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Andrew Jackson High School (Queens)

Andrew Jackson High School is a defunct comprehensive high school in the Cambria Heights section in southeastern Queens, New York. The school was opened in 1937,[4] and named after former United States President Andrew Jackson. However, the city closed down the school in 1994.[1][4][5] At its nadir in the late 1970s, police broke up a heroin-processing factory in the school's basement.[4]

Andrew Jackson High School
207-01 116th Avenue[1][2]


United States
Coordinates40°41′53.9″N 73°44′46.2″W / 40.698306°N 73.746167°W / 40.698306; -73.746167Coordinates: 40°41′53.9″N 73°44′46.2″W / 40.698306°N 73.746167°W / 40.698306; -73.746167
OpenedMay 10, 1937 (1937-05-10)[3]

Since its closure the building was renamed Campus Magnet High Schools (also known as Campus Magnet Educational Campus).[2] It contains several different high schools centered on various professional themes: Finance and Information Technology; Humanities and the Arts; Law, Health Professions; Mathematics, Science Research and Technology.[1][2] The 2010 graduation rate of the current schools approximated the graduation rate of the original school in 1992.[6] The multi-school campus is at 207-01 116th Avenue, at Francis Lewis Boulevard and 116th Street.[1][2]


The design for Andrew Jackson High School was released in 1931.[7] The plans for the school were approved by the New York City Board of Education on September 26, 1935.[8] Ground broke on the site, at 116th Avenue and what was then Cross Island Boulevard (now Francis Lewis Boulevard), on November 18, 1935.[3]

The school, along with Samuel J. Tilden High School, Abraham Lincoln High School, John Adams High School, Walton High School, Bayside High School, and Grover Cleveland High School were all built during the Great Depression from one set of blueprints, in order to save money.[7][8][9][10] The design was based on Kirby Hall in Gretton, Northamptonshire, England.[11] Jackson High School was built with Public Works Administration funds, as was Bayside High School.[11] The schools were designed as small campuses to provide a "somewhat collegiate atmosphere".[7] The design of Jackson High School and the other post-1930 schools, created by architect Walter C. Martin, was considered to be "a modern adaptation of the Adams, Lincoln, and Tilden High Schools", which had all been completed by 1929.[7]

Jackson High School opened on May 10, 1937, with 2,500 students, at the cost of $2.5 million. It was the last of the sister schools to be completed.[3][12] The school was officially dedicated on September 27, 1937, when its first full academic year began, with Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia in attendance.[6][13][14] Upon opening, the new school relieved the overcrowded Jamaica High School, as well as John Adams High School.[3][12][13] The school originally served a mostly middle-class student demographic.[4]

By 1959, the high school operated multiple academic sessions to accommodate its students.[15] By the mid-1960s, the school had transitioned from a predominantly White student body, to an enrollment that was nearly 50 percent Black, disproportionate to the student body of the rest of the borough. The changes coincided with an influx of African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans to the area, along with white flight.[6][16][17][18][19][20][21] Around this time, the State Education Commissioner and the Board of Education began efforts to prevent "de facto" segregation in the school and the entire Queens borough; these efforts would involve transferring students to schools outside of their local district.[6][16][22] In September 1965, the New York City Transit Authority created the Q77 bus route along Francis Lewis Boulevard, in order to better transport students from other districts to the high school.[23][24] In May 1967, Schools Superintendent Bernard E. Donovan announced plans to transfer 260 active and prospective students from Jamaica High School and Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village to Jackson High School, which led to protest from parents in those communities.[17][18][19][25][26][27] The plan was rescinded by September of that year.[18] In 1968, Donovan proposed rezoning the entire Queens borough, requiring students to be bused to more distant high schools, which led to similar protests.[19][28] The situation was compounded by the New York City teachers' strike of 1968.[29] The situation and ensuing civil unrest between the students led to increased police presence at the school,[30] and a walkout on May 19, 1969.[31] Rezoning and busing efforts continued into the 1970s, by which the high school was predominantly Black and Puerto Rican. This included the establishment of gifted programs aimed at attracting students from other areas of Queens.[21][32][33][34][35]

In 1977, the NAACP sued the Board of Education in Federal District Court for the lack of integration in the school, accusing the Board of intentionally segregating the school "to keep other schools predominantly white."[6][20][36][37] On May 16, 1978, Judge John Francis Dooling Jr. ordered the Board of Education to create a plan to integrate the school within 45 days of the ruling, to be implemented for the 1978-1979 academic year;[6][38][39][40] this deadline was suspended in June of that year.[40] The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned this decision in April 1979.[6][41]

