Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School

Grades: 9-12
Staff Pick

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)

School Stats

Academics

School
Citywide
How many students graduate in 4 years?
 
99%
How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
 
98%
Average daily attendance
 
95%
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
 
11%
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
 
89%
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
 
90%
From the 2020-21 School Quality Guide and 2020-21 NYC School Survey

Students

868
Number of students
624 Citywide Average

Race/Ethnicity


School
Citywide
Low-income students
 
31%
Students with disabilities
 
18%
Multilingual learners
 
1%
From the 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

Safety & Vibe

School
Citywide
How many students were suspended?
 
0%
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
 
96%
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
 
15%
How many students say that some are bullied at their school because of their gender or sexual orientation?
 
10%
From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey and 2019-20 NY State Report Card

Faculty & Staff

School
Citywide
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
 
94%
4.0
Years of principal experience at this school
7 Citywide Average
170
Number of students for each guidance counselor or social worker
157 Citywide Average

Teachers’ Race/Ethnicity


How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
 
98%
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

Calculus

 
16%

Computer Science

 
4%

Physics

 
15%

Advanced Foreign Language

 
13%

AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science

 
59%

AP/IB Math or Science

 
20%

Music

 
65%
From unpublished, anonymized data from the 2019-20 school year provided by the New York State Education Department, brought to you by

College Readiness

School
Citywide
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
 
91%
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
 
99%
From the 2020-21 School Quality Guide
How many students filled out a FAFSA form by the end of their senior year?
 
89%
From the 2020-21 FAFSA data released by Federal Student Aid, brought you by
How many graduates of this school received Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funding to attend a NYS college?
 
29%
How many of those TAP recipients made it through college? Learn more
From unpublished, anonymized student-level data for the class of 2014 provided by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) in coordination with the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), brought to 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

Film and Media Arts

Admissions Method: Audition

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Offerings

From the 2021 High School Directory

Language Courses

Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Art History, AP Environmental Science, AP English Language and Composition, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP Calculus AB, AP Biology, AP World History: Modern, AP Seminar, AP 2-D Art and Design, AP English Literature and Composition, AP United States History, AP Computer Science Principles, AP Music Theory

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

35-12 35th Avenue
Astoria NY 11106

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

Website

Other Details

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Uniforms required? No
Metal detectors? No

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