Fordham High School for the Arts

Grades 9-12

Location

500 East Fordham Road
Bronx NY 10458
Belmont (District 10)

Contact

Phone
718-733-4656
Principal
Iris Blige

What’s Special

Some students compose jazz with teachers from Carnegie Hall.

The Downside

Friction between principal and teachers.

Our Review

Modeled on Talent Unlimited, a Manhattan high school for the performing arts, Fordham High School for the Arts strives to give students a foundation in dance, drama, vocal music, instrumental music, and studio art. It is one of six schools housed in Theodore Roosevelt Educational Campus.

Students seem happy: Most students say they feel safe and their teachers inspire them to learn, according to the Learning Environment Survey. Dance students performed a hip hop version of the Nutcracker. Drama students memorized monologues by playwright August Wilson for a competition. Instrumental students compose their own jazz numbers and perform them at Lehman College with teachers from Carnegie Hall and the Juilliard School. [See video at left.]

The schools suspension rate, which was high a few years ago, has steadily declined and its attendance rate has increased in recent years. More girls than boys attend, but the ratio of 60% female and 40% male is less lopsided than many performing arts schools.

Most students enter 9th grade with reading scores that are well below grade level. The school does a good job ensuring that most graduate on time. However, few graduates are prepared for college-level work, according to the citys Progress Report for the school.

The school has long had a high rate of teacher turnover and there has been considerable friction between the faculty and the administration. Nearly 60% of teachers responding to the Learning Environment Survey said they do not trust the principal, Iris Blige, and more than 40% said she is a poor manager. The United Federation of Teachers picketed the school in 2009, complaining that Blige consistently berated teachers and yelled at students. In 2011, the Department of Education fined her $7,500 for not following protocol in her teacher evaluations. News accounts said she had a hit list of staff she wanted to target and instructed assistant principals to give teachers unsatisfactory ratings without observing them, as required by the contract.

Blige declined Insideschools request to visit the school. The report was compiled from Department of Education data and news reports.

Special education: The school offers "self-contained" classes for students with special needs as well as SETSS or special education teacher support services.

Admissions: Students are admitted by audition. (Clara Hemphill, March 2012)

About the students

Enrollment
375
Asian
1.3%
Black
34.9%
Hispanic
59.5%
White
1.9%
Other
2.4%
Free or reduced priced lunch
88%
Students with disabilities
19%
English language learners
3%
Male
26%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the Theodore Roosevelt Educational Campus with five other schools
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
Yes
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
77%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
93%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
21%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
85%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
17%
18% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
84%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
45%
56% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
12.0
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
72%
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?
57%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
20%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
82%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
84%
84% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 5 dedicated spaces for Dance, Music, Theater, and Visual arts
This school has 5 licensed arts teachers in Dance, Music, Theater, and Visual arts

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
81%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
63%
49% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
83%
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?
97%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
2%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
2%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
40%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
72%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
65%
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?
83%
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?
80%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
78%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
78%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
78%
89% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
94%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Fordham High School for the Arts
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English, AP Environmental Science, AP Music Theory, AP Studio Art, AP US Government and Politics, AP US History

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Swimming, Volleyball

Girls PSAL teams

Cross Country, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, 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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