Arts focus; longer school day
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)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
CalculusNot offered in 2019-20
PhysicsNot offered in 2019-20
Advanced Foreign Language
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or ScienceNot offered in 2019-20
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
The Bard Early College Academy at UAMA
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.
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
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
Girls PSAL teams
Coed PSAL teams
Contact & Location
49 Flatbush Avenue Extension
Brooklyn NY 11201
Trains: , , , to Borough Hall; , to High St; , to DeKalb Ave; to York St; to Jay St-MetroTech
Buses: B103, B25, B26, B38, B41, B45, B52, B54, B57, B61, B62, B65, B67, B69
This school shares the Water's Edge Educational Campus with two other schools
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Brooklyn, NY 11201
Brooklyn, NY 11201