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Middle School High School

Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School

Grades: 9-12
Staff Pick
35-12 35th Avenue
Astoria NY 11106
Phone: 718-361-9920
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Our Insights

What’s Special

Top-notch, conservatory-style arts instruction; spacious, modern facilities

The Downside

Limited foreign language and elective classes

Frank Sinatra High School is a vibrant, conservatory-style arts school filled with motivated and talented students who are admitted to one of six studios: dance, drama, instrumental music, vocal music, fine arts, and film and media. The school demands a high level of commitment from its students, who, on a typical day, take a full load of academic classes in addition to two or three periods of art classes and then spend a few hours after school rehearsing for a performance, working on projects, or participating in sports or internships.

Frank Sinatra occupies a spacious, modern building filled with professional-grade equipment and facilities, including a large theater named for the schools founder, Tony Bennett. In addition to ongoing support from Bennetts foundation, Exploring the Arts, students benefit from an extensive roster of partnerships with organizations such as the New York Philharmonic, Shubert Foundation, Kaufman-Astoria Studios, American Ballet Theater, Tribeca Film Festival, art conservatories such as Julliard and Manhattan School of Music and several museums and universities.

Art is everywhere--in the air, on the walls and even in the stairwells, where some students steal away for a few minutes to practice their instruments. The atmosphere is relaxed and students seemed genuinely happy and engaged in both their studio and academic classes.

All music classes, instrumental and choral, serve mixed grades. During our visit we heard the symphonic orchestra rehearse Beethoven's "Symphony No. 8 in F Major" and the choral ensemble perform portions of Gabriel Faures "Requiem."

In the black box theater, a drama teacher led his class through some yoga warm-up exercises, while in the Tony Bennett Theater, other theater students worked on the sound, lighting and stage sets. Elsewhere a group of film students were fine-tuning their placement of b-rolls (cutaway footage), voice-overs and music to enhance their films.

In the large art studios, students work with all types of media ranging from charcoal sketches and oil paintings to digital architectural designs and ceramics made in the schools kilns. In dance classes, pianists accompany students as they work through their warm-ups and routines.

Teachers do an impressive job of weaving art and writing into instruction in academic subjects. In physics students show how force and motion make things work by creating 3-D models that demonstrate these principles, such as carousels (centripetal force) and elevators (counter weight impact on velocity). In living environment, they write and illustrate children's books on cell structure. In statistics, they research and write about the lives and contributions of important women in mathematics.

English teachers assign a nice range of literature including novels, plays and memoirs and tie them into studies in other subjects. For instance, 10th-graders read Night, by Elie Wiesel in English at the same time they study World War II in global history. Teachers also emphasize the writing process in addition to teaching how to construct an argument or an essay. In a freshman class we observed, students were completing a free write exercise, jotting down whatever came to mind, to help them cultivate their writer's voice.

While academic instruction is strong, there are some trade-offs. As an art school, Sinatra is only required to offer one year of a foreign language, although it offers two years.  Also, budget and time constraints make it hard to offer many sections of elective and college-level courses. Advanced Placement courses are offered in some subjects and there are a few elective classes such as statistics and forensics. Students can also take courses at LaGuardia Community College.

Gideon Frankel, a former film teacher and assistant principal at the school, became principal after the school's longtime principal, Donna Finn stepped down in 2017.

Sinatra is not a pressure cooker, but students still feel the weight of balancing art and academic commitments. To help keep tabs on students' social and emotional needs, the school provides a range of supports, all concentrated in the large guidance suite, where students can find counselors to offer help and address problems.

A full-time college counselor runs the college office, also located in the guidance suite. Nearly all students graduate on time, and most go on to college. Roughly one-third of graduates pursue careers in the arts, the rest pursue a full range options including engineering and medical professions.

In addition to attending arts schools such as Parsons, School of Visual Arts, Rhode Island School of Design and Julliard, many attend CUNY and SUNY and private colleges.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT classes and SETSS. The school's guidance suite provides work space for speech, physical and occupational therapists and the school psychologist.