Around this time, the school gained a reputation for poor academic performance, high truancy and dropout rates, and low graduation rates, which continued into the 1980s and 1990s.[1][4][6][21][42][43][44] Some also accused the city of using the high school as a "dumping ground for the borough's most unwanted minority students."[21] In 1986, Jackson High School was among the five worst city schools in terms of dropout rates and reading proficiency.[6] By 1990, the school was among 14 city high schools that received bi-weekly metal detector screenings due to increasing violence.[45][46] In 1993, the city planned to create a small high school provisionally called "Andrew Jackson High School Magnet School" within the building by fall of that year, but the opening was pushed back.[6][47] In November 1993, Schools Chancellor Ramon C. Cortines began drafting new plans to close and reorganize Andrew Jackson High School, as well as James Monroe High School in the Bronx[4][42] On November 17, 1993, the Board of Education unanimously voted to close the high school and replace it with four smaller "magnet" or "thematic schools".[6][48] Jackson HS and Monroe were among the first former large high schools in New York City to be reopened as an "educational campus."[5] The school closed in spring 1994, and was reopened during the fall semester as "Campus Magnet High Schools" with new freshmen students in four new schools, each occupying a single floor of the facility.[1][6][49][50] At the time of its closure, Jackson was among 10 city schools with the most "violent or illegal incidents".[45] Half of the Jackson High School teachers were retained for the new schools.[1] The building continued to employ metal detectors following its conversion into a campus;[6][51] other high schools-turned-campuses had ceased screenings as part of their transition.[5]

Campus Magnet schoolsEdit

Current schools include:[2]

  • Benjamin Franklin High School for Finance & Information Technology
  • Humanities & Arts Magnet High School
  • Institute for Health Professions at Cambria Heights
  • Mathematics, Science Research and Technology Magnet High School

Former schools included:[50][52]

  • Business, Computer Applications & Entrepreneurship High School
  • Law, Government and Community Service High School

