First Graduating Class for Queens School of Inquiry

“On June 25 the Queens School of Inquiry (QSI) held its first commencement at this partnership school a mile from campus.  Of the 62 students who graduated (out of a possible 65), 80 percent have been accepted into college and plan to attend. About 30 have enrolled at Queens College as transfer students, thanks to the college credits they earned in high school. With its small classes, devoted attention, and intensive support, QSI guides students in earning up to 60 credits tuition-free through QC.

Two clues to the success of this early col­lege secondary school can be found in its name: “Inquiry” and “Queens.” Students in grades 6 through 12 are expected to ask probing questions and then creatively pur­sue the answers, and research and participa­tion by Queens College faculty infuses the curriculum.

QSI was born of an innovative alli­ance among New York City’s Department of Education, CUNY’s Early College Initiative, QC, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Since opening six years ago with a 6th grade class, this school at 76th Road in Flushing has been adding a grade a year. President James Muyskens will speak at its commencement—coming full circle from when he addressed QSI’s first assembly.

“The college is so supportive!” observes Meredith Inbal, QSI’s principal. “We have won major projects that have come out of our partnership with the college that involve faculty research.” One is the Career Institute, a career and college readiness program integrated not just into academics but throughout students’ daily activities. The other is TIME 2000, QC’s writing-intense math teaching initiative for undergraduates.

Lourdes Rivera, associate professor of counselor education, is one of the dedicated QC faculty closely connected with QSI. “It’s an amazing school,” she enthuses. She and former QC colleague Mary Beth Schaefer were instrumental in developing the Career Institute and still consult on its lesson plans.

Inbal came to QSI as one of its original teachers; in fall 2010 she succeeded found­ing principal Elizabeth Ophals ’83. Inbal is pleased to say “We’ve pulled so many of our faculty from QC.” Learning to thrive in a college environment broadens vistas for QSI’s students. “A significant group of them are actually pursuing education as their career,” she says, including in the critical areas of math and special ed.

Notes Education Dean Fran Peterman, “This is a partnership that really exemplifies the best in the ways that we create schools where children learn and our teacher can­didates learn how to teach from the best teachers in the country!”

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Contact:Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services