Marta Valle High School

Grades 9-12
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What’s Special

A range of extra programs for students.

The Downside

Attendance and test scores have a ways to go. Discipline problems.

Our Review

Marta Valle is a small high school with a focus on the arts and a range of extra programs to help students with leadership skills, writing, relationships, getting ready for college and more. Over the years the school has struggled with poor attendance and low test scores. Principal Mimi Fortunato, an educator with over 30 years of experience, is working to move past the school's former labels as "persistently dangerous" and a "School in Need of Improvement." She has begun to add more community partnerships and to build up the arts. "We have created a really unique home for a wide range of students who haven't necessarily bought into the idea of high school," she told us. [Mimi Fortunato left in 2013. Her successor is Jannett Bailey, a former assistant principal of Mott Hall High School.]

Creative talents are showcased in an annual film festival, a gallery show, a style show and music and dance performances. "We have a creative kind of student in our school," said Alicia Carlson, coordinator of student activities. Kids said they enjoy electives like dance, marine biology, video production, or culinary arts in the professional kitchen. "We are really good at building community and making everybody feel at home," said Carlson.

Students are supported in a variety of ways. Small groups meet with teachers three times a week to address social and academic concerns. A group called the Relationship Abuse Prevention Program comes in to promote healthy relationships. Teachers follow a ladder of referrals for students who misbehave. Students get extra help with writing through collaborations with Williams College, Sarah Lawrence and NYU. Teachers are available during "Caf Club" (lunch) as well as before, during and after school, and there is help offered on Saturday too. Students can work in the library beyond school hours to catch up on missing credits. Uniforms are not required but there is a dress code to ensure no one wears cut-offs, ripped jeans, do-rags or hats. "There have been a lot of positive changes in terms of behavior and academics," said the dean. In 2011, the four-year graduation rate still fell short of the city averages but the six-year graduation rate had increased by 14 percentage points since Fortunato arrived in 2009.

Still, attendance is low. Students arrive with many needs and usually are performing below grade level. On the 2011 Learning Environment Survey, close to half of teachers said that order and discipline were not maintained at the school and that they do not get the support they needed to address behavior problems. A similar number said the principal was not an effective manager.

School leaders are trying to offer opportunities for higher performing students. Bright learners can take college courses on Saturdays at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. There are honors classes and Advanced Placement courses in calculus, physics and English. Select seniors go though training with the Princeton Center for Leadership to learn how to mentor incoming 9th graders. Mentors might lead a session on the importance of not missing school; an important theme since the school is working to boost its attendance rate.

Only about one-third of the families at Marta Valle live locally, and this makes parent involvement challenging. The school offers monthly workshops, has a parent resource room and hosts breakfasts with the principal. The school's well-organized website has up-to-date details on classes, sports and other extracurricular activities.

College Admissions: Most students who graduate go to a CUNY school or join the military. A full-time college office is staffed for ten periods each day. A community coordinator (a former college advisor) helps out, as does a teacher who assists for part of each day. Monthly college trips, workshops and an annual college fair allow students to explore possibilities. A partnership with College for Every Student offers additional expertise.

Special Education: The school has a large number of special education students. Special education teachers support children in self-contained classrooms and in classrooms that mix general and special needs students with two teachers. "We work on building independence, on creating the right environment for individual learning styles," said a special education teacher.

Admissions: Educational option: half of the incoming class is randomly assigned by the Department of Education and the other half is selected on the basis of seventh grade final report card grades, attendance, and guidance recommendations. The educational option formula is designed to ensure a mix of low, average and high achieving students. Priority is given to District 1 students. (Lydie Raschka, interviews at the high school fair, October 2011; new principal update December 2014)

About the students

Enrollment
204
Asian
2.9%
Black
35.3%
Hispanic
59.3%
White
2.0%
Other
0.5%
Free or reduced priced lunch
91%
Students with disabilities
29%
English language learners
9%
Male
38%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares a building with the School for Global Leaders and Lower East Side Prep HS
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
56%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
81%
85% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
62%
42% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
27%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
31%
37% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
90%
85% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
49%
57% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
1.0
5.3 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
38%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
57%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
44%
80% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
74%
73% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96%
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
57%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
44%
86% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 6 dedicated spaces for Dance, Music, Theater, Visual arts, and Media arts
This school has 3 licensed arts teacher in Visual arts (part-time), Music, and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
61%
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
41%
54% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
58%
71% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
59%
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
5%
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
18%
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
21%
32% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
32%
41% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
35%
63% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
25%
65% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
69%
68% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
75%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
75%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
75%
90% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
15%
60% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Marta Valle High School
Admissions Method: Ed. Opt.
Program Description

Includes course offerings in Digital Photography, Web Design; Visual, Performing and Culinary Arts, Video, Music Engineering.

Academics

Language Courses

French, Spanish

Sports

Boys PSAL teams

Basketball

Girls PSAL teams

Badminton, 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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Location

145 Stanton Street
Manhattan NY 10002
Lower East Side (District 1)

Contact

Phone
212-473-8152
Principal
Steven Aragona
Parent Coordinator
Ricardo Rivera