Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts

Grades 9-12
Staff Pick

Location

100 Amsterdam Avenue
Manhattan NY 10023
Upper West Side (District 3)
Trains: 1 to 66th St - Lincoln Center; A, B, C, D to 59th St-Columbus Circle; 2, 3 to 72nd St
Buses: M10, M104, M11, M12, M20, M31, M5, M57, M66, M7, M72

Contact

Phone
212-496-0700
Principal
Lisa Mars
Parent Coordinator
Allison Price

What’s Special

A haven for artists with a nice racial mix

The Downside

The days are packed

Our Review

LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts is a highly selective, widely acclaimed school that trains students for the country's best art schools and music conservatories, as well as for conventional academic colleges and universities. The eight-story building opened in 1984 with the merger of two older schools, the High School of Music and Art and the High School of Performing Arts, made famous by the movie "Fame." Students take a regular academic course load and as well as three to four periods a day of their chosen art specialty: drama, dance, vocal music, and instrumental music or studio art, and the newest specialty, technical theater, in which students learn aspects of stagecraft such as lighting and costume and set design. Professional artists, including musicians from the New York Philharmonic and the New York City Opera, teach studio courses.

There is a spirited energy to the building that comes from having a large group of kids who are passionate about their work. On our visit, we heard an 80-member choir sing a beautiful gospel number in 4-part-harmony, listened to kids record music they wrote themselves in the school's recording studio, and watched while kids made costumes on sewing machines in the basement. Art majors developed photos in a photography dark room and painted oil portraits and still lives on canvas.

LaGuardia offers a wide range of courses in the arts. It has eight dance instructors, six vocal groups, six orchestras, jazz and concert bands and studio art courses that include photography, lithography, sculpture and print-making. LaGuardia fields more than 20 sports teams, including gymnastics, swimming and co-ed fencing. A hyperactive alumni association has raised a $6.2 million endowment, which is used, among other things, to offer college scholarships to graduates.

The size of the school can be overwhelming for some kids, particularly in their first semester as they are getting used to their routines. Juggling a full academic load with three or four hours a day of classes in an art specialty is tough. And, however conscientious the teachers may be, it's hard to get a lot of individual attention in a class of 34 students. But for many kids with a passion for art, the positives outweigh the negatives. The school not only is racially diverse, but also includes kids from different income levels and neighborhoods. The school is about 70 percent female and has many openly gay and lesbian students.

Principal Kim Bruno has raised academic standards in recent years by requiring prospective students to have a strong academic record as well as a talent. The school offers a traditional academic program. Students are assigned to "honors" or regular classes depending on their level of achievement. Some classes are lively, with lots of discussion among the teachers and students, while others are more by-the-book. For example, an English teacher demonstrated Plato's allegory of the cave by turning off the lights and having kids read by flashlight recreating cave-like conditions. However, some parents complain that students don't do enough writing in English and social studies.

Teachers in the math department, which has an exceptionally strong assistant principal, seem to have found a way to both challenge kids at the top and to motivate kids who aren't naturally drawn to math. Students who don't plan to take calculus may take a course called "discrete math" that involves fun problem solving. Advanced math students may take AP calculus and AP statistics. Most science courses at LaGuardia are based on preparation for the Regents exams. As a result, teachers tend to rely on textbooks, and there is not a lot of time devoted to independent research projects. The assistant principal for science hopes to add research classes in the future as part of an honors program which began in September 2006 for all subjects, starting in 9th grade, called DaVinci.

College admissions: More than 95 percent of graduates go on to 4-year colleges, and of those about 30% go to conservatories or art schools including Cooper Union, Julliard, the Manhattan School of Music, Berkelee School of Music, Rhode Island School of Design, and School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Recent graduates attend Ivy League colleges including Harvard, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, or other highly competitive schools such as Vassar College, Northwestern, and the University of Chicago. Many students go on to CUNY and SUNY schools. Dancers sometimes choose to go straight into professional performing, postponing college until their prime dancing years are over.

Special education: A small number of learning disabled students receive special education services and are fully integrated into regular classes.

Admissions: Prospective parents and students may see a performance at the school in October. Students are selected based on auditions and portfolios. Their academic and attendance records are also closely scrutinized with most incoming students scoring at least a "3" level on their 7th grade standardized exams. Auditions are held from November through December. (This school is featured in NYC's Best Public High Schools: A Parent's Guide.Clara Hemphill, March 2007)

About the students

Enrollment
2697
Asian
19.5%
Black
11.0%
Hispanic
17.3%
White
43.8%
Other
8.4%
Free or reduced priced lunch
29%
Students with disabilities
2%
English language learners
0%
Male
25%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
127%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
96%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
12%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
77%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
14%
37% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
94%
85% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
84%
57% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
2.8
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
29%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
32%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
21%
80% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
93%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
76%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
34%
86% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 51 dedicated spaces for Dance, Music, Theater, Visual arts, and Media arts
This school has 49 licensed arts teacher in Theater (part-time), Visual arts (part-time), Dance, Music, Theater, and Visual arts

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
89%
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
61%
54% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
86%
71% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
98%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
71%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
0%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
91%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
97%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
90%
63% 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 English language learners graduate in 4 years?
100%
65% 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?
52%
68% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
92%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
92%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
83%
90% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
95%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Dance
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

A challenging conservatory approach in ballet and modern dance. Supplementary courses include: dance history, choreography, theatre dance (tap and jazz), career management and survival skills.

Instrumental Music
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Participants study sight singing, music theory, and music history. This studio performing groups include four symphony orchestras, two concert bands, two jazz bands, and three musical pit orchestras. Participants also the the opportunity to compose, conduct, and perform original repertoire.

Vocal Music
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Participants study sight singing, music theory, and music history. This studio performing groups include Elementary, Mixed, Girls, Women’s, and Senior Choruses; Gospel Choir; Show Choir; and an opera production. Participants receive training in Italian, German, and French vocal literaure. Music electives include chamber music, guitar, music technology, and songwriting.

Technical Theatre
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Practical training in scenic carpentry, lighting technology, costume construction, sound properites, stage management, technical drawing, and design. Students participate in both the production and performance aspects for the various school events.

Drama
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Theater preparation through courses in acting, voice and diction, physical techniques, theater history and script analysis.

Fine Art
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Two years training in traditional skills and disciplines, which include drawing, painting in water-based media, graphic design, and painting in oils and acrylics. After taking the core art courses, students take advanced courses in the subjects listed and with other elective offerings such as architecture, art history, ceramics, computer graphics, mural painting, photography, print making, and sculpture.

Academics

Language Courses

French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Art History, AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP Comparative Government and Politics, AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP French, AP Human Geography, AP Italian, AP Japanese, AP Music Theory, AP Physics, AP Psychology, AP Spanish, AP Statistics, AP Studio Art, AP US History, AP World History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Fencing, Gymnastics, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Fencing, Gymnastics, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, 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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