Academy for Careers in Television and Film (ACTV)

Grades 9-12
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Professional-level training in film production and lots of support for students

The Downside

Few extra-curricular activities outside of film production and sports

Our Review

The Academy for Careers in Television & Film (ACTvF) is a small, successful school that delivers on its name. It offers students professional-level training in all aspects of film production as well as internships and paid work in the industry thanks to some big-name partners including Silver Cup Studios, the Tribeca Film Institute and the Museum of the Moving Image. It is an unscreened school that admits a broad range of studentsfrom struggling to high achieversbut its graduation, college attendance and college readiness rates far exceed the citywide average.

ACTvF is located steps from the East River inside a modern, airy building with stunning views of the midtown Manhattan skyline. It shares the facilities with Hunter's Point Community Middle School and the Riverview School, a 6-12 District 75 program for children with severe learning disabilities.

Edgar Rodriguez has been principal since 2013. Previously, he was an assistant principal at ACTvF and a founding staff member,along with Alan Metzger, an award-winning director who designed and oversees the school's film program.

Film studies at ACTvF is an impressive operation. Students have access to a state-of-the-art film library and editing labs, several small sound stages, professional-grade audio and visual equipment, and shops stocked with props, wardrobe, and heavy-duty equipment for set design and construction. Students take field trips to production studios, and often film throughout the neighborhood and along the riverfront. Students run the school's non-profit production company, Next Step Pictures.

Ninth and 10th-graders rotate through classes in business production (budgeting and timelines), post production (video editing, sound mixing and motion graphics), film production (cameras, lighting, and sound), set production (set design and construction), hair, makeup and costumes, and directing (includes screenwriting). At the end of their sophomore year students choose one area to focus on through graduation.

Film classes are held mainly in the afternoon and during our visit we observed a seamless transition between the last class of the day and after-hours film work. As the final period ended, students fanned out across the building to continue working on their filmsediting in labs and shooting scenes in hallways, offices, the cafeteria, and on the sound stages. Some also headed to the waterfront to shoot scenes.

Teachers strive to ensure students at all levels get the right amount of academic support. There are no accelerated classes in the lower grades and for high achievers the pacing of instruction in some courses may seem slow at first. Students we metincluding an Ivy League-bound seniorsaid their teachers compensated by giving them extra and more challenging work. One sophomore said her experience in science classes has motivated her to pursue medicine.

All students study Spanish. Advanced Placement courses are offered in calculus, English, U.S. history and psychology. Instead of taking pre-calculus, juniors who are strong in math serve as teaching assistants in an algebra or geometry class. This helps reinforce their foundational skills before tackling calculus in the 12th grade, according to Rodriguez. The set-up also helps ease students' academic load during a stressful junior year when they're studying for the SATs, participating in internships and working on a year-long film production project, he said. Students may earn college credit by taking free courses at LaGuardia Community College.

The vibe throughout ACTvF is relaxed, friendly and close-knit. Students and administrators are on a first-name basis, and the teachers pay close attention to students' needs. Most teach three sections of classes a day, which is less than the typical load of five. The more manageable instructional schedule allows them to take on other responsibilities. Each teacher serves as the four-year advisor to a small group of students. Teachers meet regularly with their advisory studentsin groups and individuallytokeep tabs on their progress, monitor attendance, address academic and personal issues and help students through the college admissions process.

Students' days are packed with academic and film work and there are limited extra-curricular activities. Offerings include PSAL sports teams, school newspaper, yearbook committee and a few student-run clubs.

Special education: There are ICT classes and SETSS as well as a full-time social worker on staff.

College admissions: Students get a lot of support from their advisors and the school's full-time college counselor. Nearly all students graduate on time, and most attend college after graduation. CUNY and SUNY schools are popular choices; some attend private colleges including a few very competitive schools such as Columbia and New York University.

Admissions: Preference is given to students who attend an open house. The school has far more applicants than seats available. (Laura Zingmond, April 2015)

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2016-17 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
77% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
85% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
37% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
81% Citywide Average

From 2015-16 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
3% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
74% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many students graduate in 4 years?
77% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
37% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
38% Citywide Average
How many graduates stay enrolled in college for at least 3 semesters?
64% Citywide Average

From 2017 NY State Graduation Outcomes

How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
13% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2017-18 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
87% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
37% Citywide Average

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
59% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs and Admissions

Academy for Careers in Television and Film
Admissions Method: Limited Unscreened
Program Description

Comprehensive CTE program in film and TV production that includes hands-on work-based learning experience, alongside a rigorous academic college preparatory program. Priority is given to applicants eligible for Free Lunch for up to 63% of seats.


Language Courses

Italian, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Calculus AB, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Psychology, AP U.S. History


Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Soccer

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Flag Football, Softball, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on the NYCDOE’s School Finder
NYC Department of Education: School Finder

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1-50 51st Avenue
Long Island City NY 11101
Long Island City (District 30)
Trains: 7 to Vernon Blvd-Jackson Ave; G to 21st St
Buses: B32, B43, B62, Q103


Edgar Rodriguez
Parent Coordinator
Nilsa Arboleda

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares a building with Hunter's Point Community Middle School and the Riverview School
Metal detectors?

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