The Cinema School

BRONX NY 10472 Map
Phone: (718) 620-2560
Website: Click here
Admissions: Selective
specialized arts
Principal: Keisha Warner
Neighborhood: South Bronx
District: 12
Grade range: 09 thru 12
Parent coordinator: ILLONA PAULINO

What's special:

A focus on all aspects of filmmaking, small classes

The downside:

Some parents are concerned about neighborhood

The InsideStats


Our review

The Cinema School is a promising new high school in the Bronx for bright students who want to explore their creative vision through film. The school’s lead partner is the Ghetto Film School, a non-profit organization, which provides film and production education, industry internships, and a guest lecture series.

The four-year Cinema Studies curriculum includes filmmaking 101, music videos with storytelling, and screen writing, culminating in a senior thesis project. In a tenth grade film class we visited, students made their own short silent films after watching Charlie Chaplin's The Kid. During a six-week period in the winter, students work exclusively on film projects: 9th-graders work on animation and 10th-graders make music videos. 

The theme of cinema is woven into academic classes as much as possible. In a humanities class, for example, students reframed a movie plot into a haiku and created story boards to identify plot elements in the novel Lord of the Flies.

Classes, with about 23 students, are smaller than typical for the city’s schools. In many classes we visited, students seemed motivated and engaged. One girl told us she typically does three hours of homework a night. However, there was some fidgeting in at least one class we visited.

Students with an average below 75 are placed on academic probation and must attend Saturday school six months prior to the Regents exam. They also receive extra math and reading help in pull-out classes. Advisors meet with all students twice daily to check in on progress. Students are grouped by ability for Earth science and math. Bobbish plans to offer advanced placement classes starting in 2011.

[Assistant Principal Keisha Warner replaced founding principal Rex Bobbish in 2013.]

The school shares a new building at the James Monroe High School campus with a middle school, Mott Hall V. Some parents have expressed concern about the neighborhood around Monroe, but former Principal Bobbish said it’s “much safer than it used to be.” Safety officers and school administrators maintain a “safe passage corridor” to ensure that students get to and from the subway safely, he said.

Special education: The school offers SETSS. There is one special education teacher.

Admissions: The school gives preference to students with an 85 average and standardized tests scores of Level 3 or above. About one-third do not meet those standards. The school admits mid-year transfers. (Lydie Raschka, October 2010, updated 2013)

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