New Voices School of Academic & Creative Arts

An Insideschools pick
An Insideschools pick for Special Education
330 18 STREET
BROOKLYN NY 11215 Map
Phone: (718) 965-0390
Website: Click here
Admissions: District 15
Principal: Frank Giordano
Neighborhood: Sunset Park
District: 15
Grade range: 6-8
Parent Coordinator: NYRMA PARRA
Unzoned

What's special:

Strong arts, dedicated staff and welcoming environment

The downside:

Small, cramped facilities with no gym

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Harmonies from the musical Grease greet visitors walking the halls New Voices School of Academic and Creative Arts. Up a flight of stairs, a student's artwork depicting a teen contemplating her body image in a mirror is part of a makeshift gallery. A ten-minute uphill walk through the residential Sunset Park neighborhood, New Voices is a simple route from the Prospect Avenue stop on the R train.

The school demographics have changed along with the neighborhood in recent years, and it now serves more middle class children than it once did. As a result, it lost its federal Title 1 funding, federal funds for high poverty schools. Nonetheless, it has maintained a racially diverse student body and, despite budget cuts, the school has maintained its dance partnerships. As part of "Dance off to College," graduate students from New York University's dance education program work with children; a visiting artist from the Paul Taylor Dance Company at Lincoln Center work with children and invites them to performances.

Sixth graders are introduced to chorus, visual arts, theater, instrumental music, graphic arts, and dance, then specialize in one studio for the 7th and 8th grade year. The yearly musical theater production is the highlight of the year. From calling production cues to applying makeup to the actors' faces, each child has some part to play.

The strong arts program complements academic instruction. For example, in addition to writing research papers, 6th-grade students created models of ancient Egyptian artifacts such as a pharaoh's bust after a field trip to the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Principal Frank Giordano and his two assistant principals, Angela Lopez and Laurie Cianciotta, have teachers introduce basic concepts, then progressively allow students more freedom to control the direction of learning. For example, humanities instructors teach the basic tenants of the Fourth Amendment, then task students with leading discussions on privacy and mass surveillance. Graphic design teacher Jay Jay says he allows students to struggle through Adobe Illustrator assignments before intervening with detailed instructions.

The science program has grown the most in recent years, according to Giordano. Students begin 6th grade dissecting earthworms, then move to more complex animals such as rats. Older students study the genetic composition of two generations of fruit flies. There is now a Regents science course, and some take the algebra Regents exam in the 8th grade. No foreign language is offered in 6th or 7th grade; 8th grade students take Latin.

Giordano, who has been principal since 2004, has an easy way with the kids. He greets them by name and exchanges jokes with them. Unlike many administrators, he stays connected to the classroom: he teaches a 7th grade life science course each year.

New Voices shares the century-old building with PS 295. Narrow hallways swell with students during class changes and random sprouts of exposed insulation lace radiators. There is no gym, and kids have physical education in a corner of the cafeteria.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers team-teaching in every class two Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) classes per grade level of the three total classes per grade. Students are seamlessly integrated to the classroom. As a parent of two children with developmental disabilities, Giordano is sensitive to children with special needs. He says he wants to create a school in which low test scores do not preclude a promising student from having access to the arts. His methods have been met with success; New Voices was ranked as "Excellent" in 2015-16 school quality reports for helping students with special needs improve on their state English and Math Tests.

AFTER SCHOOL: Students participate in after-school baseball, soccer, and running club. Other students join MS 88's girls and boys basketball teams.

HIGH SCHOOL ADMISSIONS: New Voices students attend arts and technical arts high schools such as Edward R. Murrow's technical theater program. The largest proportion of students attend Fort Hamilton High School.

ADMISSIONS: District 15. Admissions are determined by a Saturday audition and classroom observation with a teacher in the student's preferred specialization. (Seaira Christian-Daniels March 2017).

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the building with PS 295

Number of Students 541

Average Daily Attendance 95%

Uniforms? NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
6%

Black

  
13%

Hispanic

  
36%

White

  
45%

Free Lunch

  
33%

Special ed

  
22%

English Language Learners

  
1%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: NA 2.59 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?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE KIDS NICE?

How many students complain about bullying?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

75% 49% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

93% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

NA 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students are chronically absent?

12% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

66% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

78% hi 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS Prep

How many 8th graders pass high school regents exams?

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

32% 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

16% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How do graduates do in 9th grade?

Percent who pass all their classes freshman year:

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 3% 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:

12% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

15% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

19% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

36% 9% 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% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

40% 18% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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