Terrific musical training
Celia Cruz High School of Music, housed in the Walton Educational Complex, offers students great opportunities to perform at places such as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Students take some of their music classes at nearby Lehman College.
In addition, the school boasts strong academic instruction. Almost all children graduate on time, including kids with disabilities, and there are honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses for high-achievers.
The school’s award-winning musical groups include a jazz ensemble, a string orchestra, piano instruction and one of the best school choirs in the city. “We have great music,” said principal Jerrod Mabry.
The musicians at Celia Cruz are a source of pride in the Bronx and beyond. Children have performed at the New York Botanical Gardens during the winter holiday season, at events hosted by local politicians and even on Good Morning America.
Mabry was named principal in 2013 and he has made the school stronger. Formerly a teacher and an assistant principal at the school, Mabry has raised academic expectations and test scores, improved attendance and safety, and raised the four-year graduation rate to a near-perfect level. Under his leadership, the school has revamped its computer lab, and purchased additional laptops and books for classrooms. Students have opportunities to travel to far-flung locales, such as Ireland, Montreal and Boston.
The school makes an effort to be inclusive. There is a gay-straight alliance, and a Restorative Justice program, in which teens learn to talk through conflicts before they become bigger problems. In the STOKED mentoring program, adults take struggling teens snowboarding or skateboarding four to six times a year to expose them to nature and challenging sports.
Not all graduates are ready for college-level work, however, especially in math. Mabry is proud of how hard his teachers are working to improve and how they have “taken ownership,” of teams and instruction, he said.
“Teachers go several days a week to lunch trainings where we work with each other on our practices and lesson planning,” said a teacher on our website. Some children get extra help after school. Nearly 100 percent of teachers would recommend the school to other families.
The Walton campus is shared with four other small schools. There are two entrances and students must pass through metal detectors. The schools come together on campus-wide sports teams, and in AP courses. There is a swimming pool where students may earn their lifeguard certification.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The four-year graduation rate for kids with disabilities is well above the citywide average. Mabry plans to add AP team-teaching classes, in which children with disabilities are placed in general education classes with two teachers. The Department of Education praised the special education teachers for adjusting lessons to meet the needs of kids with disabilities, according to the school’s Quality Review. For example, teachers added more music and articles to give kids a better sense of the historic period, when they read The Great Gatsby and The Great American Dream. This helped them stay interested and increased performance on the English Language Arts Regents exam,” the report stated.
ADMISSIONS: Audition. (Lydie Raschka, June 2018)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
PhysicsNot offered in 2019-20
Advanced Foreign Language
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Concert Band / Jazz Band / Piano
Students audition annually to participate in varying levels of Concert Band and Jazz Band. Band curriculum includes music theory and jazz improvisation in all ensemble classes. Students prepare for a minimum of four performances a year, including state competitions and evaluations in solo and ensemble work. Please note all students auditioning on piano must select a band instrument in which to major.
Vocal Music: Chorus
Students study fundamentals as well as perform in concert choir. Advanced level choirs include: Stage Choir, Girls Chamber Choir, Mixed Choir, as well as other ensembles. All choirs incorporate music theory, music history, and sight singing. Preparation for state competitions as well as auditions. Evaluations in solo and ensemble work.
Instrumental Music: Orchestra / Strings
Group instruction on orchestral instruments. Participation in three string orchestras and two full orchestras. With a performance focus, all students will perform a minimum of four times per year. Advanced ensembles perform frequently and represent the school on frequent trips and tours. Orchestra curriculum includes music theory, music history, and sight singing. In addition to concerts, students prepare for state competitions and evaluations in solo and ensemble work.
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP Microeconomics, AP United States History, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Environmental Science, AP Human Geography, AP English Language and Composition
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Handball, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Bowling, Softball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Volleyball
Contact & Location
2780 Reservoir Avenue
Bronx NY 10468
Trains: to Kingsbridge Rd
Buses: Bx1, Bx10, Bx12, Bx12-SBS, Bx2, Bx22, Bx26, Bx28, Bx3, Bx32, Bx34, Bx38, Bx9, BxM3, BxM4
This school shares the Walton Educational Campus with four other schools