Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School

An Insideschools pick
35-12 35TH AVENUE
QUEENS NY 11106 Map
Phone: (718) 361-9920
Website: Click here
Admissions: By audition and assessment of academic record
Principal: Donna Finn
Neighborhood: Astoria
District: 30
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: Catherin Marchetta
Performing Arts
Visual Art & Design
Film/Video
Wheelchair Accessible
Screened

Buses: Q101, Q102, Q104, Q66

What's special:

Top-notch, conservatory-style arts instruction; spacious, modern facilities

The downside:

Limited foreign language and elective classes

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Frank Sinatra High School is a vibrant, conservatory-style arts school filled with motivated and talented students who are admitted to one of six studios—dance, drama, instrumental music, vocal music, fine arts, and film and media. The school demands a high level of commitment from its students, who, on a typical day, take a full load of academic classes in addition to two or three periods of art classes and then spend a few hours after school rehearsing for a performance, working on projects, or participating in sports or internships.

Frank Sinatra occupies a spacious, modern building filled with professional-grade equipment and facilities, including a large theater named for the school’s founder, Tony Bennett. In addition to ongoing support from Bennett’s foundation, Exploring the Arts, students benefit from an extensive roster of partnerships with organizations such as the New York Philharmonic, Shubert Foundation, Kaufman-Astoria Studios, American Ballet Theater, Tribeca Film Festival, art conservatories such as Julliard and Manhattan School of Music and several museums and universities.

Art is everywhere—in the air, on the walls and even in the stairwells, where some students steal away for a few minutes to practice their instruments. The atmosphere is relaxed and students seemed genuinely happy and engaged in both their studio and academic classes.

All music classes—instrumental and choral—serve mixed grades. During our visit we heard the symphonic orchestra rehearse Beethoven’s "Symphony No. 8 in F Major" and the choral ensemble perform portions of Gabriel Faure’s "Requiem."

In the black box theater, a drama teacher led his class through some yoga warm-up exercises, while in the Tony Bennett Theater, other theater students worked on the sound, lighting and stage sets. Elsewhere a group of film students were fine-tuning their placement of b-rolls (cutaway footage), voice-overs and music to enhance their films.

In the large art studios, students work with all types of media ranging from charcoal sketches and oil paintings to digital architectural designs and ceramics made in the school’s kilns. In dance classes, pianists accompany students as they work through their warm-ups and routines.  

Teachers do an impressive job of weaving art and writing into instruction in academic subjects. In physics students show how force and motion make things work by creating 3-D models that demonstrate these principles, such as carousels (centripetal force) and elevators (counter weight impact on velocity). In living environment, they write and illustrate children’s books on cell structure. In statistics, they research and write about the lives and contributions of important women in mathematics.

English teachers assign a nice range of literature including novels, plays and memoirs and tie them into studies in other subjects. For instance, 10th-graders read Night, by Elie Wiesel in English at the same time they study World War II in global history. Teachers also emphasize the writing process in addition to teaching how to construct an argument or an essay. In a freshman class we observed, students were completing a “free write” exercise—jotting down whatever came to mind—to help them cultivate their writer’s voice.

While academic instruction is strong, there are some trade-offs. As an art school, Sinatra is only required to offer one year of a foreign language, although it offers two years and plans to add a third-year course in response to parent complaints, said longtime principal Donna Finn. Also, budget and time constraints make it hard to offer many sections of elective and college-level courses. Advanced Placement courses are offered in some subjects and there are a few elective classes such as statistics and forensics. Students can also take courses at LaGuardia Community College.

Sinatra is not a pressure cooker, but students still feel the weight of balancing art and academic commitments. “Kids have to work really hard at managing time. It’s like coming to two schools,” said Finn. To help keep tabs on students’ social and emotional needs, the school provides a range of supports, all concentrated in the large guidance suite—a safe place where students can find counselors to offer help and address problems.

A full-time college counselor runs the college office, also located in the guidance suite. Nearly all students graduate on time, and most go on to college. Roughly one-third of graduates pursue careers in the arts, “but we also have a lot of kids who go on to engineering and nursing too,” said Finn.

