High School and College Success Programs

Commonpoint Queens takes pride in preparing our youth to be future leaders, implementing a wide-variety of social and academic programs at several high schools throughout the borough.

Commonpoint Queens takes pride in preparing our youth to be future leaders, implementing a wide-variety of social and academic programs at several high schools throughout the borough. We offer job readiness, SAT Prep, college essay help, college tours, group counseling and more!

For more information on these programs, please contact Danielle Hersch, Assistant Vice President of High School and College Success, at [email protected]

College Access Support Program

Commonpoint Queens is proud to announce that it has begun offering college access support across its partnering high schools! Presently, our full-time college access coordinator is primarily located at Forest Hills High School, helping students with all aspects of the college admissions process. More specifically, college access programming includes, but is not limited to, the following service areas:

  • CommonApp Essay Assistance
  • Supplemental Essay Assistance
  • Resume Building
  • Recommendation Letter Preparation and Guidance
  • College List Development
  • College Selection Decision
  • College Portfolio Development
  • Academic Advisory
  • Curating Shadowing/Internship Opportunities
  • Interview Preparation
  • Summer Program Applications
  • Scholarship Applications
  • Extracurricular Advising
  • Financial Aid Application Support (FAFSA/CSS/TAP)
  • Transitioning to College
  • College Signing Day

Our college access coordinator rotates to all of the Queens high schools within the Commonpoint Queens network. These include John Bowne High School, Martin Van Buren and Forest Hills High School and the Queens High School of Teaching. When there, we provide the same services that are seen above, on both an individual or group level! It is also important to note that we do provide professional development for school staff, whether it is to generally familiarize them with the admissions process or provide targeted support for writing effective recommendation letters. Furthermore, we do aim to make a difference in enhancing the college-going culture of the high school by routinely celebrating student successes in a multitude of ways.

For more information, please contact Lance Beverly, Ed.M, Program Coordinator at [email protected]

Programs at Martin Van Buren High School

A.C.E. Program: Achieving and Creating Excellence
The A.C.E program allows students in their freshman and sophomore years to gain skills needed for their success in high school and beyond. By partnering with a quality and engaging staff during their transition into High School, ACE students are set up for continued support through critical services such as individual and group counseling. Students have a safe space to meet with a counselor one on one to address personal and/or academic concerns. Counselors work to promote positive social emotional growth amongst the students and provide regular and ongoing communication with parents and families. Through participation in ACE, students have access to team-building and educational trips, peer groups, peer tutoring, after school activities, and more. This program is sponsored through the generosity and valued partnership of the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development.

For more information, please contact Asha McKenzie, LMSW, Program Coordinator at (718) 776-4728 ext 1120 or [email protected]

Community School Initiatives
Commonpoint Queens partners with Martin Van Buren High School to offer a variety of services and programming to students, families, school staff, and the greater community. Our Community School team works closely with the school to offer school wide programming, attendance interventions, mental health counseling, community service opportunities, mentoring and field trips. Our goal is to increase attendance, school participation and strengthen the sense of belonging and community. Some programming includes; yoga/mindfulness, creative arts, guest speakers to conduct workshops, basketball tournaments, Paint Nite’s, professional developments for school staff, and college access workshops and individual support for all grades. Another program offered is My Brother’s Keeper (MBK). MBK provides mentoring to young men of color to reduce chronic absenteeism, improve academic achievement, and leadership development. This program is sponsored through the generosity and valued partnership with NYC Community Schools.

For more information, please contact Stephanie Kawko, LMSW, Community School Director at (718) 776-4728 ext 1155 or [email protected]

S.O.A.R. Program: Student Opportunities for Achievement and Readiness
Commonpoint Queens provides a school-based counseling program for juniors and seniors to help improve students’ attendance, academic performance, and their social and emotional well-being. S.O.A.R. takes a holistic and comprehensive approach in addressing the various needs of our students and providing them with the skills and tools they need to learn and grow. The SOAR program leverages all resources and referrals to ensure quality and individualized care for each of our students. Participants are given consistent encouragement and support in a safe environment to keep them on track towards graduation and prepare them for life beyond high school. Students are provided with access to individual counseling, group counseling, academic advisement, college and career readiness, peer tutoring, family outreach, and field trips.

