The School for Classics: An Academy of Thinkers, Writers and Performers

Grades 9-12

What’s Special

Small school uses performing arts to engage students

The Downside

Difficult neighborhood

Our Review

Like so many new small schools, the School for Classics: An Academy of Thinkers, Writers and Performers has a long name that may be a bit grandiose. But in a just a few years, the staff and faculty have created a school in the shadows of the Cypress Hill Houses that seems to nurture students, encouraging them academically in a safe, supportive environment.

Key to the school is the theater. First-year students take an introduction to theater class, culminating in a performance piece they create themselves. From there students can go on to focus in a particular aspect of theater choosing from majors in acting design, technical theater or stage management. Teaching artists from professional theater companies supplement the instruction. Students are required to participate in yearly dramatic productions, probably of a play by Shakespeare. Being involved in theater -- on or off stage -- is designed to pique student interest in literature and other subjects.

The school also features story telling classes, an emphasis on writing and dance classes that include ballroom and more contemporary styles, as well as some Advanced Placement classes.

The emphasis on drama, students says, does not mean the school works only for the stage struck. "I'm the stage fright one," a senior says, adding that she has enjoyed School for Classics. "Kids love it. It's a great learning experience," she says, crediting much of that to the school's small size.

Students give the school high marks for helping them achieve. In the Learning Environment Survey, 95 percent said their teachers encourage them to succeed and 93 percent said teachers provide extra help when they need it. Judging from student's comment on the survey, the School for Classics has been able to create security in one of the city's more difficult neighborhoods. The numbers citing discipline problems were relatively low, and the vast majority said they felt safe in school.The school shares a building with JHS 218.

The School for Classics does not offer any interscholastic sports.

College: The school has guidance counselors but no dedicated college counselor. Its first group of graduates went on to local schools -- mostly four-year colleges -- including Adelphi, Pace, LIU and various branches of SUNY.

Special education: The school offers both self-contained special education classes and in class supports for students with disabilities.

Admission: Schools for Classics is unscreened and so far has been able to admit all students who apply. (Gail Robinson, October 2012, based on interviews and information from the high school fair)

About the students

Enrollment
313
Asian
13.7%
Black
55.0%
Hispanic
27.5%
White
2.6%
Other
1.3%
Free or reduced priced lunch
85%
Students with disabilities
20%
English language learners
18%
Male
39%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with JHS 218 and Invictus Prep Charter School
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
66%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
83%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
48%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
73%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
29%
18% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
74%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
31%
56% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
1.4
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
91%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
95%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
95%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
88%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
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?
91%
84% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 2 dedicated spaces for Dance and an Auditorium
This school has 4 licensed arts teachers in Dance and Visual arts

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
48%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
46%
49% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
61%
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?
60%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
9%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
9%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
16%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
11%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
51%
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?
53%
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?
100%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
100%
89% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
47%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Performance
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Acting: Students engage in portraying complex characters, scene work, monologues, and improvisation. Dance: Gain introduction to the language of dance, develop improvisational skills and basic choreographic devices, and learn the history and technique of major dance forms. Both of these studies culminate in performances that prepare students for college auditions and contribute to their portfolios.

Production
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Students gain artistic confidence by engaging in and learning about technical theater, stagecraft, designing and creating scenery, costume design, lighting, make-up, special effects, and basic drafting skills. Students actively participate in preparing the school’s main stage productions.

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

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

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