Middle School 74 in Bayside, Queens, Earns Blue Ribbon School Status
BAYSIDE, Queens — A middle school in Bayside earned a national honor last week. It was named a Blue Ribbon School, an award for academic achievement or closing gaps among student subgroups.
This decade illustrated research-based practices that combined to create a signature middle school pedagogy that included advisory, interdisciplinary curriculum and teaming. This re-energized research on middle level education and led to the emergence of the NMSA journal, Research in Middle Level Education (RMLE).
About the School
Middle school is where your academic work starts to get more challenging. It’s also where you might start learning new things — like foreign languages, art and music. And it’s where you might find lots of new teams, clubs and activities to join, from lacrosse to ceramics to a group that prepares video newscasts.
The school’s mantra, “Together Everyone Achieves More,” lives through a curriculum that encourages collaboration and intellectual engagement. And it’s where students are encouraged to soar, from good to great and beyond.
Teachers at this school earn high marks from students in their annual NYC School Survey for involving them in important decisions and offering thought-provoking lessons that make class interesting. The school is also a National Blue Ribbon School, an honor that’s earned by schools that achieve exemplary student outcomes or close gaps between students.
Middle school 74 offers a wide variety of academic classes to meet the needs of all learners. Students are challenged with thought-provoking questions in a safe and respectful learning environment. Teachers focus on building a curriculum that centers around student experience.
Students also participate in a variety of clubs and activities. Field trips have taken the students to local businesses, Washington D.C. and the Flight 93 Memorial in Emmitsburg, among others.
In addition to its academic success, the school’s community is proud of M.S. 74’s designation as a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School, joining 325 schools nationwide that have earned the distinction based on their overall academic performance or for closing achievement gaps between student subgroups. Congresswoman Grace Meng, who represents the area in which the school is located, congratulated the community on its accomplishments.
Despite the bad rap that they sometimes receive, the so-called extracurricular activities are an important part of the school curriculum. They help give it form, focus and meaning.
However, the fact that students choose whether to participate in extracurriculars means that it is difficult to determine their effect on academic motivation and achievement. To overcome this difficulty, researchers have employed a number of techniques, including propensity score analysis, to control for preexisting differences between participants and non-participants. Using this approach, the results suggest that participation in two broad domains of extracurricular activity (sports and performance arts/clubs) is positively associated with academic motivation and achievement. Moreover, these effects appear to be greater for youth who are at highest risk of school failure.
The team aspect of sports promotes interaction among students from varying socioeconomic backgrounds and interests. The responsibilities of juggling schoolwork, practice sessions and competitions teaches students how to prioritize and manage their time and also develop a strong work ethic.
Participating in athletics helps students increase their flexibility, strength and endurance. Developing an active lifestyle at a young age provides lasting health benefits and reduces risk of obesity and associated health problems.
Middle school is a challenging transition for pre-teens and young teenagers as they leave the safety and familiarity of small elementary schools to wander new halls with crowds of students and adults they don’t know. Offering a variety of sports and performing arts programs is one way to nurture their development and support them as they make the journey into the teenage years and beyond.