Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing & Visual Arts

Grades 6-12
Marquee homepage

What’s Special

School nurtures arts-minded students

The Downside

Low test scores

Our Review

August 2015 update: At the end of the 2014-2015 school year, Wadleigh discontinued the school's drama program. The school principalTyee Chin left at this time to become principal of Flushing High School. He was replaced by Daisy Fontanez, who previously worked for the Children's First Network 108.

December 2012 review:As its name implies, Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts is a combination middle and high school where students may study dance, drama, music, painting, photography and ceramics. Wadleigh also offers culinary training in its commercial-quality kitchen, as well as all core academic courses required for a high school diploma.

Principal Tyee Chin took over in February 2012 from Herma Hall, an interim principal who was the latest in a string of Wadleigh administrators to come and go. Jamaica-born Chin quickly earned praise from teachers, but he faces a number of challenges if Wadleigh is to achieve the academic success most principals strive for. Student test scores are far lower than they ought to be, and its tiny middle school has long been threatened with closure. (Chin would like to enlarge the middle school, but Department of Education officials want to see progress first, he said.)

Wadleigh (rhymes with oddly) is one of three public schools sharing a handsome landmark building that opened in 1903 as Wadleigh High School for Girls, New Yorks first all-girl public high school. (Famous alumni include Jean Stapleton, Lillian Hellman and Isabel Sanford.) The all-girl school closed in 1954 and reopened in 1956 as a co-ed junior high. In its latest incarnation, Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts takes up the first and second floors, Frederick Douglass Academy II Secondary School is on the third and fourth floors, and Success Academy Harlem West (a middle school that opened in 2012) occupies the fifth floor. The three share the cafeteria, auditorium, gym and library.

Student enthusiasm is most visible in the arts, music and dance classes. We observed a drawing class where students working in small teams diligently sketched out cartoon characters for a competitive assignment in which the principal would select a winner. Distracted girls in a vocal music class snapped to attention when their teacher began leading them in warm-up scales. Dancers rehearsing in the mirrored studio worked up a sweat as they practiced choreographed moves for an upcoming performance.

In the kitchen, students learning from professional cooks baked challah bread and other autumn favorites. (Cooking classes are an elective, but Chin said he hopes to improve the curriculum so future graduates can earn a culinary CTE endorsement on their diplomas.)

Academic enthusiasm is less obvious elsewhere. Haphazardly arranged desks gave classrooms a sloppy look, and late-arriving students suffered no visible punishment. The school dress code (black and/or white clothing) is so liberally interpreted that the rules arent apparent. Administrators roamed the halls so they could dish out on-the-spot discipline (usually a stern lecture) to disruptive kids, yet loud voices regularly boomed down the historic hallways. Students and staff often moved at a speed that seemed to suggest a lack of urgencyperhaps a reaction to the overactive furnace that kept rooms at near-sauna temperatures. Test scores and graduation rates are low.

Wadleigh has produced a few notable performers: Graduate Joshua Johnson was a featured dancer on Dancing With the Stars and has appeared several times on Ellen.

College: Wadleigh graduates often go on to SUNY and CUNY universities, although some are regularly accepted to colleges such as Ithaca, Skidmore, Wake Forest and Penn State, according to guidance counselor Julia Garcia.

Special education: Wadleigh offers self-contained classes as well as integrated co-teaching (ICT) classrooms in which students with special needs are mixed with students from the general population. ICT classes feature two teachers, one of whom is certified to teach special education.

Admissions: Eighth-graders often audition, although a number of students are accepted without auditioning. Grades and attendance are weighed, although Chin said, I rarely accept a child that has good grades but bad attendance. (Skip Card, December 2012)

About the students

Enrollment
309
Asian
1.0%
Black
55.3%
Hispanic
40.1%
White
1.6%
Other
1.9%
Free or reduced priced lunch
100%
Students with disabilities
25%
English language learners
3%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This schools shares the Wadleigh Secondary Building with two other schools
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
Yes
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
61%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
80%
90% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
55%
27% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
53%
75% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
38%
45% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
91%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
46%
49% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
1.0
5.8 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
50%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
73%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
68%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
81%
70% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
63%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
71%
84% 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?
0%
30% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
11%
35% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 5 dedicated spaces for Dance, Music, Theater, Visual arts, and Media arts
This school has 8 licensed arts teacher in Dance (part-time), Music (part-time), Visual arts (part-time), Dance, Music, and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
69%
68% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
40%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
75%
69% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Living Environment
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing & Visual Arts
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
67%
83% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
1%
13% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
6%
4% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
7%
38% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
3%
48% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
45%
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 many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
46%
65% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
Average math score for self-contained students
1.84
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
1.87
2.2 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
60%
67% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
94%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
95%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
89%
89% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
29%
67% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Drama
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Acting, Voice and Diction, Dramatic Literature.

Dance
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Modern Dance, Jazz, African and Tap.

Visual Arts
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Drawing, watercolor, painting, ceramics, multi-arts, sculpture and computer graphics.

Instrumental Music
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Music Electives such as Violin, Band, Orchestra, and Woodwinds.

Vocal Music
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Performance in Musical Theatre, Solo Voice, Music History and Chorus.

Wadleigh Secondary
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Students will be prepared to pass the five required NYS Regents. Students will also earn an Advanced Regents diploma. A college-level equivalency course in precalculus will be offered to help prepare students for entry into a four-year college program.

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English, AP World History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Basketball

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball

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

  • Give specific examples. Tell us why this school rocks (or doesn't).
  • Criticism is fine, but no profanity, racist or ethnic slurs, or personal attacks.
  • All users must comply with our Terms of Use.