P.S. 75 Emily Dickinson

An Insideschools pick

An Insideschools pick for Special Education

735 WEST END AVENUE
MANHATTAN NY 10025 Map
Phone: (212) 866-5400
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Principal: Robert O'Brien
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
District: 3
Grade range: 0K thru 05
Parent Coordinator: ANA GOMEZ

What's special:

Strong dual-language and arts programs, diverse students, healthy lunch

The downside:

Small, noisy cafeteria; minimal technology

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

PS 75 is a diverse school with a cooperative spirit and a strong dual-language program that mixes general and special needs children in some grades. The arts program is tied to academics and is a model for other schools in the city. The school draws a mix of families from co-ops along West End Avenue to nearby housing projects. "Other schools have to teach diversity," said a parent. "The kids here live it."

Students were lively and engaged on our visit. Third graders paired up with kindergarteners to read fun books. In the yoga studio a group sang freedom songs. The youngest children held hands walking down the hall. "We have the nicest kids," said Principal Robert O'Brien.

The school has a well-regarded dual-language program with experienced teachers. My son is "learning how to speak and read in two languages" said a grateful Colombian father who commutes from the Bronx. Unlike some dual language programs, the classes are fairly evenly split between English and Spanish-dominant speakers.

Art is taken seriously at PS 75, as "another entryway into knowing the world," according to Karen Abramovitz who has transformed the program. Students paint self-portraits by checking their expressions in a mirror and mixing paint to get the skin color just right. They create figures and cityscapes, each skill building on the next.

Teachers have been feeling more included in decision-making, according to the Learning Environment Survey. They are bringing in more non-fiction lessons and planning around "big ideas" like "change," which they believe adds rigor and depth to the learning. Fifth-graders read Moby Dick, and Alice in Wonderland—not an easy book, with its playful language—and write alternative endings.

O'Brien feels the integrated art and music programs have long-term benefits that extensive test prep does not and that there is value in not dividing kids into gifted and non-gifted classes, but he also hopes his staff's focus on Common Core State Standards (more non-fiction, more research-based writing) will boost achievement.

Children are offered extra help on Saturdays and after school twice a week. Volunteers from the Jewish Community Center provide one-on-one reading help. Parents of faster learners said they felt their kids were challenged, especially in dual language and, depending on the teacher, in non-dual-language too. Most 5th-graders end up in middle schools like Computer, Delta, Mott Hall II and West Side Collaborative (housed on the top floor of PS 75), according to the guidance counselor.

Parents may escort kindergarten and 1st graders to and from the classroom door. Kindergartners eat lunch in the classrooms. On most days recess is outside but on very cold days children watch movies in the auditorium or play games in the gym.

A parent dietician has worked with cafeteria staff to bring in more fruits, veggies and whole grains. Classes double up so they can have gym twice a week. Ballroom dance and Young People's Chorus are other special offerings.

The cafeteria is noisy, even with one class at a time, but behavior was under control. Soon the pitch-black hallway floor tile will be replaced with something lighter. No SMART boards yet, but 75 laptops are on order.

The school has a flexible and well-run after-school program. Former students fulfill community service hours by teaching guitar, playing sports or helping with homework.

Special education: There are two integrated co-teaching classes on every grade level with two teachers, one of whom is certified in special education. Some are dual language, which is "very rare," according to O'Brien. This school also hosts an ASD Nest Program for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Students with ASD learn in a classroom alongside typically developing children, taught by two teachers who have been trained in the program’s specialized curriculum and teaching strategies.

Admissions: Neighborhood school that admits students from other districts and boroughs to the dual language program. Tours run from October to January. (Lydie Raschka, January 2012)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares its building

Number of Students 607

Average Daily Attendance 93%

Students at this school

Asian

  
4%

Black

  
25%

Hispanic

  
53%

White

  
15%

Free Lunch

  
71%

Special ed

  
23%

English Language Learners

  
15%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

21% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

75% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

25 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

22 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

68% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

83% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

21% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

88% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

74% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

89% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam

36% 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ela exam

24% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 science exam

81% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the 2013 school survey?

47% 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say they attended at least one pta meeting in the 2012-2013 school year?

63% 72% 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 2012-2013 school year?

87% 74% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

96% 94% 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 2013 math exam:

0% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:

17% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

9% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:

NA 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

NA 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

70% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

94% 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?

94% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

3% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

20% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

91% 91% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Comments

Please post comments

  • Give specific examples. Tell us why this school rocks (or doesn't)
  • No profanity. No racial or ethnic slurs. No personal attacks
  • Criticism is fine but don't be nasty.
  • Flag inappropriate comments. (Hover your cursor over comments to see flag)