For more information, please contact Stephanie Kawko, LMSW, Program Coordinator at (718) 776-4728 ext 5542 or [email protected]

We wanted to share this video that a friend at “West Elm” created, to reflect on our S.O.A.R. program’s Beautification Day at Martin Van Buren H.S. Check out these “Before” and “After” pictures, and enjoy the transformation at https://vimeo.com/216236193.

Level Up Program
The Level Up program is designed to provide high school students with opportunities to create, plan and implement their own community service projects and events both within the school and out within the community. Each group member will be encouraged to develop a strong knowledge of effective teamwork, as well as hone their critical thinking skills within a safe and supportive environment of their peers. This is an amazing opportunity to allow students to find their voice and work to make a difference within their school community.

For more information, please contact Andy Gavora, BSc, Program Coordinator at (718) 776-4728 or [email protected]

Attendance Intervention & Engagement
As part of our array of services at Martin Van Buren High School, the Community School team offers targeted attendance interventions for students nearing chronic absence.  As part of collaborative approach, our professionals work closely with the school’s administration and attendance professionals to offer more intensive case management. The program’s design is to eliminate the barriers students face inhibiting their success in school.  While working with our staff, students will have individual and group counseling, along with access to internal and external referrals for programs and services to increase school attendance. Strategies for the program include group incentives, parent support, peer mediation, trips & experiences and more.

For more information, please contact Myrna Franco, Engagement Specialist at (718) 776-4728 ext 1360 or [email protected]

Programs at Forest Hills High School

CASE Academy
The CASE Academy allows students in their Freshman and Sophomore years to gain skills needed for their success in High School and beyond. By partnering with a quality and engaging staff during their transition into High School, CASE students are set up for continued support through critical services such as individual and group counseling. Students have a safe space to meet with a Counselor Advocate one on one to address personal and/or academic concerns. Counselor Advocates work to promote positive social emotional growth amongst the students and provide regular and ongoing communication with parents and families. Through participation in the CASE Academy, students in Forest Hills High School have access to team-building and educational trips, peer groups, peer tutoring, after school activities, and more. This program is sponsored through the generosity and valued partnership of the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development.

For more information, please contact Melissa Roy, MSW, Program Coordinator at (718) 268-3137 ext 5651 or [email protected]

S.W.A.G. Program: Students Working to Achieve Goals
Commonpoint Queens is partnering with Forest Hills High School to provide an extended day program aimed at helping students improve their academic performance and increase their overall school attendance. Counselor Advocates work closely with families and school administration to provide individual and group counseling, along with credit bearing courses in key subject areas, to reduce chronic absence among High School students. Our interventions and services assist with helping students remain on track for grade promotion and timely graduation. This program is funded by the New York State Education Department.

For more information, please contact Melissa Roy, MSW, Program Coordinator at (718) 268-3137 ext 5651 or [email protected] or Shantel Stephenson, Counselor Advocate at (718) 268-3137 ext. 5650 or [email protected]

Programs at John Bowne High School

S.A.F.E. Program: Student & Family Engagement   
The S.A.F.E. Program goal is to help students and families foster healthy relationships with each other, peers, school, and the greater community. S.A.F.E. partners with John Bowne High School and community organizations to offer students a variety of after school programs so that students can gain skills, increase their self esteem, and reach college and career readiness. S.A.F.E. After School programming includes: Dance, Cooking, Creative Arts, Girl Talk, College Preparation, Healthy Living, Sports, Yoga, Performing Arts/Acting, Creative Writing, Business/Leadership, Mindfulness/Stress Relief, Tutoring, Life Skills, and Mentorship. S.A.F.E. also offers: Counseling and a Safe Space to students during their lunch period to ensure their wellbeing, Monthly Gatherings to foster community and review school attendance, Family Workshops and English classes to support parents of teens, and Talent Showcases to celebrate the diversity and skills of our students. Overnight and day trips to educational and team building venues help round out this comprehensive program and are quality incentives to encourage students to increase school attendance and program participation.  The S.A.F.E. Program is funded through NYC Community Schools by way of the New York State Education Department and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

