School of Performing Arts

BRONX NY 10459 Map
Phone: (718) 589-4844
Admissions: neighborhood
Wheelchair accessible
Principal: Maiysha Etienne
Neighborhood: South Bronx
District: 12
Grade range: 06 thru 08
Parent coordinator: ABES DURMO

What's special:

Some staff are very dedicated

The downside:

Concerns about order and discipline

The InsideStats


Our review

Many students arrive at IS 217 with low skills but staffers work hard to give them a fair chance. Programs include a reward system for behavior and attendance, a partnership with Creative School Services to boost literacy, and acting classes provided by the Stella Adler Studio. 

The school is in a high poverty area and teachers face many challenges, according to posts written by former IS 217 teacher Laura Klein for WNYC's SchoolBook website: “Most of them are out for at least one day a week, and it’s not uncommon for them to disappear for a week or a month at a time. They miss class for a variety of reasons - health - their own or their families, or a lack of supervision at home... Sometimes they will miss a month or two to travel out of the country to visit family. And, at least one time a year, one or two students will stop coming to school because they ‘fear for their safety.’”

Most of the children are behind in reading and other skills, she wrote, and class size is large. Former principal Seth Litt provided stable leadership for a few years but left his position in 2012 to found ROADS Charter High School 2, a school for struggling older students. Maiysha Etienne took the helm, and, while it is too soon to say how she will fare in the long run, during her first year most teachers complained of problems with order and discipline, according to the Learning Environment Survey. Children must pass through metal detectors to enter the building.

IS 217 has several bilingual classes for the many Spanish-speaking students, and hosts workshops for parents on a variety of topics. Children with special needs learn in team-taught classes with their general education peers. In her blog, Klein praised the work of the school’s dedicated paraprofessionals who work side-by-side with children who have special needs. IS 217 is one of two mid-sized schools created when IS 116, a big, struggling middle school closed in September 2002. One of the smaller schools (IS 216) was phased out due to poor performance eight years later.

The building now houses Entrada Academy and South Bronx Classical Charter School. The charter requires children to wear uniforms and offers longer hours and extra days in the school year.

Admissions: Neighborhood school. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, October 2013)


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