High School for Violin and Dance

Grades 9-12
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What’s Special

Four years of group instruction on a string instrument and in dance.

The Downside

Attendance is below average.

Our Review

The senior orchestra at the High School for Violin and Dance played a piece by composer George Friderich Handel. "I'm proud," said Catherine Plichta, an energetic teacher who has expanded the school's string program to include basses, cellos and violas. She and her students should be proud: unlike most high schools with string programs, these students don't take private lessons and they had never played a string instrument before 9th grade.

The other special feature of this school is dance, which, like music, has two teachers and meets four days a week. Teens learn modern, jazz, tap, ballet and choreography. They dance in the Puerto Rican Day Parade and showcase their work at two big concerts a year. Everyone is required to take dance and learn an instrument the first year and then they may switch to visual arts or fitness - but most stay with dance and strings.

Franklin Sim became principal in March 2011 after serving as assistant principal for many years. Before that, he taught math at Chelsea Vocational High School. He said research shows music and movement are good for the brain. "A large part of our budget is for instrumental repairs and concerts, because we believe in the arts," he said.

As for academics, there are attempts to provide extra challenges as well as help for those who need it most. Adult volunteers work with the lowest-scoring third. Some 9th graders are mixed in with 10th graders in math classes and in 11th grade U.S. History, students are grouped according to ability at tables. "Study jams," PM school and Saturday school are other times kids may seek help.

A guidance counselor coordinates college visits and applications and some students take college classes. On Wednesdays, the faculty all wear college t-shirts. ("We're big on school spirit," Sim said, mentioning a pancake breakfast, a burrito meal and pajama day.). About one-third of the students who graduate enroll in two- or four-year colleges upon leaving the school.

Four small schools share the Morris Educational Campus, and students pass through metal detectors. Violin and Dance shares one of the two gyms with the School for Excellence. The other two schools are Bronx International and Morris Academy for Collaborative Studies.

In recent years attendance has risen above 80%, which is not great, but is as high as any of the schools in the building have achieved. However, at the time of our visit it was 79 percent, below average, despite incentives, phone calls and home visits. On the bright side, the school steadily gets "A" ratings on report cards from the city.

The majority of the students are girls. A boys' program meets once a week and every month the boys go bowling, see a Broadway show or visit a martial arts studio, among other trips.

Half the teachers reported that order and discipline could be better on the Learning Environment Survey, but most students said they felt safe in the hallways and bathrooms. In addition to weekly advisory groups, there are assistant principals and three deans to help out at this small school.

Special education: Special needs students work in general education classes with two teachers, one of whom in trained in special education.

Admissions: Priority to Bronx students or residents who attend an information session. (April 2012, Lydie Raschka)

About the students

Enrollment
288
Asian
0.7%
Black
35.1%
Hispanic
62.9%
White
1.0%
Other
0.4%
Free or reduced priced lunch
91%
Students with disabilities
27%
English language learners
17%
Male
21%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the Morris Educational Campus with three other schools
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
Yes
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
84%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
77%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
62%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
22%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
36%
18% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
71%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
22%
56% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
5.3
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
39%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
84%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
55%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
75%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
45%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
61%
84% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 4 dedicated spaces for Dance, Music, Theater, and Visual arts
This school has 3 licensed arts teachers in Dance, Music, and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
43%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
35%
49% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
58%
70% 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?
66%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
0%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
12%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
3%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
9%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
49%
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 former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
0%
0% 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)
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
63%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
75%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
92%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
92%
89% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
52%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Violin and Dance
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Students take 55-minute group lessons in violin and dance three to five times a week. In dance, students learn the fundamental positions and movements of classical and modern dance. In violin, students learn the foundations of music theory and technique.

Academics

Language Courses

French, Italian, Russian, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Soccer

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, 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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