Urban Assembly School of Music and Art

Grades: 9-12

Our Insights

What’s Special

Arts focus; longer school day

The Downside

Many students miss more than 18 days of school

In a renovated warehouse in downtown Brooklyn, Urban Assembly High School of Music and Art offers music and art during the school day and additional arts after school. Every student gets a free cell phone with free high-speed wireless internet through the Sprint 1 Million project. Some students take college classes in partnership with Bard College. 

Parent coordinator Cecily Zayas says that about half of the students stay after school to participate in dance, hip-hop, poetry, digital photography and music production. The school does not require special auditions or portfolios for application. In addition to passing Regents exams, UAMA students prepare and present academic and art portfolios as a graduation requirement.

Founding principal Paul Thompson is a trumpet player, who formerly taught music and social studies at Bard High School Early College.

The school serves a challenging population: two-thirds enter 9th grade below grade level in reading and math (Level 1 or 2 out of Level 4 on state test scores according to the yearly plan). About one-fourth of the student population has special needs. The school offers tutoring before and after school and during school holidays, according to the website.

Half the students miss more than 18 days of school, a significant interruption for students as well as teachers, who must take extra class time to help absent teens catch up on material they missed. Attendance is improving with some new strategies, says Zayas; for example, teachers use an app to text parents immediately if their children are late or missing that day. 

The school has a full-time counselor. About 40 percent of graduates enroll in college and career programs, but most graduates must take remedial courses in college based on their low scores on Regents exams.

Students and teachers report feeling safe in school—but they also report more bullying than at other schools. Teachers are less experienced and leave more frequently, according to the most recent New York State data. 

The school is working on the climate. “We are a zero-tolerance school,” Zayas says. “As soon as we see something happen, we take action so no students feel unsafe.” 

As a College Access for All school, UAMA offers several Advanced Placement classes and a college humanities class in partnership with Bard. “It’s going great. Kids love it,” Zayas says. 

Zayas says parents and kids appreciate the free cell phones. Some teachers design lessons around them and students participate in class discussions online. They also use them for research and to log in and check their progress and grades. 

The school, which no longer has an affiliation with the Urban Assembly network but has kept its UAMA name, is located in the Water's Edge Educational Campus, a building it shares with Science Skills High School and Brooklyn International High School. Students may participate in Water’s Edge Campus sports, according to the school handbook.

ADMISSIONS: Preference is given to Brooklyn students and residents. (Lydie Raschka, web reports and interview, April 2018)    

School Stats


How many students 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

Advanced Foreign Language


AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science


AP/IB Math or Science

Not offered in 2019-20


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

The Bard Early College Academy at UAMA

Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.

Program Description:

The Bard Early College Academy is an early college partnership that establishes a satellite campus of Bard College at UAMA. The early college partnership enables students in 11th and 12th grade to enroll as part-time undergraduate students of Bard College, where they can earn up to sixteen tuition-free college credits concurrently with their high school studies. All class take place at UAMA.


From the 2021 High School Directory

Language Courses


Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP English Language and Composition, AP Psychology, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Human Geography, AP World History: Modern

Boys PSAL teams

Bowling, Soccer

Girls PSAL teams

Bowling, Soccer

Coed PSAL teams


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

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location


49 Flatbush Avenue Extension
Brooklyn NY 11201

Trains: 2 Line, 3 Line, 4 Line, 5 Line to Borough Hall; A Line, C Line to High St; B Line, Q Line to DeKalb Ave; F Line to York St; R Line to Jay St-MetroTech

Buses: B103, B25, B26, B38, B41, B45, B52, B54, B57, B61, B62, B65, B67, B69


Principal: Paul Thompson

Parent Coordinator: Cierra Copeland


Other Details

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the Water's Edge Educational Campus with two other schools

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? No

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