Academy of American Studies

Academy of American Studies

Infobox Secondary School
name = Academy of American Studies
established = 1996
address = 28-01 41st Avenue - Long Island City, New York 11101
city = City of New York
state = New York State
country = United States of America
type = selective public high school
grades = 9–12
principal = Ellen Sherman
enrollment = 620
Education= New York Board of Education
colors = Red, White, and Blue
mascot = Eagles
address = 28-01 41st Avenue
city = Long Island City, New York, New York
state = New York
country = USA
newspaper = "Academy Gazette"
yearbook = "Americana"
website = []

The Academy of American Studies is a selective public high school in Long Island City, Queens, New York, which was founded in 1996 by the [ Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History] With roughly 620 students according to [] , this is one of the smallest high schools in New York City. Located just east of Manhattan and at the very tip of Queens, this school normally attracts students from either of these two boroughs. This school is not to be confused with the High School of American Studies at Lehman College, a specialized high school in the Bronx. Though both are similar in curriculum, the selection processes vary greatly. The Academy of American Studies does not select teachers based on seniority, instead choosing to have teachers from the respective departments interview prospective teachers.

History and Background

Academy of American StudiesOtherwise known as: Academy, AAS

The Academy of American Studies was developed by way of a collaborative effort between the Gilder Lehrman Institute and the Queens High School superintendent. They believed that preparing students by teaching them about the past would lead to inevitable success. This school is the first history school in the United States, which is why it is called the Flagship School of the Gilder Lehrman Institute. The first principal of the Academy of American Studies was Mr. Michael Serber, who currently works for the Gilder Lehrman Institute. The second and recent principal, Ms. Ellen Sherman, used to go to Long Island City High School when it was in that very building, so one can see how history really is a huge part of this school's role as a college prep school. Nine years since its opening, the school has grown into a "community". Now with a campus (a "south building" and a "north building"; the latter is shared with Newcomers High School), this college preparatory school has a "college feel" like it never has before. Due to the academy's success, the Institute has founded 44 other schools across the nation and the Academy is the model for all of those schools.

In the year 2005, as a result of a collaborative effort between the administration, parents, and some students, the Academy of American Studies boosted security by adding crosswalks to the street where students are in most danger of being in any trouble.

October 12, 2006 was a significant day for the Academy. First of all, that day was its 10th anniversary celebration. Secondly, it marked the grand opening of its student-run history research center that contains many primary sources that were donated by the Gilder Lehrman Institute. Thirdly, a Proclamation that was signed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg was presented in the Academy's ceremony to publicly announce that October 12th was going to be celebrated in New York City as The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Day.

The Academy of American Studies (via Gilder Lehrman) offers summer 1-3 summer scholarships to outstanding freshman each year. In order to be eligible to compete for this scholarship, freshman must rank in the top 10% of their class, as of the end of their December report card. After being notified of such, they must write an essay, and if their essay makes "the cut", they can go on to the interview round. From the interview, 1-3 stellar students are selected. The school also offers 1-2 summer scholarships to juniors each year. In order to be eligible, each junior must write an essay about why s/he would benefit from a trip to China, and must then be interviewed.

Trips are key parts of the educational process at the school. All freshmen are invited to Philadelphia in the fall and Boston in the spring. Sophomores go to historic lower Manhattan in the fall and spend an overnight in Gettysburg in the spring. Juniors take a college tour in the fall and visit Plymouth with a whale watching cruise in the spring. The seniors spend 3 days & 2 nights in Washington, D.C. in the fall and have a self-chosen senior trip in the spring. The academic trips are offered at a discount due to our relationship with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. No trip prior to the senior spring trip is above $100!


Students take four years of history (including senior thesis & economics senior year, law&government junior year). They also take a required Research & Writing course freshman year, in which they learn how to use the MLA format for citing and writing bibliographies.

Math at the school ends at Precalc/AP Calc. An average student, however, will end with Math B in their senior year. Students who have slightly better grades at the end of the 8th grade are placed in the 1.5 year Math A/B course. These students are then invited to take either precalculus or AP Calculus their senior year. Students need not take precalculus in order to take AP Calculus. One can easily go into AP Calc without taking the other, granted the grades are high enough.

English at the school ends with a Conflict in Literature course senior year, in which students read rather controversial books (Brave New World, Frankenstein). AP English students are at a slightly faster pace, but usually learn many of the same things as their classmates.

Science at the school is limited (physics is taken with Newcomers High School), but it is still offered. Any student interested in physics is placed in physics. The sciences students have to choose from are: living environment, earth science, environmental science, ap biology, physics, and chemistry, so rarely does anyone have a problem finding his/her niche.

Languages end at the AP level. With intensive curricula in both French and Spanish, it is not at all weird that students are invited to AP French/Spanish immediately after completing the regents course.

AP courses are offered in many subjects. The school recently decided to reinstate AP European History as an option. Due to a lack of motivated and apt students back in the 2002-2003 school year, the school had to cut the program. Because the Class of 2006 and the Class of 2007 were not offered the course their sophomore years, both are getting the option of taking it their senior years with sophomores. AP courses offered are: AP Calculus, AP Biology, AP US History, AP European History, AP English Literature, AP French Language, AP Spanish Language, and AP Law & Government (juniors only).

