Lower Manhattan Arts Academy

Grades 9-12
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What’s Special

Daily arts instruction for all students.

The Downside

High suspension rate; limited classes for high achievers.

Our Review

Lower Manhattan Arts Academy (LoMA) opened in 2005 with the mission of promoting academics through daily immersion in the arts. Located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the school has developed strong partnerships with local arts and social service organizations to help provide students with lots of arts enrichment and academic support.

The school delivers on its mission of art for all. Typical LoMA students enter school with little or no formal training in the arts; roughly two-thirds begin 9th grade reading below grade level. All students should be able to study art, which is why were not a selective school, said founding principal, John Wenk, who taught at the Professional Performing Arts School and Seward Park High School before starting LoMA. Ninth graders rotate through 10 weeks each of drama, music, dance and visual arts. Students then choose major to pursue in grades 10 through 12.

In the art classes we visited, the students were uniformly engaged. Drama students listened attentively as a few of their classmates took direction from the teacher. In the tiny, mirror-lined dance room, sweaty students followed along to the teachers reworking of a dance sequence.

Many academic classes have two teachers, which helps all kids stay on task. Throughout the school, students were calm and most seemed engaged even during independent work. As a part of their study of Toni Morrisons The Bluest Eye, students in 9th grade English spent the first few minutes of class writing commentaries on sexist messages in art and advertising. In an online Spanish class, students worked quietly at laptops. In chemistry, a couple of heads were on the desk, but all students were quiet and most were jotting notes while watching a short film projected from a SmartBoard. .

Students must take four years each of English, history, science and math. To bolster performance in science, 9th graders take a survey course that focuses on fundamental skills. Students start the traditional three-year sequence of Living Environment, Chemistry and Physics in the 10th grade.

Participation in after school activities is mandatory and in the 12th grade, students complete an internship, usually at a community organization. Extra-curricular activities help students build social capital, valuable relationships that help you get what you want. said Wenk. Indeed Wenk is a firm believer in social capital, having written his doctoral dissertation on the topic. His findings: _the more students participated in extracurricular activities, the more likely they were to feel connected to their peers and staff, attend a safe school, graduate and go to college, Wenk wrote in a weekly newsletter.

Advanced Placement (AP) English and all levels of Spanish are offered exclusively through online instruction. There are no accelerated classes, and other than AP English, no college level courses. Qualifying students, however, may take classes at New York University and John Jay College.

The schools suspension rate is high, owing to a zero tolerance policy, according to Wenk. Were a progressive school, but also a strict one, he said. To keep track of students progress, LoMA has three guidance counsellors, a high number for a small school. Daily, small group advisories provide students a forum for social and academic support. Social workers and student volunteers from New York University provide counselling and tutoring to students.

LoMA is one of five small, high schools housed in the Seward Park Campus building. All Seward Campus schools share use of the auditorium, gymnasium, cardio and weight room, cafeteria, swimming pool and library. There are no metal detectors onsite.

College admissions: Roughly 90 percent of graduates are accepted to college, with half enrolling in four-year programs. The college office provides ongoing support to a select group of recent graduates who return to LoMA weekly for help with their college work.

Special education: Thirty percent of students have special needs. LoMA has ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) classes, each lead by two teachers; some also have a paraprofessional.

After school: Students athletes may participate in campus-wide PSAL sports teams. Onsite activities include the LoMA Theater Ensemble, chorus, dance, cheerleading, chess, student government, Model UN, swimming instruction, and tutoring. Offsite, students pursue arts activities and academic support at partner organizations like the Henry Street Settlement, Educational Alliance, New York Theatre Workshop and The Door.

Open Road of New York operates the buildings roof-top skate park, a vibrant and expansive space decorated by graffiti artists from around the world in conjunction with New Design High School. The skate program is open to students campus-wide. (Laura Zingmond, October, 2011)

About the students

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

About the school

Shared campus?
This school shares the Seward Park Educational Campus with four other schools
Metal detectors?
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average


Average daily attendance
87% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
37% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

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

About the leadership

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

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
74% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
86% 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 5 licensed arts teacher in Theater (part-time), Dance, Music, and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
54% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
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?
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
13% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
36% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
37% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
60% 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 English language learners graduate in 4 years?
66% 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?
68% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
90% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
59% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Lower Manhattan Arts Academy
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description


Language Courses



Boys PSAL teams

Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Handball, Volleyball, Wrestling

Girls PSAL teams

Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Softball, Table Tennis, Tennis, 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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350 Grand Street
Manhattan NY 10002
Lower East Side (District 2)
Trains: B, D to Grand St; F, J, M, Z to Delancey St-Essex St
Buses: B39, M103, M14A, M14D, M15, M15-SBS, M21, M22, M9


John Wenk
Parent Coordinator
Taisha Perez

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