Professional Performing Arts High School (PPAS)

Grades 6-12
Staff Pick

Location

328 West 48 Street
Manhattan NY 10036
Hell's Kitchen (District 2)
Trains: 1, C, E to 50th St ; 2, 3, 7, S to Times Square-42nd St ; A to 42nd St-Port Authority Bus Terminal ; B, D to 7th Ave ; F, M to 47-50th Sts Rockefeller Center ; N, Q, R to 49th St
Buses: BxM2, QM16, QM2, QM24, QM6, X1, X12, X14, X21, X30

Contact

What’s Special

First rate instruction in drama, dance and voice

The Downside

Some seniors have very light academic load

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, Rosies 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 dont 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 Rosies 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 Julliards 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, televi_sion 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)

About the students

Enrollment
544
Asian
6.4%
Black
19.3%
Hispanic
19.9%
White
41.0%
Other
13.4%
Free or reduced priced lunch
28%
Students with disabilities
14%
English language learners
0%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with PS 212
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
100%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
94%
90% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
15%
27% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
69%
74% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
7%
22% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
94%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
69%
48% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
11.0
5.8 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
94%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
100%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
100%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
88%
70% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
98%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
100%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
100%
83% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Test scores

How many students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
85%
30% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
87%
35% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 5 dedicated spaces for Dance, Music, Theater, and an Auditorium
This school has 1 licensed arts teacher in Visual arts

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
66%
68% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
46%
52% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
89%
68% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Spanish, Algebra I, Earth Science
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
91%
38% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
100%
87% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Professional Performing Arts HS and Fiorello H. LaGuardia HS of Music & Art and Performing Arts
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
97%
83% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
14%
13% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
0%
4% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
54%
38% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
98%
48% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
66%
71% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
0%
7% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
54%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
90%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
100%
89% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
94%
87% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
100%
67% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Musical Theatre
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Students receive pre-conservatory training in vocal music, dance and acting. All first and second year students participate in an annual musical theater concert. All third and fourth year students perform in an end-of-year main-stage musical production.

Drama
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Built around the core values: excellence, engagement and empathy. Students take two hours of conservatory-style class daily in acting, movement/devising, voice & speech and theater studies. Each grade also participates in supplementary performance projects including classics, new play commissions and student-created work. Goal is to develop exemplary artists who are equally engaged citizens.

Classical Vocal Music
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Classical Vocal Music students attend conservatory classes in vocal technique, sight reading, musicianship, ear training and ensemble singing. Students study an extensive vocal repertory, music history, theory, performance technique and movement for singers. Students participate in ensemble and solo performances throughout the year.

Dance
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

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.

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Biology, AP English, AP US History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Handball, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Flag Football, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on the NYCDOE’s School Finder
NYC Department of Education: School Finder

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