Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts

An Insideschools pick
100 AMSTERDAM AVENUE
MANHATTAN NY 10023 Map
Phone: (212) 496-0700
Website: Click here
Admissions: audition
Principal: Lisa Mars
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
District:3
Grade range: 9-12
Performing Arts
Visual Art & Design
Wheelchair Accessible
Screened

Buses: M10, M104, M11, M20, M31, M5, M57, M66, M7, M72

What's special:

A haven for artists with a nice racial mix

The downside:

The days are packed

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Talented kids travel from distant corners of the city to study at the star-studded Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts. One of the most diverse and sought-after schools in the city, LaGuardia educates children of movie stars along with children poor enough to qualify for free lunch.

Students take a regular academic course load as well as two to three hours a day of their chosen art speciality: drama, dance, vocal music, instrumental music, studio art, or technical theater (which includes lighting, costume and set design). There are tons of performances ranging from opera to musical theater and a wide range of sports teams. The days are packed: Classes typically run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. With up to three hours of homework a night and rehearsals after school and even during school vacations, sleep deprivation is a common complaint.

The academics are traditional and the quality of teachers ranges from excellent to should-have-retired-long-ago. Students are assigned to "honors" or regular classes depending on their level of achievement. Some classes are lively, with lots of discussion among the teachers and students, while others are more by-the-book. Parents say the math, English and social studies departments are strong, while science is somewhat weaker. The school offers a wide range of Advanced Placement courses and offers Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese as foreign languages. Some parents complain that writing assignments in English and history tend to be short journal entries or responses to readings, rather than long research papers.

The eight-story building opened in 1984 with the merger of two older schools, the High School of Music and Art and the High School of Performing Arts (made famous by the movie "Fame.") The size of the school can be overwhelming for some kids, particularly in their first semester as they are getting used to their routines. And, however conscientious the teachers may be, it's hard to get a lot of individual attention in a class of 34 students. More than one quarter of kids complained in the Learning Environment survey that teachers didn’t know their names.

Still, most kids are happy to be here. There is a spirited energy to the building that comes from being around students who are passionate about their work. On one of our visits, we heard an 80-member choir sing a beautiful gospel number in 4-part-harmony, listened to kids record music they wrote themselves in the school's recording studio, and watched while students made costumes on sewing machines in the basement. Art majors developed photos in a photography dark room.

[In 2013 long-time principal Kim Bruno announced that she was leaving LaGuardia for a job as the principal of the Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts in Los Angeles, California. Lisa Mars, former Assistant Principal of Language, Art and Music at Townsend Harris High School is interim acting principal.]

The school has attracted some celebrity children in recent years, including the offspring of Madonna, Robert De Niro and Suzanna Vega. It has a nice mix of white, black, Latino and Asian students as well as kids from all five boroughs—even the southernmost tip of Staten Island. Nearly 30 percent of students qualify for free lunch. The student body is more than 70 percent female and has many openly gay and lesbian students.

College admissions: Most students go on either to 4-year liberal arts colleges or to conservatories including Julliard, the Manhattan School of Music, Berkelee School of Music, Rhode Island School of Design, and School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Recent graduates attend Ivy League colleges including Harvard, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, or other highly competitive schools such as Vassar College, Northwestern, and the University of Chicago. Many students go on to CUNY and SUNY schools. Dancers sometimes choose to go straight into professional performing, postponing college until their prime dancing years are over.

Special education: Fewer than one percent of students have Individual Education Plans (IEPs). The school has very limited special education services.

Admissions: Auditions are held from November through December and are highly competitive. In addition to talent, students must have good attendance, strong academics, with at least an 80 in each of their core academic courses and a Level 2 or higher on standardized ELA and math tests. Most admitted students score a 3 or 4 on state tests.

LaGuardia refused our repeated requests to visit. This report is based on interviews, a review of data, news reports and several prior visits to the school, most recently in 2007.(Clara Hemphill, updated November 2011)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 2730

Average Daily Attendance 95%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
19%

Black

  
12%

Hispanic

  
19%

White

  
46%

Free Lunch

  
32%

Special ed

  
2%

English Language Learners

  
0%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.70 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

30 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

53% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

60% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

92% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

86% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

9% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many 2009 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

98% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2007 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

98% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many 2008 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

100% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen earned an advanced regents diploma within 4 years?

73% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2006 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

99% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen 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?

55%

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

6%

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

87%

Are students ready for college?

How many 2009 freshmen graduated in four years with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?

88% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

572
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2009 freshmen graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

96%

SAT math scores

580
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?

70% 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students starting school in 2008 graduated within 4 years?

88% 45% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students starting school in 2006 graduated within 6 years?

83% 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?

91% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners starting school in 2008 graduated within 4 years?

40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners starting school in 2006 graduated within 6 years?

58% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Open to New York City residents
  2. Admission is based on the outcome of a competitive audition and review of the student’s record
  3. Students must audition for each program (studio) to which they are applying
  4. Students must be residents of New York City at the time of audition

Source: High school directory

Technical Theatre

Audition

Practical theatre training in lighting, scenic carpentry, costume construction, drafting, electronics, sound technology and stage management.

Selection Criteria

  • English (80-100) , Math (80-100) , Science (80-100) , Social Studies (80-100)
  • Math Levels: 2-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: 2-4

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

Instrumental Music

Audition

Participation in 2 symphony orchestras, 4 string ensembles, 3 concert bands, and 2 jazz bands; required courses in music theory, music history, sight singing and dictation; electives in chamber music, conducting, orchestration, electronic music and piano.

Selection Criteria

  • English (80-100) , Math (80-100) , Science (80-100) , Social Studies (80-100)
  • Math Levels: 2-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: 2-4

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

Dance

Audition

A challenging conservatory approach in ballet and modern dance. Supplementary courses include: dance history, choreography, theatre dance (tap and jazz), career management and survival skills.

Selection Criteria

  • English (80-100) , Math (80-100) , Science (80-100) , Social Studies (80-100)
  • Math Levels: 2-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: 2-4

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

Fine Art

Audition

Art history, drawing, painting, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, 3-D design, mixed media, anatomy, architecture, digital media, illustration, interior design, photography and sculpture.

Selection Criteria

  • English (80-100) , Math (80-100) , Science (80-100) , Social Studies (80-100)
  • Math Levels: 2-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: 2-4

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

Drama

Audition

Theatre preparation through courses in acting, voice and diction, physical techniques, theatre history and script analysis.

Selection Criteria

  • English (80-100) , Math (80-100) , Science (80-100) , Social Studies (80-100)
  • Math Levels: 2-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: 2-4

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

Vocal Music

Audition

A conservatory approach in classical music including training in Italian, German, and French song, choral ensemble singing, music history, piano, theory and ear training. Electives include: opera, musical theatre, gospel, song writing, and composition.

Selection Criteria

  • English (80-100) , Math (80-100) , Science (80-100) , Social Studies (80-100)
  • Math Levels: 2-4 ; English Language Arts Levels: 2-4

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

Academics

AP COURCES: Art History, Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, Environmental Science, French Language, Italian Language and Culture, Japanese Language and Culture, Music Theory, Spanish Language, Statistics, United States History, World History

Online: N/A

Language classes: French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Amnesty International, Anime, Annual Musical, Arista, Art Exhibits, ASPIRA, Black Student Union, Chinese Student Association, Claymazing, Comic Book, Cult Classics, Dance Programs, DaVinci Scholars Program, Debate Team, Disney VoluntEars, Drama Festivals, Environmental Club, Fashion Club, Film Club, Future Voters of America, Gay/Straight Alliance, Girls Learn International, Habitat for Humanity, Harry Potter Club, Independent Film, Jewish Union, Korean/Christian Fellowship, Literary Magazine, Math Team, Mock Trial, Moot Court, Murals Club, National Honor Society, National Language Honors Society, Newspaper, Orchestral and Vocal Concerts, Random Acts of Kindness, Red Cross, Relay For Life, School Leadership Team (SLT), Science Outreach League, Shamisen, Social Action, Splashes of Hope, Student Government Organization, Ukulele For Good, Yearbook

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Fencing, Gymnastics, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Gymnastics, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Volleyball

Other schools sports: N/A

Source: High school directory

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