Welcome to The Kew-Forest Upper School! The first thing everyone who spends some time at Kew-Forest remarks upon is the pervasive sense of warmth and community in the school. It is visible in the conversations faculty and students have in the hallways, in the way parents stay to talk with faculty and staff who formerly or who have never taught their children, and in the happy greetings our older students offer to the younger. The second thing everyone notices is how remarkably diverse our community is. With a notable international student population and over 31 nationalities represented and 17+ languages spoken at home, the Upper School is truly global community. In this rich context, our Upper School students begin to define who they are and who they want to be -- as scholars, athletes, artists, and citizens -- with the assistance and support of wonderful faculty members and access to challenging and thought-provoking courses, myriad interscholastic athletic teams, and multiple clubs, co-curriculars, and opportunities to serve.

The Kew-Forest Upper School faculty, 83% of whom hold advanced degrees, provide a rigorous college preparatory academic program with co-curricular options in a supportive atmosphere. Our program is both traditional and progressive with a curriculum that emphasizes the fundamentals of English, mathematics, science, world languages, history, and visual and performing arts, as well as 21st century skills in technology and creative innovation. Classic liberal arts courses like Development of Civilizations are offered alongside exciting electives such as Myth and Game Design & Development. Beyond our core and Honors curriculum, juniors and seniors are eligible to take a range of challenging Advanced Placement courses in subjects including Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Calculus, World History, U.S. History, U.S. Law & Government, English Language and Literature, Studio Art, and World Languages.

Students thrive in these courses because The Kew-Forest Upper School is a place where every student is valued. An average class size of 14 students means that each student is seen and encouraged and expected to participate. Students learn by doing as they work together on group activities and take the lead in round table discussions while teachers offer guidance and mentorship. With 150 students in the Middle and Upper School, the 6.5:1 student/teacher ratio means that teachers come to know their students and their work extremely well, allowing them to provide detailed feedback to meet individual needs.

At Kew-Forest, learning is an ongoing, iterative process that does not begin and end in the classroom. Our students participate in and benefit from a wide range of co-curricular activities. With over 20 interscholastic athletic teams, Kew-Forest offers something for nearly everyone. In fact, 61% of Upper School students are members of one or more athletic teams, and in the past 3 years alone we have won eight championship titles in sports ranging from Archery to Cross Country to JV Basketball. Our students’ artwork hangs throughout the school, our musicians perform original compositions at assemblies and in our common areas, and our theatrically inclined students participate in multiple fall plays and one-acts as well as the spring musical. Over 44% of our students participate in our award-winning Mock Trial and Model U.N. teams, and all students engage in our 15+ clubs, assemblies, an advisory program, Health Education, and ongoing service learning opportunities.

Through all of these opportunities, Upper School students at Kew-Forest strive, learn, sometimes stumble, persevere, and continually grow. They become critical thinkers, questioning readers, fluid writers, ready speakers, and observant, empathetic, and generous human beings, able to both lead and serve because they know that their growth and success are inextricably tied to those of their peers and the world around them. Our success as a school, then, is graduating these young people who become the capable and caring adults we are proud to send out into our communities and world, and we are so glad you are engaged in this work with us.

List of 3 items.

  • Advanced Placement Courses

    The Kew-Forest School offers many Advanced Placement (AP) courses in disciplines such as English, U.S. History, Calculus, Science, World History, and Latin. 
    Because they are considered the equivalent of college-level courses, AP classes are fast paced and require students to master large amounts of information. Students who enroll in AP courses are expected to cooperate fully with their teachers and adhere to all course requirements. In addition, in May, participating students are required to take the College Board’s AP exams. These tests are evaluated outside of the school by college professors and AP teachers. Students who score at a certain level receive college credit at most institutions. The AP exam score stands alone and separate from the grade the student earns in the AP course.
    Enrollment in an AP course is based on a student’s request, the teacher’s recommendation, the student’s academic record, standardized testing information, and an overall review by the Division Head and the College Counselor. Scheduling constraints play a role as well.
  • Field Trips & Outdoor Education

    Our "Learning Outside the Classroom" program is an important aspect of the Kew-Forest Upper School experience. Students leave Kew-Forest to visit museums, historical sites, and other educational venues within New York City that relate to their classroom studies. There, they engage in a variety of hands-on learning experiences that enable them to build a stronger sense of themselves, their classmates, and the world around them. Kew-Forest also schedules overnight trips and day excursions outside of New York for team building, character education, sports competitions, and curriculum enhancement. 
  • Graduation Requirements

    Upper School Graduation Requirements

    In order to graduate, students in grades 9-12 must earn passing grades (60 or higher) in the following courses. These graduation requirements are designed to meet the minimum eligibility requirements for many colleges. Please note that Kew-Forest courses meet or exceed requirements for New York State Regents designation, therefore Kew-Forest students, along with most New York State independent school students, are exempt from taking Regents exams.

    SUBJECT                                       YEARS (1 year=2 semesters)
    English                                          4 years
    History                                          4 years (not incl. social studies courses)
    Science                                         3 years (including at least 2 lab courses)
    Mathematics                                3 years
    World Languages                        3 years
    Visual and Performing Arts         2 years
    Physical Education or Sport       4 years (of PE and/or team play)

    In addition:

    • All seniors must complete a minimum of three school-sponsored community service activities in order to graduate.
    • All students must achieve an appropriate level of computer literacy in order to graduate.
    • Seniors must pass all required courses in order to graduate.

Contact Information

If you have any additional questions, please contact:

Michelle J. Vessio
Head of Middle & Upper School

College Acceptances (Last Four Years)

Kew-Forest graduates have been accepted to many colleges and universities over the last four years, including:

Amherst College
Barnard College
Binghamton University
Boston University
Bowdoin College
Brandeis University
Brown University
Cornell University
Drexel Institute of Technology
Duke University
Emory University
Fordham University
Georgetown University
Hofstra University
Howard University
Iona College
Johns Hopkins University
Kenyon College
Manhattanville College
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
McGill University
Molloy College
Morehouse College
Mount Holyoke College
New York Institute of Technology
New York University
Northeastern University
Pennsylvania State University
St. John’s University
Stony Brook University
SUNY Polytechnic Institute
Syracuse University
Temple University
The University of Chicago
Tufts University
University of Connecticut
University of Hartford
University of Massachusetts
University of Pennsylvania
University of San Francisco
Wesleyan University
Wheaton College

The Kew-Forest School

119-17 Union Turnpike
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 268-4667
The oldest independent school in the borough of Queens, The Kew-Forest School is an independent co-educational, college preparatory school for students in Preschool through Grade 12.