In addition to attending arts schools such as Parsons, School of Visual Arts, Rhode Island School of Design and Julliard, many attend CUNY and SUNY and private colleges.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT classes and SETSS. The school's guidance suite provides work space for speech, physical and occupational therapists and the school psychologist.

ADMISSIONS: Open to students citywide. Admission to all studios is based on an audition plus a review of students’ grades, test scores and attendance records. Admitted students may apply to change their studio between freshman and sophomore year. (Laura Zingmond, March 2015)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 808

Average Daily Attendance 94%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
11%

Black

  
14%

Hispanic

  
33%

White

  
39%

Free Lunch

  
39%

Special ed

  
7%

English Language Learners

  
0%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.25 2.40 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


1 = Far below grade level 2 = Below grade level 3 = At grade level 4 = Above grade level

Safety & vibe

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

25 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

62% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

83% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

How many students say they feel safe in hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?

96% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?

95% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

23% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2014

How many students graduated within 4 years?

98% 73% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

99% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many students graduated within 4 years?

94% 65% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates earned an advanced regents diploma within 4 years?

36% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

97% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

0% 10% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

College prep

Does this school offer a college preparatory curriculum?

How many students took an AP or IB class and scored at least a "3" on the AP exam or a "4" on the IB exam?

29%

How Many Students took a College Course and Got a "C" or Higher?

21%

How many students passed a Regents exam for algebra 2, physics or chemistry?

68%

Are students ready for college?

How many students graduated in four years with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?

78% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

535
418 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 497 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

89% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

538
426 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 513 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

Is the guidance counseling helpful?

How many students say that this school provides helpful counseling on college or job-seeking?

85% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

100% 47% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

100% 54% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students with disabilities spend most of the day with non-disabled peers?

100% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say students with disabilities are included in all activities?

98% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

37% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

56% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Open to New York City residents

Source: High school directory 2014-2015

Film and Media Arts

Audition

Study includes text analysis, film as a cultural & historical document, analysis of artist work; courses in video production, film theory & history, industry practices & legal issues. Students have access to state-of-the-art digital technology.

Fine Arts

Audition

Intensive study of art (theory, production, history, assessment); museum and gallery visits, student exhibitions, visiting artists. Courses ï¾– Foundation, 2-D and 3-D Design, Painting, Sculpture, Communication Arts, Print-making, Portfolio, Digital Photography.

Instrumental Music

Audition

Small group instruction on orchestral & band instruments; jazz & concert bands, advanced wind ensemble, string & symphonic orchestras, chamber music of all instrument families, theory, ear training, music history & keyboard harmony.

Vocal Music

Audition

Students perform in the Concert Choir, Chorale, Chamber Singers, musical theatre, Great American Songbook ensemble, opera workshop, and participate in cabaret; curriculum includes voice training, music theory, keyboard, sight singing, diction and audition preparation.

Dance

Audition

Ballet, modern dance, dance history, choreography & dance criticism courses; Jazz, tap, ballroom dancing, kinesiology, anatomy, career management & dance production classes; Students attend live performances & take part in school productions

Drama

Audition

A four-year course of study that includes acting technique, scene study, speech for actors, dramatic writing, and course work in performing Shakespeare; The Drama Studio creates mainstage productions each year

Academics

AP COURSES: Calculus AB, Calculus BC, English Language and Composition, Physics B, United States History, World History

Source: High school directory 2014-2015

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: After-school and Saturday Tutoring, Chamber Music, Community Mural Painting, Community Service through the Arts, Dance for non-Dance Students, Fundraising Committees, Gay-Straight Alliance, Greek, Helping Hands, Improvisation, Preparatory Jazz Band, Literary Magazine, Music Composition, National Chorale, National Honor Society, Photojournalism, Prom, School Newspaper, Step Dancing, Student Government, Yearbook, various internships and apprenticeships

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

Source: High school directory 2014-2015

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