Note: Students are limited at 2 Humanities AP classes. Juniors can only take 2 APs, and seniors can only take 3 (but English, Spanish, and Euro cannot be those three).

Extracurricular Activities

Aside from the rigorous academic agenda, the Academy is home to seven [ PSAL] sports teams, several ethnic and interest clubs, the Academy Gazette (along with other publications), a Digital Design class, a Technology Team, Eagles in the Morning Radio Show and an active Student Government.

Student Government

The Student Government is the center of planning all events and activities, as well as providing a voice for the student population in making progressive changes to the "culture and climate" of the school environment.Since the opening of the school, the members of Student Government ran as unified Congressional body, with no elections or hierarchy. Selection was based upon a written essay and occasional interview judged by the Coordinator of Student Activities (the faculty position). In 2005, the Student Government decided on a major structural change establishing a school-wide elected Executive Board and other appointed cabinet positions for leading different committees (similar to US Government). Uniquely, this Executive Board consists of two Co-Presidents, a Treasurer, and Secretary.

Planning and running school events and activities are this organization's chief duties. They annually plan two Talent Shows and two Pep Rallies along with several spirit days and other fun-unique events. For policy changes, four Student Government Representatives sit on the Principal's Council which is a monthly meeting with the Principal to discuss current issues. Also, two Representatives sit on a city-council board for educational policy and two Representatives sit on a PTA council.Annually, several members of the Academy Student Government go on a three day trip to represent city high schools at the New York State Leadership Conference. Member from all parts of the state interact to share their ideas and to bring back new ones to their respective high schools.

Past Executive Boards


Co-Presidents: "Tanvir Hossain and Heidi Chow"

Secretary: "Mark McCormack"

Treasurer: "Gloria Choi"


Co-Presidents: "Amanda Fox and Philips Loh"

Secretary: "Omar Khedr"

Treasurer: "Gloria Choi"


Co-Presidents: "Ashu Kapoor and Chennelle Harris"

Secretary: "Lucy Papaseraphim"

Treasurer: "Rebecca Cushman"

Eagles in the Morning

Eagles in the Morning is the Academy "Radio Show" that takes place in both campus' before and after lunch. It's held though the PA system, not an actual radio station. It's hosted by students and serves the purpose of updating all members of the school community on school-wide news and events. Also, the hosts try and entertain their audience by including different segments of interest during the 15 minute show. Music is played and songs can be requested via a request form. Birthdays and other shoutouts are made, further reflecting the value of a small school environment.

The Academy Gazette

Funded by Student Government, The Academy Gazette the school newspaper is published on a monthly or seasonal basis. Students with an interest in journalism and photography are encouraged to write for the newspaper which features special interest sections as well as a sports and editorial section.

PSAL Sports

The Academy features seven sports teams part of the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL). - Boys Baseball Varsity Eagles

- Boys Basketball Varsity Eagles

- Boys Varsity Bowling Eagles (Co-ed) (Girls can join). -Made first playoff (2008).

- Boys Volleyball Varsity Eagles

- Girls Basketball Varsity Lady Eagles -won 2007 PSAL Queens B Division -went to final eight. -won 2008 PSAL Queens B Division -went on undefeated season including playoffs (31-0) (2008) -became PSAL "B" Champions (2008) -first appearance in New York State Federation Championship (NYSFSSAA) for class b (2008).

- Girls Softball Varsity Lady Eagles (Currently in Developmental)

- Girls Volleyball Varsity Lady Eagles -appeared in city championship (2001). -won 2007 PSAL Division title.

Ethic and Interest Clubs

Cinematography Club, Debate Team, Desi Club, History Club, Humanity First, Improvisational Theatre Club, Math Team, Model UN, Digital Design course that prepares students for digital publications,National Honor Society,SADD, Senior Committee, Step Team

Enrollment and Alumni

The Academy of American Studies consists 620 students, who all applied using the normal NYC Public High School application. Students apply to either the screened program, the Ed Opt program, or both. In order to be eligible for the screened program, students must have fewer than 8 absences, must have grades of 90+ in humanities classes and 85+ in math and science. The Ed Opt program is selective, and anyone who ranks within the top 2% of the 7th grade test takers (98th percentile+) is automatically accepted. The Ed Opt program, however, must also accept the bottom 16% of applicants. Therefore, a student with a score of 1 on the exam has a better chance of getting in than a student with a 3 or a 4, since there are so many more of the latter applying. It is encouraged that students with test scores below the 98th percentile, but stellar grades, apply for the Intensive Academic Humanities program.

Students at this school prove that they are capable of success, even after high school. Students have gotten into and attended such schools as: Amherst College, Bard College, Barnard College, Brandeis University, Bennington College, Binghamton University, Boston College, Boston University, Bowdoin College, University of New Hampshire, Babson College, Brown University, Clark University, Colgate University, Columbia University, Cornell University, CUNYs, CUNY Honors, Drexel University, Fashion Institute of Technology, Fordham University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Ithaca College,Muhlenberg College, Mount Holyoke College, New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, Smith College, School of Visual Arts, SUNYs, Pennsylvania State University,Vassar College and University of British Columbia.

See also

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