Gotham Professional Arts Academy

Grades: 9-12

Our Insights

What’s Special

Small class sizes; rich arts; social justice focus

The Downside

No dedicated gymnasium; attendance has a ways to go

Gotham Professional Arts Academy offers art, theater and a social justice focus in a nontraditional setting. The school is small, as are class sizes. It is open citywide. No arts portfolio is required for admission.

Gotham is part of the New York Performance Standards Consortium, a group of schools exempt from administering all but the English Regents exam. Eleventh- and 12th-graders must complete research projects called PBATs (performance based assessment tasks), in English, math, history, art and science on topics of their choosing. PBAT’s are meaty, academic projects based on research in scholarly articles. Past project titles include “The Effects of Aromatherapy on Earthworm Body Growth” and “A Novel Protocol in Flower Presentation.”

Most classes are structured around themes. Some have unconventional names, such as an English class called “Death and Dystopia,” and a history class called “Black Sails and Pirates.” Lessons do not take place only within the school building. In a course called “Hidden NYC,” exploring difficult aspects of our city’s past, teens visited the hangman tree in Washington Square Park.

The school has an ambitious social justice focus. A chemistry and physics teacher took 30 students to Flint, Michigan, for example, as the culmination of a unit on lead contamination. Rather than relying only on textbooks, lessons draw from current events. In 2018, students followed the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, which comemorates thousands of African Americans killed in racist lynchings, and tied this into an exploration about who is honored and who is not in New York City’s monuments. 

Delivering on its theme, Gotham offers students instruction in drama, visual arts, and art criticism. Freshmen take six-week rotations in each area before choosing one to focus on through graduation. The art criticism concentration gives students an idea of the business side of art and culminates with students working as “art educators” at the Whitney Museum. The school offers American Sign Language as its second language.

Principal since 2018, Robert Michelin earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and African-American studies at Williams College, and has three master’s degrees: two in education and one in Ethnomusicology from the University of London. He taught previously at Humanities Prep, and Institute for Collaborative Education. 

Michelin wants students to “understand the impact of art more than the production of art,” he said. Students visit Mass MoCA, in an old factory, to explore unusual art spaces, and work with local artists and galleries in Brooklyn. They curate a “pop up” art show in hallway and classroom spaces. Gotham has its own music studio, and a rare ethnomusicology library collection. 

The school faces some challenges. Its attendance rate is low, but the younger grades have the best attendance, Michelin said, and he hopes to continue to instill strong habits from the youngest up. Most incoming students attend a summer bridge program, which focuses on school routines and foundational skills in math and English. 

Many graduates attend four-year CUNY Colleges. A couple of recent graduates were admitted to NYU and Hofstra on full scholarships. Other college acceptances include SUNY Albany, SUNY New Paltz, Hunter College and Baruch College. 

Gotham shares a building with ACORN Community High School. Although close to bus lines, it is about a ten-minute walk from the nearest subway. The building features science labs, a dance studio, a media lab, a library and a black box theater, but no dedicated gymnasium. Students may walk to nearby Paul Robeson High School to take part in a sports team, or join a Road Runner’s club based at Gotham.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT (integrated collaborative teaching) and self-contained classes. 

ADMISSIONS: Open to students citywide.  (Lydie Raschka, web reports and interviews, November 2019).



School Stats


How many students graduate in 4 years?
How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
Average daily attendance
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
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?
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
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



Computer Science




Advanced Foreign Language

Not offered in 2019-20

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
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

Gotham Professional Arts Academy

Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.

Program Description:

All students complete five Performance-Based Assessment Tasks (PBATs) in English, Math, Social Studies, Science and Art. The PBATs are designed to prepare students for college and careers by focusing on writing, critical thinking, oral presentation, and original research. For their art PBAT, students select their own area of Art focus: Visual Art, Art Criticism, or Theater/Acting. No art portfolio is required for admission to Gotham Academy, but an Art PBAT is required for graduation.


From the 2021 High School Directory

Language Courses

American Sign Language

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP 2-D Art and Design, AP Physics 1, AP Statistics, AP Computer Science Principles

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

NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location


561 Grand Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11238

Trains: C Line to Clinton/Washington; 2 Line, 3 Line, 4 Line, 5 Line to Franklin Avenue

Buses: B25,B26,B65,B48,B45


Principal: Robert Michelin

Parent Coordinator: Diamond Stanislaus


Other Details

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? No


  • Is this your school? Please post any news, updates, events, changes, or other information!
  • We welcome questions, open discussions, and disagreements but comments with personal attacks, rude language, or those with seemingly malicious intent will be deleted.
  • Very long comments, those that contain links, or repeat comments may be blocked by our spam filter.
  • Problems? email us at [email protected].
  • Users must comply with our Terms of Use.