For more information, please contact Alexandra Saba, LMSW, Community School Director at (718) 286-8000 ext 1593 or [email protected]

Strive Program
The Strive Program is designed to meet the needs of students by delivering a holistic approach. Counselor Advocates in the Strive Program work within the student’s support network to strengthen the student’s capacity to actualize their full potential. Students enrolled in The Strive Program experience critical and quality programming that engages them in a meaningful and enlightening way. The Strive Program is an inclusive community that supports students through counseling, academic advisement, programs selected by participants, parent involvement, after school workshops, community service, social justice, college & career readiness, and academic support.

Some of the services offered by the Strive Program include:

  • Student Nominated Clubs and Groups
  • Team-building and Educational Trips
  • Incentive Celebrations
  • Employment Support
  • Individual Counseling
  • Individual Academic Advisement
  • Group Counseling
  • Academic Support
  • Mindfulness and Meditation
  • Community Service Opportunities
  • College Preparation and Support

For more information, please contact Jessica Ambrosio, LMSW, Program Coordinator at (718) 263-1919 ext 5053 or [email protected]

Programs at Queens Academy High School

Learn to Work Program
The Learn To Work (LTW) program is our divisions newest program located at a NYC DOE transfer school, Queens Academy. LTW is funded through our partnership with the DOE and works with the entire student body to help foster individual growth and pathways to graduation and post secondary placement.

Our program design includes two specific tracks for students to engage in- a post secondary track and a work readiness track. Each track works to meet the needs and presenting barriers each student faces that has prevented them from reaching their full potential. Students engage in weekly psycho-educational workshops twice per week as well as individual sessions as needed with their designated LTW counselor.

Participants on the college pathway receive individualized sessions as well as group sessions catering to the application process, financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Our work readiness track prepares our participants for job placement and each student who completes the required workshop series and reaches their attendance goal is eligible for an LTW internship.

In addition, our team works closely with all school staff and CBO partners to improve school culture and attendance.

For more information, please contact:

Osiris Duarte, College Counselor at (718) 704-8103‬ or [email protected]

Xenia Laureano, College Counselor at ‭(718) 704-8103‬ or [email protected]

Nader Elmehdawi, Work Experience Specialist at ‭(718) 704-8187‬ or [email protected]

Sal Carillo, Work Experience Specialist at (718) 704-8187 or [email protected]

Programs at Queens High School of Teaching

Learn & Earn
The Learn & Earn program is a multifaceted program with an array of services funded through the Department of Youth and Community Development through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. This program serves an at risk population and participants must meet eligibility requirements in order to be enrolled which can include low-income barriers and individuals with disabilities. This intensive program engages participants beginning in their Junior year and follows them through their first year of college. Program enrollment is limited and begins in April and closes in August.

The program includes elements of work readiness, college readiness, service learning, leadership development, job placement and comprehensive guidance and counseling. Participants engage in weekly group sessions, leadership retreat experiences, college tours and more!

*Enrollment for Learn & Earn begins in April of a student’s Sophomore year and concludes in late August before entering Junior standing.  Students must meet eligibility criteria and maintain a two year program commitment.

For more information, please contact Elizabeth McArdle, LMSW, Senior Director, at (718) 736-7100 ext 1243 or [email protected]

G.O.A.L.S.
The G.O.A.L.S. program offers extended day services for freshman and sophomores at the Queens High School of Teaching.  The purpose of this program is to help students properly transition and gain the skills necessary to succeed in high school and beyond. This program offers a wide variety of programming such as academic support, tutoring, group and individual counseling, college and career readiness, community service, and recreational activities. Some of these activities include, culinary arts, yoga/mindfulness, and creative arts.  Through participation in the G.O.A.L.S. program, students also have access to attend educational and recreational field trips, and more. This program is sponsored by the generosity of the New York State Education Department.

For more information, please contact Stacey Anton, MSW, Senior Director, at (718) 736-7100 ext 1243 or [email protected]