Academy for Careers In Television and Film
QUEENS NY 11101 Map
Academy for Careers In Television and Film
Buses: B32, B43, B62, Q103, Q99
The Academy for Careers in Television & Film (ACTvF) is a small, successful school that delivers on its name. It offers students professional-level training in all aspects of film production as well as internships and paid work in the industry thanks to some big-name partners including Silver Cup Studios, the Tribeca Film Institute and the Museum of the Moving Image. It is an unscreened school that admits a broad range of students—from struggling to high achievers—but its graduation, college attendance and college readiness rates far exceed the citywide average.
ACTvF is located steps from the East River inside a modern, airy building with stunning views of the midtown Manhattan skyline. It shares the facilities with Hunter's Point Community Middle School and the Riverview School, a 6–12 District 75 program for children with severe learning disabilities.
Edgar Rodriguez has been principal since 2013. Previously, he was an assistant principal at ACTvF and a founding staff member, along with Alan Metzger, an award-winning director who designed and oversees the school's film program.
Film studies at ACTvF is an impressive operation. Students have access to a state-of-the-art film library and editing labs, several small sound stages, professional-grade audio and visual equipment, and shops stocked with props, wardrobe, and heavy-duty equipment for set design and construction. Students take field trips to production studios, and often film throughout the neighborhood and along the riverfront. Students run the school's non-profit production company, Next Step Pictures.
Ninth and 10th-graders rotate through classes in business production (budgeting and timelines), post production (video editing, sound mixing and motion graphics), film production (cameras, lighting, and sound), set production (set design and construction), hair, makeup and costumes, and directing (includes screenwriting). At the end of their sophomore year students choose one area to focus on through graduation.
Film classes are held mainly in the afternoon and during our visit we observed a seamless transition between the last class of the day and after-hours film work. As the final period ended, students fanned out across the building to continue working on their films—editing in labs and shooting scenes in hallways, offices, the cafeteria, and on the sound stages. Some also headed to the waterfront to shoot scenes.
Teachers strive to ensure students at all levels get the right amount of academic support. There are no accelerated classes in the lower grades and for high achievers the pacing of instruction in some courses may seem slow at first. Students we met—including an Ivy League-bound senior—said their teachers compensated by giving them extra and more challenging work. One sophomore said her experience in science classes has motivated her to pursue medicine.
All students study Spanish. Advanced Placement courses are offered in calculus, English, U.S. history and psychology. Instead of taking pre-calculus, juniors who are strong in math serve as teaching assistants in an algebra or geometry class. This helps reinforce their foundational skills before tackling calculus in the 12th grade, according to Rodriguez. The set-up also helps ease students' academic load during a stressful junior year when they're studying for the SATs, participating in internships and working on a year-long film production project, he said. Students may earn college credit by taking free courses at LaGuardia Community College.
The vibe throughout ACTvF is relaxed, friendly and close-knit. Students and administrators are on a first-name basis, and the teachers pay close attention to students' needs. Most teach three sections of classes a day, which is less than the typical load of five. The more manageable instructional schedule allows them to take on other responsibilities. Each teacher serves as the four-year advisor to a small group of students. Teachers meet regularly with their advisory students—in groups and individually—to keep tabs on their progress, monitor attendance, address academic and personal issues and help students through the college admissions process.
Students' days are packed with academic and film work and there are limited extra-curricular activities. Offerings include PSAL sports teams, school newspaper, yearbook committee and a few student-run clubs.
Special education: There are ICT classes and SETSS as well as a full-time social worker on staff.
College admissions: Students get a lot of support from their advisors and the school's full-time college counselor. Nearly all students graduate on time, and most attend college after graduation. CUNY and SUNY schools are popular choices; some attend private colleges including a few very competitive schools such as Columbia and New York University.
Admissions: Preference is given to students who attend an open house. The school has far more applicants than seats available. (Laura Zingmond, April 2015)
At a glance
Number of Students 515
Average Daily Attendance 93%
Metal detectors? No
INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.50 2.40 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Safety & vibe
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average english class23 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?
How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?76% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?100% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?
How many students say they feel safe in hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?93% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?100% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How Many Students are Chronically Absent?19% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Class of 2014
How many students passed a Regents exam for algebra 2, physics or chemistry?28%
Is the guidance counseling helpful?
How many students say that this school provides helpful counseling on college or job-seeking?92% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Special ed & ELL
Programs and Admissions
School admission priorities:
- Priority to New York City residents who attend an information session
- Priority to New York City residents
Academy for Careers in Television and Film
AP COURSES: Calculus, English, Environmental Science, Psychology, United States History
EXTRACURRICULAR: Academic Tutoring, City Harvest, Creative Writing, Drama, Gay/Straight Alliance, Movie Screenings, Next Step Pictures, Prom Committee, Step Team, Yearbook, Cosplay, Woodshop
BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Soccer
GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Flag Football, Softball, Volleyball
Other schools sports: Soccer Club, Fitness Center