P.S. 85 Judge Charles Vallone

23-70 31 STREET
QUEENS NY 11105 Map
Phone: (718) 278-3630
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Principal: Ann Gordon Chang
Neighborhood: Ditmars Steinway
District: 30
Grade range: PK-5
Number of full-day PK seats: 72
Extended PK hours offered: Contact program about extended hours.
Zoned
Gifted and Talented
Full Day
School-based pre-k

What's special:

Small class size

The downside:

School is next to elevated tracks of the N and Q lines

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

PS 85 has STEM Academy, the only citywide gifted program in Queens, and the school also serves general education and special needs students. “We’re unique on many levels,” said Principal Ann Gordon-Chang. “We have every type of student in our school.” In 2009 the Science, Technology, Enrichment, and Math (STEM) Academy opened with a kindergarten and 1st grade, drawing active, savvy parents who embrace this diversity.

Every child is offered the same resources, and the parent association is one combined group where money is pooled for the benefit of all. “Whatever lifts up G&T lifts up the whole school,” said a 1st-grade parent from STEM. Parents raised $10,000 during an online auction in 2011 for free after-school clubs, like painting, digital photography, and drums. Clubs are open to children in grades 1 to 5, from 3 to 5 p.m., three days a week. The other after-school program, Serious Fun, costs about $15 per day and runs until 5:45 p.m., five days a week. Parents volunteer at lunch and recess. When children can’t go outside they exercise to a program called Activity Works.

Uniforms of light blue shirts and dark blue pants are gently encouraged. Children are not overly pressured in other areas either. “No one complains about too much homework,” said  another 1st-grade parent whose child is in STEM. “If you want your 1st grader doing 4th-grade math, this isn’t the place for you. Teachers are going to sing with them.” Six-year-olds learned the lyrics to the “59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” in class, and a whole busload sang it while crossing the actual 59th Street bridge on a field trip.

Columbia University doctoral students were piloting iPad apps in 1st grade that teach multiplication games. Kids sat at tables in groups of four or five to take an assessment before trying the app. In the spacious library, the librarian used a SMARTboard to teach 4th graders about animal categories. The school supplements the Everyday Math program with a variety of other resources, and teachers get help from a math coach. A science lab, unusual for an elementary school, is home to fish, a turtle, a guinea pig, an albino frog, and Madagascar cockroaches. 

PS 85 has an abundance of outdoor play space. There’s enough room to separate older and younger kids during recess and dismissal time, and enough for a garden, a greenhouse, and a small climbing wall. The one thing that mars the setting is the elevated tracks of the N and W train lines, which run directly along the front of the building at classroom window height. The rumble of the trains requires teachers to raise their voices or be drowned out, especially during warmer months when open windows must suffice for lack of air-conditioning.

Special Education: Two self-contained classrooms and three Integrated Co-Teaching classes. Grades change year to year as needed.

Admissions: PS 85 is a zoned neighborhood school. There is one G&T class on each grade. Families interested in the STEM program may apply only after their child scores high marks on the Department of Education’s gifted and talented tests. Students need to score at least in the 97th percentile on the G&T tests to qualify. The DOE controls admissions. Spring tours are conducted after test results are announced. In accordance with DOE transportation policy, bus service is available for Queens students living within five miles of the school. Others arrange their own transportation. STEM parents have a Facebook page (STEM @ PS 85 Q) where they share information about carpooling, tours, and more. (Lydie Raschka, May 2011)

 

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Number of Students 593

Average Daily Attendance 94%

Students at this school

Asian

  
18%

Black

  
4%

Hispanic

  
31%

White

  
43%

Free Lunch

  
100%

Special ed

  
11%

English Language Learners

  
9%

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?

76% 81% 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

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

72% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

15% 23% 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 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam

65% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

67% 40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the school survey?

71% 64% 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:

0% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

29% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

29% 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?

83% 93% 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?

82% 86% 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:

25% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

45% 32% 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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