Academy for Careers In Television and Film

An Insideschools pick
1-50 51ST AVENUE
QUEENS NY 11101 Map
Phone: (718) 609-3330
Website: Click here
Admissions: Citywide
Principal: Edgar Rodriguez
Neighborhood: Long Island City
District: 30
Grade range: 9-12
Parent Coordinator: Nilsa Arboleda
Film/Video
Wheelchair Accessible
Vocational
Citywide

Buses: B32, B43, B62, Q103

What's special:

Professional-level training in film production and lots of support for students

The downside:

Few extra-curricular activities outside of film production and sports

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

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 Hudson 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)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares a building with Hunter's Point Community Middle School

Number of Students 515

Average Daily Attendance 93%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
6%

Black

  
16%

Hispanic

  
54%

White

  
21%

Free Lunch

  
67%

Special ed

  
18%

English Language Learners

  
3%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.50 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

23 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?

96% 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?

100% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

19% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2014

How many students graduated within 4 years?

96% 73% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

97% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many students graduated within 4 years?

97% 65% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

10% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

NA 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

1% 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?

20%

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

32%

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

28%

Are students ready for college?

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

43% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

431
418 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 497 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

85% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

431
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?

92% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

92% 47% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

NA 54% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

98% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 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. Priority to New York City residents who attend an information session
  2. Then to New York City residents

Source: High school directory 2014-2015

Academy for Careers in Television and Film

Limited Unscreened

Academics

AP COURSES: Calculus AB, English Literature and Composition, Psychology, United States History

Source: High school directory 2014-2015

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Academic Tutoring, City Harvest, Creative Writing, Drama, Gay/Straight Alliance, Movie Screenings, Next Step Pictures, Prom Committee, Screenwriting, Step Team, Yearbook

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Softball, Volleyball

Other schools sports: Club Baseball, Club Soccer, Fitness Center

Source: High school directory 2014-2015

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