Beach Channel High School

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Beach Channel High School
(H.S. 410)
100-00 Beach Channel Drive
Rockaway Park, Queens, New York City, New York
United States
Coordinates 40°35′08″N 73°49′31″W / 40.58565°N 73.82535°W / 40.58565; -73.82535Coordinates: 40°35′08″N 73°49′31″W / 40.58565°N 73.82535°W / 40.58565; -73.82535
Type Public High School
Established 1973
School district Administrative District 27
Principal David Morris
Faculty 129 (2005)
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 2,175
Campus Urban
Color(s) Blue, Gold          
Mascot Dolphin

Beach Channel High School (BCHS) (also known as High School 410 or H.S. 410), is a high school in the public school system of New York City, is located at 100-00 Beach Channel Drive in Rockaway Park in the borough of Queens. The school opened in 1973 and, as of 2006, has an enrollment of 2,175 students.[1][2] The school was built on the edge of Jamaica Bay and has a private dock. It offers a College Now program, which allows students to get college credit through programs at Rikers Island, Kingsborough Community College and Southampton College (part of Stony Brook University(SBU),[3] while LaGuardia Community College offers classes for reading skills improvement. A separate special education school is located in one wing of the campus. The current principal is Dr. David Morris.[4] In November 2009, the New York City Department of Education announced that the school may be closed in 2010 as a low-performing school. [5] Beach Channel High School graduated its last class in 2014. The building now houses several small schools.


  • Dr. David Morris (October 2003–present)
  • Barbara Pleener (September 2003—October 2003)
  • John Marcus, Acting Principal (February 2003–September 2003)
  • Andrea Holt (September 2002–February 2003)
  • Bernard Hopkins Gassaway (April 1997–June 2002)
  • Sandra C. Hassan (February 1988-April 1997)
  • Arthur Greenberg (September 1981-January 1987)
  • Robert L. Rappaport (September 1973-June 1981)

Bernard Gassaway, principal from the late 1990s until 2002, is credited with improving the school over his tenure. He went on to become a superintendent of schools.[6] In 2006, he published the book Reflections of an Urban High School Principal, Yo... about his experiences.[7]

In September 2003, Barbara Pleener was installed as principal. Controversy in the form of alleged "threatening and insubordinate" comments on the part of a faculty member followed. In October 2003, allegations surfaced regarding alleged improprieties at Jamaica High School, where Pleener had been principal in 1999; she was never charged.[8] Students and parents protested, and Pleener stepped down.[9]


On November 11, 2006, BCHS's economics program received a "Blue Star" certification for the second year in a row for its financial literacy program, as 49 of the 50 students who particulated in the WISE Financial Literary Exam passed,; the school was one of only 45 schools receiving certification, from 139 that applied.[10] The award, offered by the New York Financial Literacy Coalition, is a free program created to increase the number of high school students who are financially knowledgeable and literate.[11]


The Beach Channel High School Marching Band, Concert Band and Jazz Band continue to be a vital force in Southern Queens; the bands are currently under the directorship of Gerald Brazel. The concert band has performed at locations such as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Kingsborough Community College, Queens College, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Forest Park, Boys and Girls High School, Russo's on the Bay, Brooklyn College, and Antun's. The marching band has performed at various Halloween, St. Patrick's, ethnic pride and Memorial Day parades in Manhattan and Queens and has performed Walt Disney World on two separate occasions. The band has also performed for many important political figures including Bill and Hillary Clinton and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.


In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Art Department under Renee Darvin attracted a talented and diverse number of art teachers, including Bruce Degen who later went on to create The Magic Schoolbus series of children's books and television shows with Joanna Cole. Renee Darvin later went on to serve as Director of Art for the New York City Board of Education and to be a lecturer at the Teachers College at Columbia University.[12] During their tenure at Beach Channel, the arts program offered a wide array of near-college-level courses including an after school life drawing program for advanced students.

In 2000, artist Julie Dermansky undertook a project for the Department of Cultural Affairs for New York City and decorated the fencing and floors of the day care center with works entitled Ocean Fence and Ocean Floor.[13]

Notable alumni[edit]


The school teams are named the "Dolphins," after the school's mascot.

Beach Channel High School has the only Crew (rowing) team in New York City. Christian Horn is the current head coach of the team, having taken over following the retirement of William Stein, who started the team over two decades ago. In 1983, the boys varsity team participated in the Henley Regatta in Oxford, England, with only one 8-man boat and 8 oars. Today the team has multiple racing shells; including fours, eights, a two-man, and a single shell. Since the late 1980s the team has been co-ed, made up of both boys and girls four(both consisting of five individuals; a coxswain, two "port" rowers, and two "starboard" rowers, and an eight(a coxswain, four "port" rowers, and four "starboard" rowers. Now the team has a wide array of racing shells. In 2004/2005 the team received a brand new Vespoli 8, two brand new Vespoli 4s and 16 brand new concept 2 oars. Also the Dolphins made history by defeating the #2 rated school Curtis in the PSAL Playoffs becoming the first to do so in PSAL history.


  1. ^ "Beach Channel High School". Archived from the original on 2006-10-09. Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  2. ^ "Great Schools: Beach Channel High School". Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  3. ^ "Beach Channel High/Southampton Graduate Campus An Educational Partnership". Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  4. ^ "School Profile: H.S. 410 Beach Channel High School". Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  5. ^ Trapasso, Clare (2009-11-23). "Fate of three underperforming Queens schools will be decided in early 2010". Daily News. New York. 
  6. ^ "Bernard Gassaway, experience". Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  7. ^ "Gassaway Pens 'Reflections Of An Urban High School Principal'". The Wave. 2006-01-20. Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  8. ^ "BCHS Principal Created A 'Hostile Sexual Environment'". The Wave. 2003-10-24. Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  9. ^ Herszenhorn, David M. (2004-06-29). "Klein Says He Has Ousted 45 Principals". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-06. [dead link]
  10. ^ "BCHS Named 'Blue Star' School". The Wave. 2006-11-17. Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  11. ^ "Blue Star Financial Literacy Certification Program". Archived from the original on October 6, 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  12. ^ "Continuing Education: Renee Darvin". Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved 2007-02-04. 
  13. ^ "Percent for Art: Ocean Fence and Ocean Floor, Steel Fence and Decorative Linoleum Floor, 2000 Julie Dermansky". Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  14. ^ Donohue, Pete (2009-07-14). "Incoming MTA chairman Jay Walder: Commuters will be top priority". Daily News. New York.