Gotham Professional Arts Academy
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Frequent school trips; small, supportive atmosphere; small class sizes
Graduation and attendance rates need to improve
Gotham Professional Arts Academy suits artsy students who prefer a nontraditional setting. Rather than taking Regents exams in most subjects, students conduct in-depth projects and complete research papers, which they present before a panel of teachers for review. The school is very small, as are class sizes, which allows teachers and staff get to know students very well.
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. For instance the art criticism concentration culminates with students working as “art educators” at the Whitney Museum.
Gotham is part of the New York Performance Standards Consortium, a group of schools exempt from administering all but the English Regents exam. In Consortium schools, teachers delve more deeply into topics and encourage students to be flexible thinkers. Projects, presentations, reading, writing and rich class discussions are emphasized in all grades and subjects. Eleventh- and 12th-graders must complete PBATs (performance based assessment tasks), which involve extensive research and reading as well as writing and presenting papers in English, math, history and science on topics of their own choosing.
The stimulating curriculum does have some payoffs. While the school’s graduation rate falls below the citywide average, among those who graduate, roughly half are ready to tackle college-level work.
Despite its strengths, the school faces challenges. Its attendance rate is low, and many students arrive ill-prepared to do high school work. To help with the transition to the rigor of high school, most attend a short summer bridge program which focuses on school routines and some foundation skills in math and English. The pace of instruction can be slow, but understanding concepts takes precedence over plowing through the curriculum.
Gotham is a Community Learning School (CLS) in partnership with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). As a CLS, Gotham gets extra resources and support to provide academic help, after-school activities, field trips and free admission to performances, including Broadway shows and cultural events. In addition to the UFT, Gotham has an impressive roster of partnerships with organizations such as the Brooklyn Museum, Whitney Museum, Reel Works, the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Broadway Bridges, City Harvest, The Door and Trip of a Lifetime (which funds international travel).
Students learn Spanish. The school fields several girls and boys sports teams.
The school has adopted a “restorative justice” approach to discipline that minimizes suspensions and promotes positive behavior through conversation, reflection and corrective action. All students attend small group advisory sessions where they discuss issues and engage in activities that focus on character development and conflict resolution. Students also learn meditation and can unwind though physical activities such as boxing, weight training and doing yoga.
SAT prep and College Now courses are offered at the school. Many graduates attend four-year CUNY Colleges, though some attend SUNY and private schools.
After 11 years co-located in an elementary school building with PS 40, Gotham will open in a new location inside a high school building that's also home to Acorn Community High School. The new location in Crown Heights is close to several subway and bus lines and features high school facilities such as science labs, a dance studio, media lab, library and black box theater.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT (integrated collaborative teaching) and self-contained classes.
ADMISSIONS: Open to students citywide. (Linda Littlefield/Laura Zingmond, via interview and web reports, April 2018).Read more
Is this school safe and well-run?
From 2018-19 NYC School Survey
From 2017-18 NY State Report Card
From this school's most recent Quality Review Report
How do students perform academically?
Who does this school serve?
From 2018-19 Demographic Snapshot
Programs & Admissions
Comprehensive program of academic and artistic education.
Boys PSAL teams
Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Cross Country, Flag Football, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Volleyball
Contact & Location
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Brooklyn, NY 11238