Ballet Tech, NYC Public School for Dance

Grades 4-8
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

First-rate pre-professional ballet training

The Downside

Fierce competition to get inand stay in

Our Review

Ballet Tech is a tiny school created in 1978 to train dancers, many of whom have gone on to perform professionally with Alvin Ailey, American Ballet Theatre and Dance Theatre of Harlem. The school offers academic classes and ballet for children in grades 4 through 8.

Ballet Tech brings together a lovely mix of kids from all walks of life who reflect the city, said principal Roy ONeill. Although they are racially, academically and ethnically mixed, most have a similar body typethat is, small and slim. Some kids come from persistently dangerous schools, where kids act up and teachers yell, but at Ballet Tech they come into the fold, and develop a sense of appreciation of differentness, ONeill said. Because they are recognized for their skill in dance, they are usually willing to work in other areas that may be harder for them, a teacher said. The boys and girls seemed to understand how special their education is; several said, I love dance! when asked what they liked best.

The school screens thousands of 3rd graders (and 4th and 5th for the few open spots) in 200 New York City public schools to find children who exhibit the strength, coordination and musicality needed for ballet. Up to 700 are chosen to participate in six introductory dance classes, which are held during the school year at Ballet Tech. Children who show the greatest aptitude are invited back for six more weeks.

Most kids have not had formal dance training, stressed ONeill, a former math teacher at the school. Forty children are picked to join the two 4th grade classes at Ballet Tech. Many students travel a good distance to get to schoolfrom Far Rockaway, Queens and two vans-full from the Bronx. Parents and the Ballet Tech Foundation, which supports the ballet curriculum, arranges for van transportation to and from school for those who need it.

Students begin their dance curriculum with two classes per week in 4th grade, progressively adding ballet, technique and pointe classes until they take classes five days a week. Twenty students mostly from the current 5th grade class are selected to continue in the 6th grade. Those who dont make the cut have access to District 2s excellent middle schools, the principal said.

Academics are strong and improving. Class size is small and children were focused as they participated in math games, science projects and group discussions. Math teacher Hassim Mohammed, a former engineer, said the kids are not only hard-working in dance, they are academically focused as well. Teachers have strengthened writing instruction in partnership with the respected Teachers College writing program, resulting in a greater volume and quality of writing, the principal said. Mohammed teaches algebra to all 8th graders and most pass the Regents test. The school serves a wide range of abilities, including many who score below Level 3 (out of 4) on standardized tests, but because classes are small kids seem to get the attention they need. Academic record is not considered in admissions.

Roughly a dozen students go on to high school at theProfessional Performing Arts School(PPAS) and continue their dance classes at Ballet Tech in the afternoon.Most high school dancers perform annually with select younger students in Ballet Techs excellent Kids Dance productions at the Joyce Theater.

Among Ballet Techs alumni are a professional soccer player, a legal assistant, a public defender, a personal trainer and a dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company.

Although there is no gym, kids get plenty of physical activity in dance classes. Recess is typically spent playing games, chatting or coloring in the classrooms.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are very few children with special needs.

ADMISSIONS: Open auditions are held at Ballet Tech five times a year, September through May, for those children who attend schools that do not participate in the screening. To register check the website or call (212) 777-7710, ext. 300. ONeill advised parents to encourage their schools to participate. You dont have to be a great dancer, he said. A few kids with previous dance training are admitted to the upper grades. (Lydie Raschka, May 2017)

About the students

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

About the school

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
Metal detectors?
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average


Average daily attendance
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
19% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
50% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
45% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
6.4 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
87% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
81% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
86% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
60% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
78% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
82% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Test scores

How many students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
39% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
42% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 4 dedicated spaces for Dance
This school has 0 licensed arts teacher in Dance, Music, Theater or Visual arts

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
59% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
68% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
28% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
86% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Professional Performing Arts HS
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?
42% 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?
69% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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890 Broadway
Manhattan NY 10003
Gramercy (District 2)
Trains: 1, 2, 3, F, M to 14th St - 6th Ave ; 4, 5, L, N, Q to 14th St-Union Square; 6, R, W to 23rd St
Buses: M1, M2, M3, M7, M14A, M14D, M20, M23-SBS, M55


Roy Oneill
Parent Coordinator
Elsie Aponte