Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design

Grades 9-12
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Students get professional training in architectural design and preservation arts, paid internships

The Downside

No elective classes

Our Review

MARCH 2009 UPDATE: Gil Cornell became principal, replacing Steven Farina

APRIL 2005 REVIEW: Most city high schools offering instruction in architecture don\'t make it available it until students\' junior year, but at the Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design, students dive into the subject as freshmen. They start off learning how to draw with tools like t-squares, and by the time they graduate, will have had mastered sophisticated computer design programs widely used by professional architects.

The school, which opened in September 2004 with just 100 9th graders, will grow to its full size of 400 students in grades 9-12 in September 2007. One of a burgeoning number of new, small high schools throughout the city, the school benefits from small classes and a well-developed \"theme.\" The principal, Charles Pomaro, was formerly an assistant principal for engineering and technology at Brooklyn Tech, and the school\'s architecture teacher is a licensed architect from Pratt Institute. \"That\'s my whole thing: the design process,\" said Pomaro, who added that each student is expected to leave the school with his or her own portfolio of work. \"It\'s a way of thinking. We want students to develop the eyes of design.\"

Pomaro has big plans for the school, including refurbishing the shop so that students can carry out large-scale construction projects, among them building a structure in the school\'s yard. He says that juniors will volunteer with Habitat for Humanity to build low-income houses.

While we saw some strong teaching on our visit, we visited the school in the afternoon, and some students seemed less than completely engaged in their lessons. In a few classrooms students had their heads on their desks, and there were one or two stragglers in the hallway. But lessons had substance: in one classroom, the architecture and social studies teachers were collaborating to teach kids about the Taj Mahal in India; in a physics class, kids were learning about the differences between series and parallel circuits; and in an English class students were \"translating\" the dialogue in Romeo and Juliet into modern-day English.

Because the school is small, it lacks the extensive offerings available at larger high schools. There is no music instruction, for example, and students can\'t take a foreign language class until 10th grade. Students may, however, enroll in \"Math A,\" and for advanced students, a class in the \"Math B\" curriculum is available. The school has a partnership with CUNY\'s New York City College of Technology, and students may use the libraries there. Two college students from Tech act as mentors in each of the school\'s math classes, providing teachers with an extra hand and students with extra attention.

Students who want to participate in sports may join the teams at Harry Van Arsdale, the large high school in the process of \"phasing out\" within which Williamsburg High School of Architecture and Design is housed. Students who need special education services likewise receive them from Harry Van Arsdale.

Students must pass through metal detectors to enter the school. Located in the heart of Williamsburg, which has developed and gentrified rapidly over the past decade, the school feels very safe, both inside and out. (Deborah Apsel, April 2005)

About the students

Enrollment
565
Asian
2.5%
Black
31.3%
Hispanic
59.7%
White
5.0%
Other
1.6%
Free or reduced priced lunch
83%
Students with disabilities
25%
English language learners
3%
Male
77%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the Harry Van Arsdale Educational Campus with two other schools
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
Yes
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
102%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
91%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
29%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
92%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
7%
37% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
96%
85% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
91%
57% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
7.5
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
94%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
95%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
89%
80% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
65%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
98%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
94%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
97%
86% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 6 dedicated spaces for Visual and Media arts
This school has 2 licensed arts teacher in Music

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
95%
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
91%
54% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
94%
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?
94%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
20%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
3%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
45%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
91%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
67%
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?
89%
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%
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?
92%
90% 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

Architecture and Design
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Introduction to architecture, design, engineering ,and historic architectural preservation. Students participate in paid professional internships and college portfolio review.

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Calculus, AP Environmental Science, AP Human Geography, AP Spanish

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Volleyball

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Cross Country, Flag Football, 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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