P.S./I.S. 266

An Insideschools pick
74-10 COMMONWEALTH BOULEVARD
QUEENS NY 11426 Map
Phone: (718) 479-3920
Website: Click here
Admissions: District-wide lottery
Principal: Christina Catalano
Neighborhood: Bellerose
District: 26
Grade range: PK-8
Parent Coordinator: LORILYN NESTOR
Number of full-day PK seats: 18
Extended PK hours offered: Contact program about extended hours.
Unzoned
Full Day
School-based pre-k

What's special:

Bright, cheerful facility, diverse pre-k to 8 school

The downside:

Students from far-flung neighborhoods must be driven or take buses to school

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Located in a bright airy facility on the Frank Padavan campus in eastern Queens, PS/IS 266 is a welcoming pre-k through 8 school whose students come from across District 26. Along with the usual academics, PS/IS 266 offers Spanish for all students starting in 1st grade, character education programs and music and art classes.

Students, selected by lottery, come from far-flung neighborhoods—Fresh Meadows to Bellerose. On the plus side, that creates a diverse school; a downside is that almost all students must take buses or cars to get there and may live far from one another. School-sponsored clubs and special programs give the children the sense of community they might have in a neighborhood school.

While the school's test scores are quite high, Principal Nicole Scott believes what most distinguishes the school is its emphasis on the whole child. All grades participate in a character education program based on values promoted by the late UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. Every month all students in kindergarten through 8th grade read the same book—each one geared to a specific trait, such as loyalty—and do an activity related to it. The school recognizes students for acts of kindness and promotes activities such as a school-wide effort to make blankets for a woman's shelter.

During our visit, we saw an 8th grade student comforting a 5th-grader in the hallway. The younger child was upset because an upcoming presentation had given her a bad case of stage fright, the older girl explained.

"In our kids, the social emotional piece is so critical. If these things are not in place, it's very hard to get them to be accountable for the academic piece." Scott says.

Instruction is mostly traditional, with the teacher at the front of the room and children reading the same book. In one class we visited, students spent a fair amount of time copying an assignment. But there is also time for class discussions: 5th-graders weighed in on various ways to compute the volume of a complex shape, while 2nd-graders offered theories as to why a character in a book they were reading was so cranky. One said, "I think he's feeling jealous because they're treating his house badly." The teacher nodded, but added, "I don't know if  'jealous' is the right word." "Defeated," a girl suggested.

Parents appreciate the continuity of a k–8 school, and staffers work hard to make sure students in grades 6–8 do not feel deprived of a middle school experience. An accelerated program for some 7th- and 8th-graders enables them to take the Earth Science and Algebra 1 Regents exams.

All students in the elementary grades take visual art and music. At the end of 5th grade, children opt to specialize in either of those areas or in technology for the next three years. Everyone takes Spanish starting in 1st grade. This allows many 8th-graders to pass the language proficiency exam.

PS/IS 266 offers extra help, including one-on-one instruction and small group sessions, for struggling students. For two months before the state standardized tests in April, students in danger of not doing well can attend an after-school program. Saturday preparation classes are also available for any student who wants to attend.

Kindergartners get less time to play than they once did, Scott said but it's not all academics. On the day we visited, "Professor Bread" was on hand to help kids bake. As the children shook jars with cream—"Shake, Shake, Shake, Butter we will make," the professor removed bread from the oven and set it aside for a few minutes, so it could be slathered and—best of all—tasted.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers a range of services, including self-contained classes and some team-teaching. PS/IS 266 shares its building with a District 75 program for middle school students with more serious disabilities. Some of those students attend PS/IS 266 classes for part of the day, and they participate in a buddy program with IS 266 children.

ADMISSIONS: Students are admitted by lottery. Most children who start in kindergarten remain at the school through 8th grade. (Gail Robinson, May 2016)

 

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares a campus with PS/IS 208 and the Queens High School of Teaching, Liberal Arts and the Sciences

Number of Students 663

Average Daily Attendance 97%

Students at this school

Asian

  
43%

Black

  
14%

Hispanic

  
24%

White

  
17%

Free Lunch

  
49%

Special ed

  
16%

English Language Learners

  
3%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?

97% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average middle school english class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

94% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

5% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

How many teachers say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep students engaged?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school does a good job teaching social-emotional skills?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school does a good job teaching organizational and study skills?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam

62% 40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam

62% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 8th grades pass high school regents exams?

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass the algebra regents:

29% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass a science regents:

31% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the school survey?

73% 59% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say they attended at least one pta meeting in the last school year?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Does the school encourage family involvement?

How many parents say they were invited to an event at the school at least 3 times in the last school year?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

NA 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

13% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

21% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

27% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

10% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say students with disabilities are included in all activities?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say students with special needs are educated in the least restrictive environment appropriate?

91% 91% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents of students with ieps say this school offers a wide enough variety of services and activities for their children’s needs?

89% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school ensures that ells receive the same curriculum as non-ells with appropriate suppports?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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