholars' Academy

  • Scholars' Academy is an organized teaching and learning machine that is focused on continually nurturing its students, promoting and connecting with its community, while evolving instructional practices to prepare students for college and careers so that they may successfully pursue happiness in the 21st Century.

  • Scholars' Academy is an exceptional and diverse learning organization that continually works to discover, learn, adapt, and adopt teaching practices that support a wide range of unique learners, including students who are Twice Exceptional. Scholars' Academy is engaged in the work of evolving and enhancing the development of Individualized Education Plans (IEP"s) for all students so that all students have access to the accelerated curriculum for his/her maximum potential to be pursued. Although Scholars' Academy is designing instruction for all students to have tailored individual education plans, more than 10% of Scholars' Academy is made up of federally funded students with IEP's. To best serve this widening range of student needs, numerous additional teachers with special education licenses will continue to be hired, and ample technological as well as professional learning resources will be leveraged. Scholars' Academy continues to offer the highest performing students, regardless of IEP status or type, opportunities to take the most challenging courses, including high school Regents Courses in middle school and college or Advanced Placement Courses in high school. To accomplish this work, Scholars' Academy teachers engage in collegial professional learning sessions designed to assist their efficacy with designing instructional tasks that include universal and customized student supports.

Scholars' Academy's Culture

  • A supportive environment gives rise to great academic results. As a two-time Respect For All awarded school, the Scholars' Academy School-wide Comprehensive Advisory Program creates a supportive environment that buttresses the rigorous instructional program. Every staff member serves as a personal advisor to Advisory Circles (small groups of students) that meet at strategic intervals throughout the academic year. In addition, as a Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) school, the Scholars' Academy systematically celebrates students who CHART their way to being Outstanding Scholars who are college and career ready. Throughout the year at scheduled special assembly celebrations, one student from each class in middle school and from each grade in high school is honored. These students are selected by their teachers and peers based upon their demonstration of the school values for being: Cooperative, Hard-working, Amiable, Respectful, and Trustworthy.

  • In addition to assemblies with their respective peers, middle school Outstanding Scholars and their parents join the principal for a monthly hot breakfast and ceremony and high school Outstanding Scholars are taken out to lunch with the principal to a local restaurant.

The Scholars' Academy was honored with The Blackboard Awards [read the full article]