Manhattan Academy for Arts & Language

Grades: 9-12

Our Insights

What’s Special

School welcomes students who speak little or no English

The Downside

Academics, while improving, have a ways to go

Manhattan Academy for Arts and Language (MAAL) is designed to teach new immigrants English by integrating the arts with academic classes. The school offers classes in photography, videography, theater, and string instruments. Students may choose either transitional bilingual classes (in both Spanish and English) or classes in English as a New Language (in English).    

“Most students are newly arrived in the country [about 60 percent], and yet they still accomplish so much,” said founding Principal Siv Boletsis. Most students come from areas where Spanish is spoken (often the Dominican Republic) and arrive with weak academic skills. Many students travel from Washington Heights because programs there fill up. Roughly 100 students live in temporary housing.

The school’s on-time graduation rate has improved in recent years since the school adopted AP for All, a program designed to encourage any hard-working students, not just high-achievers, to take more challenging classes. Students get extra help in a study period and in Saturday classes.

“Raising the bar, raising the expectation, has really had an impact,” Boletsis said. 

Boletsis arrived in New York speaking only Greek, and the 3rd-grade teacher at her Queens elementary school loudly called her stupid when she couldn’t understand assignments. “I knew no English, but I knew the word stupid,” Boletsis told InsideSchools. Now, as principal, she makes sure students who speak little or no English get a warmer reception.

The school has two drama programs in partnership with Young Audiences of New York and Manhattan Theater Club. Students may write a script based on a novel, or bring their personal stories to life onstage. In other partnerships, some students secure internships at accounting firms, or participate in the Cornell University summer medicine program. 

Manhattan Academy for Arts and Letters is a training ground for English as a New Language teachers from Baruch and Hunter colleges. A couple teachers on staff have won awards for excellence in teaching. 

Every senior applies to college and gets in; as a group, they have earned more than a million dollars in scholarship money, Boletsis said. POSSE scholarship winners are common; there were five in 2018. The school has a partnership with Opportunity Network, which trains students to succeed in the workplace. 

Boletsis said Manhattan Academy has a strong bond with alumni: one spoke to current students about her experience in medical school; another about her photography work. 

Parents are invited to potlucks, and workshops, including immigration clinics set up by the Department of Education.  “We have huge parent participation,” Boletsis said.

The school, opened September 2010, shares the Norman Thomas High School Educational Campus with other small schools. Norman Thomas High School, a modern brick tower located south of Grand Central Terminal, was closed in 2014 for poor performance. All students pass through metal detectors at the school’s main entrance. Some MAAL students take chemistry courses at Unity Center for Urban Technologies in the building. Sports are campus-wide. 

Admissions: English Language Learners (Lydie Raschka, web reports and interview, April 2019)



School Stats


How many students graduate in 4 years?
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
Average daily attendance
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
From the 2020-21 School Quality Guide and 2020-21 NYC School Survey


Number of students
624 Citywide Average


Low-income students
Students with disabilities
Multilingual learners
From the 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

Safety & Vibe

How many students were suspended?
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
How many students say that some are bullied at their school because of their gender or sexual orientation?
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey and 2019-20 NY State Report Card

Faculty & Staff

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
Years of principal experience at this school
7 Citywide Average
Number of students for each guidance counselor or social worker
157 Citywide Average

Teachers’ Race/Ethnicity

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
Are teachers effective?
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey, 2020-21 School Quality Guide, 2019-20 NY State Report Card, 2021 Guidance Counselor Report and this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Advanced Courses

Which students have access to advanced courses at this school? Learn more


Not offered in 2019-20

Computer Science

Not offered in 2019-20


Not offered in 2019-20

Advanced Foreign Language


AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science


AP/IB Math or Science



From unpublished, anonymized data from the 2019-20 school year provided by the New York State Education Department, brought to you by

College Readiness

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
From the 2020-21 School Quality Guide
How many students filled out a FAFSA form by the end of their senior year?
From the 2020-21 FAFSA data released by Federal Student Aid, brought you by
How many graduates of this school received Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funding to attend a NYS college?
How many of those TAP recipients made it through college? Learn more
From unpublished, anonymized student-level data for the class of 2014 provided by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) in coordination with the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), brought to you by
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

From the 2021 High School Directory

Manhattan Academy for Arts & Language

Admissions Method: Screened: Language

Program Description:

Students have the choice of either a Freestanding ESL Program or a TBE in Spanish. Intensive ESL and ELA is provided for all students. Global History and Native Language Arts are linked for TBE students. Accelerated students have opportunities to take the Geometry CC, Algebra II CC and Pre-Calculus. MAAL students take AP courses and College Now at Hunter and Baruch Colleges. Students have the opportunity to play a string instrument.


From the 2021 High School Directory

Language Courses

French, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Environmental Science, AP World History: Modern, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP English Literature and Composition

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Softball, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on NYCDOE’s MySchools

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location


111 East 33rd Street
Manhattan NY 10016

Trains: 4 Line, 5 Line, 7 Line, S Line to Grand Central-42nd St; 6 Line to 33rd St; B Line, D Line, F Line, M Line, N Line, Q Line, R Line, W Line to 34th St

Buses: BM1, BM2, BM3, BM4, BM5, BxM1, BxM10, BxM11, BxM18, BxM2, BxM3, BxM4, BxM6, BxM7, BxM8, BxM9, M1, M101, M102, M103, M15, M15-SBS, M2, M3, M34-SBS, M34A-SBS, M4, M42, M5, M55, M7, M9, Q32, QM1, QM10, QM12, QM15, QM16, QM17, QM18, QM2, QM20, QM21, QM24, QM3, QM31, QM32, QM34, QM35, QM36, QM4, QM40, QM42, QM44, QM5, QM6, X1, X10, X10B, X12, X14, X17, X17J, X2, X21, X22, X22A, X27, X28, X30, X31, X37, X38, X42, X5, X63, X64, X68, X7, X9


Principal: Siv Boletsis

Parent Coordinator: Fe Cardi Garcia


Other Details

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the Norman Thomas Educational Campus with three other schools

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? Yes

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