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/ LI City
District: 30
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: CATHERIN MARCHETTA
Performing Arts
Visual Art & Design
Film/Video
Wheelchair Accessible

Buses: Q101, Q102, Q104, Q66

What's special:

Community partnerships expose students to careers in the arts

The downside:

School struggles to strike a balance between academics and art

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

At Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, students combine regular school work and training in the arts with a busy schedule of performances and artistic experiences outside the school. Students may perform with the Astoria Music Society and the Collegiate Chorale, or shadow filmmakers across the street at Kaufman-Astoria Studios.

 “We don’t think we can teach everything within four walls of the building,” said Principal Donna Finn. The school has ties to a wide range of cultural institutions: One student told us she took a course in astrophysics as the American Museum of Natural History. Another worked at the Queens Museum of Arts. Students take trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Jazz at Lincoln Center and entertain their neighbors in Astoria with performances in the school’s 800-seat Tony Bennett theatre (named after the school’s founder).

The strength of Sinatra is also its weakness: the academic teachers sometimes grumble that students miss valuable class time for rehearsals and shows.  The principal said the administration has responded to the teachers’ concerns by setting aside Mondays, Tuesdays, all of January and most of May to focus on academics and test-taking. Still, the principal says, “kids have to work really hard at managing time. It’s like coming to two schools.”

Students audition for one of six studios: dance, drama, instrumental music, vocal music, fine arts and film, and media. Students may changes studios between freshman and sophomore year .  Seventy percent of the students at Frank Sinatra are from Queens. The student body is racially diverse and nearly 70 percent female. The school has a relaxed atmosphere and students seem happy and generally engaged in class. Film production and history teacher Dena Zamore told us, “The students here are inquisitive and thoughtful and it’s great to teach students who care.” 

Most academic classes we visited were traditional, focusing on preparing students for the Regents exams. During our visit, two classes in particular impressed us: a Spanish class in which the teacher led the students in singing the “meses del año” to the tune of “The Macarena,” complete with dance moves; and an AP U.S. History class staging a mock trial for the impeached President Andrew Jackson. The school no longer requires all students to take four years of math and science, because of budget cuts, although strong students may take Advanced Placement (AP) calculus and biology. Three juniors we spoke with agreed that freshman and sophomore year were “easy.” Students said the workload becomes more intense as upper-level students load up on AP classes and prepare for college. Mariah, a senior majoring in instrumental music, said “I take a lot of AP classes so I don’t sleep a lot.”

Frank Sinatra has a full-time college adviser, a full-time scholarship advisor, and two guidance counselors. In 2010, 93 out of 155 Sinatra graduates went on to four year colleges. During our visit, counselors told us that five students are candidates for Posse Foundation scholarships. Frank Sinatra graduates have gone to St. John’s in Queens, NYU, Julliard, and Berklee College of Music; the school has sent three students to Columbia.

Special education: Frank Sinatra has very limited special education services. Only eight students had IEPS at the time of our visit. Only two students received instruction in English as a Second Language.

Admissions: In addition to the audition, the school looks for serious students with high grades and good attendance records. (Anna Schneider, October 2010)

 

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 756

Average Daily Attendance 91%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
9%

Black

  
15%

Hispanic

  
30%

White

  
45%

Free Lunch

  
39%

Special ed

  
5%

English Language Learners

  
0%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.50 2.80 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 2013

How many students graduated within 4 years?

94% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

96% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many students graduated within 4 years?

97% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

39% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

NA 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

0% 11% 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?

23%

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

19%

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

53%

Are students ready for college?

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

61% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

508
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

93% 62% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

501
425 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 514 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?

NA 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

100% 53% 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?

40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

58% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Open to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

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

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

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