Special Music School

An Insideschools pick
129 WEST 67 STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10023 Map
Phone: (212) 501-3318
Website: Click here
Admissions: Citywide
Principal: Katherine Banucci-Smith
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
District: 3
Grade range: K-12
Parent Coordinator: LISA STUMP
Performing Arts
Unzoned
Screened
Citywide

Buses: BxM2, M10, M104, M11, M20, M5, M57, M66, M7, M72

What's special:

Rigorous musical training and strong academics, expanding to become k-12

The downside:

Many hours spent practicing doesn't leave much time for play-dates

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

The Special Music School offers intense musical training along with rigorous academics. It's tough to get in—some 400 children audition for just 15 kindergarten seats—but for those who are admitted the opportunities are extraordinary.

The school has evolved from its original mission—to replicate the strict focus of the music schools of the former Soviet Union—into a school that balances musical training with academics, music theory, and music history, said Principal Katherine Banucci-Smith. The school's academic test scores are among the highest in the city.
Banucci-Smith, principal since 2010, graduated from Oberlin Conservatory, where she studied voice. As a child she played violin. She was formerly assistant principal at River East Elementary School.

The New York City Department of Education is responsible for the academic classes, while the Kaufman Music Center provides students with full music scholarships. The curriculum includes two private instrumental lessons each week and group classes in music theory, solfège (ear training), music history, and chorus. At the end of 5th grade all students must audition to be readmitted to the middle school, and only a very small percentage leave.

Originally serving grades K–8, the school has expanded to include grades 9–12. The high school is housed in the Martin Luther King Campus nearby. For admission in grades K–2, no previous musical training is necessary. However, parents are supposed to ensure that their children practice every day.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There is a special education teacher who works with individuals, and small groups of children, who need extra assistance, to help them stay in the general education classroom.

ADMISSIONS: Open houses are offered four times a year. Testing for kindergarten begins in September. Children are asked to clap, sing, and move to music; they are assessed based on their pitch, sense of rhythm, and musical memory. The school occasionally has seats for children in upper grades. For 9th grade, preference is given to continuing 8th-graders and then to the rest of New York City by audition, grades, test scores and an interview. Applications are available online at www.kaufman-center.org/sms or by calling the school. (Lydie Raschka, web reports and school data, September 2016)

K-8 InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Number of Students 277

Average Daily Attendance 96%

Students at this school

Asian

  
16%

Black

  
13%

Hispanic

  
14%

White

  
43%

Free Lunch

  
18%

Special ed

  
13%

English Language Learners

  
1%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average middle school english class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

100% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

9% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

How many teachers say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep students engaged?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school does a good job teaching social-emotional skills?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school does a good job teaching organizational and study skills?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam

94% 40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam

94% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 8th grades pass high school regents exams?

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass the algebra regents:

77% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass a science regents:

0% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the school survey?

42% 59% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say they attended at least one pta meeting in the last school year?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Does the school encourage family involvement?

How many parents say they were invited to an event at the school at least 3 times in the last school year?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

NA 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

NA 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

60% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

60% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say students with special needs are educated in the least restrictive environment appropriate?

100% 91% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents of students with ieps say this school offers a wide enough variety of services and activities for their children’s needs?

77% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

0% 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school ensures that ells receive the same curriculum as non-ells with appropriate suppports?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Number of Students 277

Average Daily Attendance 96%

Uniforms? NA

Metal detectors? NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
16%

Black

  
13%

Hispanic

  
14%

White

  
43%

Free Lunch

  
18%

Special ed

  
13%

English Language Learners

  
1%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.03 2.39 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


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

Middle school students reading at grade level:

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Middle school students doing math at grade level:

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Safety & vibe

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

88% 74% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

100% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

94% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

9% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2015

How many students graduated within 4 years?

NA 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

NA 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

NA 9% 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?

NA

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

NA

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

NA

Are students ready for college?

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

NA 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

NA
424 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 495 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

NA
432 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 511 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

Is the guidance counseling helpful?

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

NA 48% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

NA 57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

48% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

56% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

Voice, Instrument, and Composition

Audition

Selection Criteria

  • English (Scores 75-100) , Math (Scores 65-100) , Science (Scores 74-100) , Social Studies (Scores 66-100)

There may be additional selection criteria, see the High School Directory for more information

Academics

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Face the Music, Academic Homework Lab, Composer Craft, Student Government, School Leadership Team (SLT), Theory Tutoring, Yearbook, Young Artist Program, Model UN, Comic Book, A capella, Lyricism, Chess, Student Bands, Sustainability

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Handball, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball, Wrestling

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Flag Football, Handball, Indoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball, Wrestling

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

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