Renaissance School of the Arts

319 EAST 117 STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10035 Map
Phone: (212) 534-6072
Website: Click here
Admissions: Priority given to District 4.
Principal: TAMMY PATE
Neighborhood: East Harlem
District: 4
Grade range: 06 thru 08
Parent Coordinator: CHRISTOPHER WILSON

What's special:

Arts enrichment for all students; free set of school supplies for each student.

The downside:

Low overall academic achievement.

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Opened in 2008, Renaissance School of the Arts is a small middle school that delivers on its name offering students arts enrichment in all grades. Teachers and staff put a lot of effort into supporting the students, many of whom have special needs and struggle with personal circumstances outside of school.

Founding principal Tammy Pate-Spears believes in the transformative power of arts education. A graduate of LaGuardia High School and a former professional actress and singer, Pate-Spears toured Europe for several years with a musical theater company based in Germany. "Being exposed to the arts early on changed my life," said Spears, who left theater to become an English teacher.

In 6th grade, students rotate through classes in visual arts, dance, vocal instruction and instrumental music. Students in 7th and 8th grade choose one area to major in. There's an annual school musical and a chorus. The Lincoln Center Institute sponsors professional performances at the school; children learn to play the keyboard through a program with Music and the Brain. Teachers also do a nice job of integrating arts into academic lessons. When we visited, the hallways were lined with dioramas depicting Native American homes.

Many students struggle with academics. Teachers push their students to write a lot as well as think and work creatively. We saw lots of examples of student writing in classrooms and on bulletin boards. Students are taught Cornell Notes, a structured note-taking method. Teachers check binders and journals to make sure children are jotting down enough during class. In classrooms nothing is left to chance: tasks, standards, instructions and codes of conduct are displayed in detail on posters, bulletin boards, post-it notes and even on small whiteboards hanging outside the entrance to every room, where teachers write the agenda for the day. At the start of the school year, each student is given, free of charge, a full set of school supplies.

In classrooms, kids were calm and mostly engaged. Some were tired because of medication, according to a teacher. "It's tough for some kids, medication makes it hard for them to pay attention," he said. Teachers find ways to keep children on task. Students earn "spirit dollars" for achievement and good behavior that they redeem for rewards and special privileges. Every day before lunch, all students attend Target Ten: ten minutes of small group instruction that gives struggling learners extra help with skills and stronger students some enrichment.

Despite the staff's effort and care, the school struggles to make gains in achievement. Test scores remain stubbornly low.

Renaissance Arts occupies the fourth floor of a 1920's era building in East Harlem that was the former home of JHS 99. The school shares the building with the Academy for Environmental Science Secondary High School, Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation, and Manhattan East School for Arts and Academics. All schools share use of the auditorium, cafeteria, library and renovated outdoor track and yard. Renaissance Arts shares the fifth floor gymnasium with Manhattan East. Each school has its own lunch and recess times.

One downside to the school's facilities is the piercing change-of-class bell that's in desperate need of recalibration. Pate-Spears said she's working to have it fixed. [The bell has been fixed, the principal reports, in February 2012!]

Students must wear the school polo shirt, color-coded by grade. Spanish is the only foreign language taught.

Special education: A significant number of students have special needs. There are self-contained classes of 12 children and classes that follow the ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) model.

Afterschool: The Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center runs activities such as dance, step and academic help every afternoon until 6 p.m. at the school. The Beacon Program sponsors afterschool activities that are open to students from all schools in the building as well as to community members. Achieve Now is a program that offers academic support for students who are over-age and under-credited for their grade.

Admissions: Priority to students in District 4. (Laura Zingmond, November, 2011.)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the PS 155 building

Number of Students 160

Average Daily Attendance 90%

Uniforms? Yes

Students at this school

Asian

  
2%

Black

  
44%

Hispanic

  
54%

White

  
0%

Free Lunch

  
86%

Special ed

  
38%

English Language Learners

  
4%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.56 2.80 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


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

Safety & vibe

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

82% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students say this school offers enough programs to keep them interested?

90% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE KIDS NICE?

How many students complain about bullying?

79% 71% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students say students at their school respect one another?

62% 56% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

75% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

94% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

88% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

22 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students are chronically absent?

35% 25% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam

4% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ela exam

7% 25% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 science exam

35% 51% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS Prep

How many 8th graders pass high school regents exams?

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

0% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How do graduates do in 9th grade?

Percent who pass all their classes freshman year:

75% 84% 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 2013 math exam:

0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

0% 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:

0% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

0% 4% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:

0% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

0% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

NA 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

14% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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