ADMISSIONS: Open to students citywide. Admission to all studios is based on an audition plus a review of students' grades, test scores and attendance records. Admitted students may apply to change their studio between freshman and sophomore year. (Laura Zingmond, March 2015; updated, 2018)

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School Stats

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

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2018-19 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
72%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
95%
86% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
20%
37% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
90%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
98%
80% Citywide Average

From 2017-18 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
1%
2% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
94%
75% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school
0.8

How do students perform academically?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many students graduate in 4 years?
96%
80% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
87%
45% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
91%
39% Citywide Average
How many graduates stay enrolled in college for at least 3 semesters?
97%
67% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2018-19 Demographic Snapshot

Enrollment
853
Asian
11%
Black
13%
Hispanic
33%
White
36%
Other
6%
Free or reduced priced lunch
39%
Students with disabilities
19%
English language learners
1%

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
93%
87% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
20%
38% Citywide Average

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
83%
64% Citywide Average


For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

From the 2019 High School Directory

Film and Media Arts
Admissions Method: Audition
Requirements:
  • Attendance
  • Punctuality
  • Course Grades: Average (81-100)
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (3.0-4.5), Math (2.8-4.5)
  • Audition - Go to https://www.myschools.nyc/en/help/high-school/audition-dates/ for information and dates
Program Description:

Study includes text analysis, film as a cultural and historical document, analysis of artist work; courses in video production, film theory and history, industry practices, and legal issues. Students have access to state-of-the-art digital technology.

Fine Arts
Admissions Method: Audition
Requirements:
  • Attendance
  • Punctuality
  • Course Grades: Average (83-100)
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (2.9-4.5), Math (2.6-4.5)
  • Audition - Go to https://www.myschools.nyc/en/help/high-school/audition-dates/ for information and dates
Program Description:

Intensive study of art (theory, production, history, assessment); museum and gallery visits, student exhibitions, visiting artists. Courses-Foundation, 2-D and 3-D Design, Painting, Sculpture, Communication Arts, Print-Making, Portfolio, Digital Photography, and AP Art History.

Instrumental Music
Admissions Method: Audition
Requirements:
  • Attendance
  • Punctuality
  • Course Grades: Average (84-100)
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (3.1-4.5), Math (3.1-4.5)
  • Audition - Go to https://www.myschools.nyc/en/help/high-school/audition-dates/ for information and dates
  • Audition with common components
Program Description:

Small group instruction on orchestral and band instruments; jazz and concert bands, advanced wind ensemble, string and symphonic orchestras, chamber music of all instrument families, theory, ear training, music history and keyboard harmony.

Vocal Music
Admissions Method: Audition
Requirements:
  • Attendance
  • Punctuality
  • Course Grades: Average (79-100)
  • {"url"=>"http://3.0-4.5", "description"=>"Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (3.0-4.5), Math"}
  • Audition - Go to https://www.myschools.nyc/en/help/high-school/audition-dates/ for information and dates
Program Description:

Students perform in the Concert Choir, Chorale, Chamber Singers, musical theater, Great American Songbook ensemble, opera workshop and participate in cabaret; curriculum includes voice training, music theory, keyboard, sight singing, diction, and audition preparation.

Dance
Admissions Method: Audition
Requirements:
  • Attendance
  • Punctuality
  • Course Grades: Average (80-100)
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (2.9-4.5), Math (2.8-4.5)
  • Audition - Go to https://www.myschools.nyc/en/help/high-school/audition-dates/ for information and dates
  • Audition with common components
Program Description:

Ballet, Modern Dance, Dance History, Choreography, and dance criticism courses; Jazz, Tap, Ballroom Dancing, Kinesiology, Anatomy, Career Management, and Dance Production courses; students attend live performances and take part in school productions.

Drama
Admissions Method: Audition
Requirements:
  • Attendance
  • Punctuality
  • Course Grades: Average (83-100)
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (2.9-4.5), Math (3.1-4.5)
  • Audition - Go to https://www.myschools.nyc/en/help/high-school/audition-dates/ for information and dates
Program Description:

A four-year course of study that includes acting technique, scene study, speech for actors, dramatic writing, and course work in performing Shakespeare. The Drama Studio creates main-stage productions each year.

Academics

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Art History, AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Environmental Science, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP United States History, AP World History: Modern

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball

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

Contact & Location

Location

Astoria (District 30)
Trains: M Line, R Line to Steinway St; N Line, W Line to 36th Ave
Buses: Q101, Q102, Q104, Q66

Contact

Principal
Gideon Rafel Frankel
Parent Coordinator
Catherin Marchetta

Other Details

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Metal detectors?
No

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