Stephen T. Mather Building Arts & Craftsmanship High School

439 WEST 49TH STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10019 Map
Phone: (212) 399-3520
Website: Click here
Admissions: Limited unscreened; Manhattan priority
Principal: Larry Gabbard
Neighborhood: Hell's Kitchen
District: 2
Grade range: 9-12
Architecture
New School
Vocational

Buses: BxM2, M10, M104, M11, M12, M20, M31, M34A-SBS, M42, M50, M57, M7, X1, X12, X14, X17J, X21, X22, X22A, X30, X31, X42, X7, X9

What's special:

Supportive environment where students learn career skills such as masonry, carpentry and building preservation

The downside:

Shared building has metal detectors

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Stephen T. Mather Building Arts & Craftsmanship High School (Mather) is a great fit for students who like hands-on learning and want to keep college options open. A CTE (career and technical educational) school, Mather opened in 2013 with the goal of preparing students for careers in fields like historic preservation, landscape management, archaeology, masonry and carpentry. The school was named after Stephen Tyng Mather, the first director of the NPS (National Parks Service) which partners with Mather.

Mather has a welcoming and orderly environment where teachers and students work closely together. Students told us that they liked the close-knit environment and felt very supported by staff. "We have the best teachers in this school," one student said.

Principal Larry Gabbard was an English teacher and assistant principal at the Eagle Academy for Young Men in the Bronx and an assistant principal at Pace High School in downtown Manhattan before he founded Mather. Gabbard has a background in business which influences his approach to leadership and teambuilding. He wants all staff to work together, solve problems for themselves and wear many different hats, he said.

Students take classes in historic preservation, landscape management, interior design and architectural drawing. NPS has a full-time staff member in the school who assists teachers in developing curriculum. Other NPS employees also work in the school, for example, teaching a six-week unit in professional decorative plastering. Gabbard says the trades are a great way to learn transferable skills such as perseverance and problem solving. "We are not a vocational school," said Gabbard, "we just elevate career readiness." Not all students at the school aspire to work in the trades, some said they wanted to be architects, zoologists or run their own business.

The academic curriculum is developed by teachers at the school and incorporates content relevant to the trades. In math, students start by taking algebra and geometry. Those who are college-bound may continue with algebra 2 and pre-calculus, while those on a career path may take math for the trades and do internships. Similarly in science, students take living environment and earth science and then may choose to take chemistry for the trades where they learn about things like mixing mortar and paint color.

Mather uses the formulaic Hochman method to teach students how to write. On our visit, a 10th-grade ELA (English language arts) class was reading an article from The Atlantic about rap lyrics and a facebook post being used as legal evidence for gang association. A freshman class drew parallels between Romeo and Juliet and teenagers today.

Mather is strict on attendance and lateness. Students who miss school attend compulsory classes on Saturdays. There is a school-wide points system for tracking attendance and good behavior. Students can use their points for rewards such as pizza nights or a trip to Six Flags. These points also count for 30 percent of grades. Students we spoke to said the system was motivating; it "allows you to fix your mistakes and be responsible," one said.

Mather offers plenty of opportunities for students to get academic or social and emotional support. There is peer tutoring, after-school tutoring and twice a week students have an "ER" (enrichment and reading) period where they receive homework help and read independently. Students attend "Packvisory" four days a week for 40 minutes. "Packs" are groups of 10 students from the same grade, who stay together for all four years. The school has two social workers and a guidance counselor. Restorative justice is used to manage discipline issues, and a core group of students are trained as peer mediators.

After its first year, Mather moved from the basement of the Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers to the Graphic Communication Arts building in Midtown. The school has a computer lab and two large CTE labs, one for carpentry and the other for masonry. There are shared science labs, a new library, weight room, refurbished gym and a large cafeteria. Students can play in the schoolyard during lunchtime. Clubs include art, virtual building, music, performing arts and anime. Students can join campus sports teams.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: About one-third of students at the school have IEPs (individualized education programs). More than half of Mather classes are team-taught.

ADMISSIONS: Limited unscreened. There is priority for Manhattan residents but students come from all five boroughs. There are more boys than girls, but the school hopes this will change once different parts of the CTE curriculum are introduced. (Ella Colley, May 2015)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the Graphics Educational Campus with three other schools

Number of Students 282

Average Daily Attendance 87%

Uniforms? Yes

Metal detectors? Yes

Students at this school

Asian

  
3%

Black

  
27%

Hispanic

  
63%

White

  
6%

Free Lunch

  
76%

Special ed

  
29%

English Language Learners

  
7%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.29 2.39 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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

77% 74% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

97% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

89% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

44% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2015

How many students graduated within 4 years?

NA 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

NA 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

NA 9% 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?

NA

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

NA

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

NA

Are students ready for college?

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

NA 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

NA
424 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 495 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

NA
432 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 511 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

Is the guidance counseling helpful?

How many students say that this school provides helpful counseling on college or job-seeking?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

NA 48% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

NA 57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

48% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

56% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

Building Arts & Historic Preservation

Limited Unscreened

Academics

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: Student Government, Yearbook, Naval JROTC, National Honor Society, Peer Mediation, Tutoring/Peer Tutoring, Love is Love Gay/Straight Alliance, Performing Arts Club, Visual Arts Club, Dance Club, Anime Club, Board Games Club, Travel Opportunities (Spain Trip)

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Handball, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: Basketball, Flag Football, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball

Other schools sports: Annual Student vs. Staff Basketball Game, 3 on 3 Student Basketball Tournament, Intramural Soccer, Flag Football, Weightlifting, Aerobic Training

Source: High school directory 2015-2016

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