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Dillon, Sam (May 22, 1995). "Lots of Little Academics Founded With Lots of Big Ideas Produce a Variety of Results". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c d e "2016 New York City High School Directory" (PDF). New York City Department of Education. 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d "St. Albans School Opened: 2,500 Students Register at New Andrew Jackson High School" (PDF). The New York Times. May 11, 1937. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Barbanel, Josh (November 12, 1993). "Cortines, Citing Litany of Failure, Plans to Close 2 Big High Schools". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b c Holloway, Lynette (May 16, 2001). "A Small Strategy for Troubled Giants". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Pezone, Michael (2011). "School Segregation in Queens, New York: From Andrew Jackson to Law Government" (PDF). Social Science Docket. Hofstra University: 54–56.
  7. ^ a b c d "New High Schools to Have Campuses; Architectural Plan of Jackson Building and Three Others to Be Collegiate in Style; Design is Modernistic; Besides Queens School, Two In the Bronx and One in Brooklyn Are to Be of This Type" (PDF). The New York Times. December 27, 1931. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  8. ^ a b "PLANS FOR 4 SCHOOLS APPROVED BY BOARD; New Buildings Will Provide Seats for 8,250 Children and Cost $2,500,000" (PDF). The New York Times. September 26, 1935. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  9. ^ "FEDERAL AID ASKED FOR 2 CITY WORKS; $2,500,000 Loan Sought for Construction of Bayside High School in Queens" (PDF). The New York Times. October 4, 1933. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  10. ^ Selby, Alexandra; Umpierrez, Amanda (February 2011). "Baysides' 75th" (PDF). The Baysider. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  11. ^ a b Tompkins, Richard (October 13, 1935). "PROGRAM SPEEDED FOR NEW SCHOOLS; $25,000,000 of Construction With PWA Funds Will Be Under Way by Christmas" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Queens High School to be Opened Monday: Andrew Jackson to Be Formally Dedicated in September-Gaynor Exercises Monday" (PDF). The New York Times. May 6, 1937. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  13. ^ a b "New School Open Tomorrow" (PDF). The New York Times. September 26, 1937. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  14. ^ "Mayor Tells Boys How to Get His Job" (PDF). The New York Times. September 28, 1937. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  15. ^ "Student Transfers May Cut Crowding In Queens Schools" (PDF). The New York Times. July 4, 1959. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  16. ^ a b Hechinger, Fred M. (February 15, 1967). "School Board Told To Rezone Queens: State Orders Move to End Rising Racial Imbalance in Jackson High by Fall" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
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  21. ^ a b c d Kurtz, Howard (October 19, 1987). "RACIAL QUOTAS AND THE 'TIPPING POINT'". The Washington Post. New York. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
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  25. ^ "Brooklyn Parents Support a White as New P.S. 284 Principal" (PDF). The New York Times. May 24, 1967. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  26. ^ Kihss, Peter (May 26, 1967). "Queens Aide Says School Board Turns Local Officials Into 'Figureheads'" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  27. ^ "Queens Suits Seek to Block Shift of White Students" (PDF). The New York Times. June 1, 1967. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  28. ^ Currivan, Gene (September 14, 1968). "Queens Parents Defy Busing Plan: Hire Own Vehicle to Send 30 to Another School" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  29. ^ "Blast Damages Queens School; 16 Seized on 3d Day of Disorder" (PDF). The New York Times. December 5, 1968. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  30. ^ Buder, Leonard (March 1, 1969). "40 Policemen Guarding Jackson High" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  31. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (May 20, 1969). "Queens Students Stage Walkout: High School Protesters Ask Naming of Negro Official" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  32. ^ Buder, Leonard (April 30, 1971). "School Rezoning In Queens Scored: Bergtraum Would End Plan Involving Hillcrest High" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  33. ^ Burks, Edward C. (June 20, 1971). "A Gain In Schools Sought In Queens: Blacks and Whites Seeking an End to Busing" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  34. ^ Buder, Leonard (January 19, 1975). "Rezoning Plan for Some Queens Schools Outlined" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  35. ^ "Manes Assails School Zoning" (PDF). The New York Times. April 27, 1975. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  36. ^ Seigel, Max H. (April 20, 1977). "Nyquist Defends the Segregation Of HIgh School in Queens Section" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  37. ^ "Status of Jackson High Called Pitiful By Judge" (PDF). The New York Times. April 27, 1977. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  38. ^ "News Summary: Wednesday, May 17, 1978" (PDF). The New York Times. May 17, 1978. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  39. ^ Goldman, Ari L. (May 18, 1978). "The Jackson High School Decision: Patterns of Segregation and the Unanswered Question" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  40. ^ a b "Judge Eases Deadline For High School Plan On Balancing Classes" (PDF). The New York Times. July 6, 1978. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  41. ^ "Abandoning Andrew Jackson High" (PDF). The New York Times. April 27, 1979. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  42. ^ a b Hevesi, Dennis (November 13, 1993). "Reorganization Has Familiar Ring at Queens High School". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  43. ^ Chambers, Marcia (May 20, 1977). "...and Students at One of Them Discuss Integration" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
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  50. ^ a b Bockmann, Rich (August 30, 2013). "Campus Magnet gets new HS". Times Ledger. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  51. ^ Hemphill, Clara (November 8, 2003). "Small Isn't Always Better". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  52. ^ McRae, Tess (July 10, 2015). "Two Campus Magnet Schools Will Enter Final Year". Southeast Queens Press. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
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  55. ^ Capuzzo, Jill P. "Obama Seldom Asks His Pollster to Play the Role of an Oracle", The New York Times, February 3, 2008. Accessed September 26, 2019. "Mr. Benenson grew up in Laurelton, Queens, and attended Andrew Jackson High School, where, he said, battles over integration helped shape his political philosophy for life."
  56. ^ Koplowitz, Howard. "Cambria Hts. author delivers his message", New York Post, March 31, 2011. Accessed September 26, 2019. "'Me and my friends used to explore the city. I knew the streets pretty good,' Boone said during an interview at his Cambria Heights home, referring to his days as a track star at Andrew Jackson High School, where he attended many meets in the city."
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  59. ^ Guinier. "Who's Afraid of Lani Guinier?", The New York Times, February 27, 1994. Accessed September 26, 2019. "My home address rooted me in the black community, but I also had many Jewish, Italian and Asian friends among the 6,000 students attending Andrew Jackson High School on triple session."
  60. ^ Roberts, Sam. "Verna Hart, Whose Art Expressed the Rhythms of Jazz, Dies at 58", The New York Times, May 10, 2019. Accessed September 26, 2019. "Even before she graduated from Andrew Jackson High School in Queens, Ms. Hart took painting classes at the Cooper Union."
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  66. ^ William Scarborough, Brooklyn College. Accessed September 26, 2019. "Graduating from Public School 140, Shimer J.H.S. 142, and Andrew Jackson High School, he is also a graduate of Queens College of the City University of New York, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Political Science."
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  70. ^ Mitchell, Verner D.; and Davis, Cynthia. Encyclopedia of the Black Arts Movement, p. 325. Accessed September 26, 2019. "Lorenzo Thomas was born in the Republic of Panama on August 31, 1944.... Upon graduating from Andrew Jackson High School, he enrolled at Queens College (now part of the City University of New York) and received a BA in English in 1967."