Supportive environment where students learn career skills such as masonry, carpentry and building preservation
Student attendance needs to improve
Stephen T. Mather Building Arts & Craftsmanship High School is a great fit for students who like hands-on learning and want to keep college options open. A career and technical educational (CTE) school, Mather opened in 2013 with the goal of preparing students for careers in fields like historic preservation, landscape management, archaeology, masonry and carpentry. The school was named after Stephen Tyng Mather, the first director of the National Parks Service (NPS), which also has a partnership with Mather.Principal Larry Gabbard was an English teacher and assistant principal at the Eagle Academy for Young Men in the Bronx and an assistant principal at Pace High School in downtown Manhattan before he founded Mather. Gabbard has a background in business, which influences his approach to leadership and team-building. Teachers consistently report high levels of trust in Gabbard, according to the NYC School Survey.
NPS provides a full-time staff member to assist teachers in developing the CTE curriculum. Other NPS employees also work in the school, for example teaching a six-week unit in professional decorative plastering.
Students take classes in historic preservation, landscape management, interior design and architectural drawing. Outside of the classroom, students go on work-based learning trips and visit national parks.
The academic curriculum is developed by teachers at the school and incorporates content relevant to the trades. In math, students start by taking algebra and geometry. Those who are college-bound may continue with algebra 2 and pre-calculus, while those on a career path may take math for the trades and do internships. Similarly, in science, students take living environment and earth science and then may choose to take chemistry for the trades where they learn about things like mixing mortar and paint color.
Teachers in all subjects emphasize writing using the highly structured Hochman Method, which means they use the same language and practices to reinforce writing, whether it’s a math teacher discussing how students should explain their approach to solving a problem or a history teacher critiquing essays.
The staff is strict on attendance and lateness to combat high absenteeism. Students who miss school attend compulsory classes on Saturdays. The school calls parents to alert them if their child was absent or late, and in extreme cases, where a student has been excessively late or absent, the school will make “wake up” calls.
There are plenty of opportunities for students to get academic or social and emotional support through peer tutoring and after-school tutoring. Students attend "Packvisory" (small-group advisory sessions) four days a week for 40 minutes. "Packs" are groups of 10 students from the same grade that stay together for all four years. The school has two social workers and a guidance counselor.
The school uses a “restorative justice” approach to discipline that minimizes suspensions and promotes positive behavior through conversation, reflection and corrective action. A core group of students are trained as peer mediators.
Mather has a computer and large CTE labs for carpentry and masonry. Housed in the Graphic Arts Educational Campus building with four other schools, Mather students have access to shared science labs, a new library, weight room, refurbished gym and a large cafeteria. Students can play in the schoolyard during lunchtime. Clubs include art, virtual building, music, performing arts and anime. Students can join campus sports teams.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: Many students have IEPs (individualized education programs), and the graduation rate for students with disabilities is higher than the citywide average. The school has ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes.
ADMISSIONS: Educational option, meaning students with a range of academic abilities are accepted. There is priority for Manhattan residents, but students come from all five boroughs. (Isabel Corpus, June 2018)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
CalculusNot offered in 2019-20
Computer ScienceNot offered in 2019-20
PhysicsNot offered in 2019-20
Advanced Foreign Language
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
MusicNot offered in 2019-20
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Building Arts/Carpentry & Landscape Management in Historic Preservation
This is a hands-on/minds-on nine-credit CTE sequence in Historic Preservation: Intro to Historic Preservation (9); Landscape Mgmt. I & II, (10); Building Arts-Decorative Finishing and Carpentry (11); Adv. Building Arts-Carpentry/Masonry (12). Students must participate in apx. Fourteen work-based learning trips, complete an internship and a final CTE performance assessment. Students will work with wood, bricks, stone, and plants, often OUTSIDE in ALL types of weather, and they WILL occasionally get dirty!
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP United States History, AP Biology, AP Statistics, AP World History: Modern, AP English Language and Composition, AP U.S. Government and Politics
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Handball, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Flag Football, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball
Contact & Location
439 West 49th Street
Manhattan NY 10019
Trains: , , to 50th St; , , , , to Times Square-42nd St; , to 7th Ave; , , to 49th St
Buses: BxM2, M10, M104, M11, M12, M20, M31, M34A-SBS, M42, M50, M57, M7, X1, X12, X14, X17J, X21, X22, X22A, X30, X31, X42, X7, X9
This school shares the Graphics Educational Campus with four other schools