Professional Performing Arts High School

An Insideschools pick
328 WEST 48 STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10036 Map
Phone: (212) 247-8652
Website: Click here
Admissions: Audition
Principal: KEITH RYAN
Neighborhood: West Midtown
District:2
Grade range: 6-12
Parent Coordinator: TERESA ALSCHULER GINDI
Performing Arts

Buses: M10, M104, M11, M20, M31, M34A-SBS, M42, M5, M50, M57, M7

What's special:

First rate instruction in drama, dance and voice

The downside:

Some seniors have very light academic load

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

The Professional Performing Arts School was founded in 1990 as a way to give aspiring actors, dancers, and singers the technical skills they need to become professional performers and the academic skills they need in whatever career they choose. Students receive first-rate training from professional studios and companies, including the Ailey School for dance, Rosie’s Theater Kids for musical theater, the National Chorale for voice and Waterwell for drama.

Recent graduates include singer Alicia Keys, Lee Thompson Young (star of the television series "The Famous Jett Jackson") and Jesse Eisenberg (star of “The Social Network”). Graduates also include Victor Rasuk (HBO's "How to Make It"), Justin Davis (HBO's "Boardwalk Empire) and Sarah Hyland ("Modern Family").

It's a small school where, it seems, no one gets lost. Principal Keith Ryan knows every child by name and is a visible presence in the halls and classrooms. “All the kids like him a lot,” one mother said. The school keeps tabs on students to make sure they do their homework and don’t skip school. Students are chosen according to their artistic talent, not their academic record, and there is a wide range of academic abilities in each class. Teachers do their best to ensure all children get the help and challenge they need.

Serving 500 children in grades 6 to 12, PPAS has a tiny middle school, with just 75 kids, 25 each in grades 6, 7 and 8. All middle school students study drama, singing, and dancing in addition to taking a full academic load.

High school students have academic classes from 8:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., followed by two hours of their major: drama, vocal, dance or musical theater (which combines acting, dancing and singing). Acting and vocal are offered in the building, dancers travel to the Ailey School on West 55th Street, and musical theater majors go to Rosie’s Theater Kids a few blocks away. The school contracts with Waterwell, a professional theater company that produce original plays, to teach PPAS students acting. Some students study at the School of American Ballet or Julliard’s Pre-Collegiate program in classical instrumental or vocal music.

PPAS shares a building with a successful elementary school, Midtown West. The 100-year-old building is clean and the rooms are airy, with a new library, a renovated auditorium and a black box theater. The science labs are also new and brightly lit. There are no bells and bathrooms are open. Students in grades 8-12 may leave the building for lunch. The atmosphere is joyful if occasionally boisterous; class changes are noisy.

While the academics are solid, class size has grown in recent years. In the high school, most classes have 34 students. High school seniors often have a light academic load, partly because the school has limited upper-level offerings and partly because some seniors prefer to have free time once they have finished the minimum requirements for graduation. Some seniors only take history and English as academic courses. The school offers Advanced Placement classes in biology and literature. A few advanced students take college courses at Hunter, John Jay and New York University. Students we spoke to said they had one to two hours of homework a night.

About five percent of the students are already working in film, televi­sion or theater productions, both on and off Broadway. The school makes accommodations for them with a flexible schedule to ensure they keep up with their school work. The school is more than 70 percent female.

Special education: The school has two special education teachers. Only 25 students have IEPs, but nearly 100 take advantage of tutoring and extra help offered by community volunteers, peer tutors and the special education teachers.

College admissions: About 75 percent of graduates continue their studies in the performing arts either in 4-year colleges or conservatory programs such as Julliard or Berklee College of Music. Top students have been admitted to colleges such as Columbia, New York University, Oberlin, Carnegie-Mellon, Cornell and Northwestern.

Admissions: There are regular tours for prospective parents; there is an evening "showcase" and information session in October. Call the parent coordinator for details. Auditions are scheduled in November and December. (Clara Hemphill, October 2011)

Middle InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the former IS 17 building

Number of Students 512

Average Daily Attendance 93%

Uniforms? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
5%

Black

  
24%

Hispanic

  
21%

White

  
47%

Free Lunch

  
33%

Special ed

  
7%

English Language Learners

  
0%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.66 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?

54% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

55% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE KIDS NICE?

How many students complain about bullying?

52% 71% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

74% 56% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

86% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

86% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

100% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

31 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students are chronically absent?

16% 25% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

51% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

85% 25% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 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:

94% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

75% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How do graduates do in 9th grade?

Percent who pass all their classes freshman year:

95% 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:

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 4% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 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:

NA 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the former IS 17 building

Number of Students 512

Average Daily Attendance 93%

Uniforms? No

Metal detectors? No

Students at this school

Asian

  
5%

Black

  
24%

Hispanic

  
21%

White

  
47%

Free Lunch

  
33%

Special ed

  
7%

English Language Learners

  
0%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 3.30 2.80 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


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

Middle school students reading at grade level:

84% 25% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Middle school students doing math at grade level:

52% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Safety & vibe

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

34 24 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

54% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

86% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

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

90% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

86% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

16% 34% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2013

How many 2009 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

96% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2007 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

95% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Previous Years

How many 2008 freshmen graduated within 4 years?

93% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

2% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2006 freshmen graduated within 6 years?

100% 73% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 2008 freshmen dropped out within 4 years?

0% 12% 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?

14%

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

25%

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

20%

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?

50% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

505
414 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 496 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

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

76%

SAT math scores

487
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?

71% 75% 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?

100% 44% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 53% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

91% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

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

38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Programs and Admissions

School admission priorities:

  1. Priority to continuing 8th graders
  2. Then to New York City residents

Source: High school directory

Musical Theatre

Audition

In partnership with Rosie’s Theater Kids, students receive conservatory style training in vocal music, dance and acting. Classes include: Theater and Tap Dance, Song Preparation, Private and Group Vocal Technique, Music Theory, Acting Technique, and Rehearsal & Performance Studio.

Dance

Audition

In partnership with The Ailey School, students follow a course of study with a foundation in ballet and classes in Horton technique, modern (Graham-based), jazz and West African dance.

Vocal Music

Audition

Vocal Music students attend conservatory classes in vocal technique, ensemble singing, sight reading, musicianship, and ear training. Students also study vocal repertory and performance technique, movement for singers, and music history.

Drama

Audition

Students take classes in acting technique, scene study, voice and diction, movement, theatre history, audition preparation, script analysis and directing.

Academics

AP COURCES: Biology, English Literature and Composition

Online: N/A

Language classes: Spanish

Source: High school directory

Sports/Clubs

EXTRACURRICULAR: School Newpaper, AIDS Walk, Assembly Committee, Audition Coaching, Black Box Theatre Productions, Chess, College Tutoring, Community Service, Drama, Film/TV Club, Full-scale Musical Production, Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA), Learning Center Activities, Peer Mentoring, Peer Tutoring, Photography, SAT Preparation, Science Lab Internships, Social Action Committee, Student Council

BOYS PSAL SPORTS: N/A

GIRLS PSAL SPORTS: N/A

Other schools sports: N/A

Source: High school directory

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