August 28, 2015
This is a dream school- we moved to NYC from South Florida at the start of our son's sophomore year, and we could not be happier with where he landed. The instrumental studio has such warm, supportive instruction, and the teachers really go the extra mile for the kids, assisting with instrument repair, camp selection, organizing in-school trainings and workshops, and getting them to think about prestigious conservatories vs. less expensive SUNY programs. They get to perform in their totally pro auditorium in totally pro productions at least 5 times a year. Our son was in a consistently top-ten ranked school in the country in Florida where he had 3-4 hours of homework everyday and other horrifyingly "rigorous" responsibilities, and wasn't half as alive and engaged as he is at FSSA. The quality is much more impressive at this school, at least to us. The interaction and projects really help the students dive deep into the comprehension and our dinner-time discussions about what our teenager learned in English or History are so much richer, and he is so much more attune to the nuances and aware and connected to current events and the world around him. They even get to use their talents in those classes- our son has written songs, created books and collages and seen his classmates dance, act and sing their way through their comprehension of literature. We are highly educated parents, so a strong liberal arts foundation is valued and necessary in our household, and is a distinct concern for our performing arts student! So, while there are not a lot of AP options or language classes (the biggest failure is they only go to Spanish II, in my opinion), the classes they do take are with engaging, compassionate and thoughtful instructors. We are in the Band Parents Association and part of the PTA, so we are around the school a lot- it really feels like everybody there knows how lucky they are to be there. There was one instance of cyber bullying which the kids totally self-regulated- dozens of kids came to bat and made the situation right, so the groupthink is definitely on the right side of humanity. We thank our lucky stars almost every week that our kid got into this school. The culture these kids get to be a part of- creation and success- and the access they have to the tools of their trade, and lovely mentors, is like nothing I have ever seen.
- submitted by a parent