P.S. 199 Jessie Isador Straus

An Insideschools pick
270 WEST 70 STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10023 Map
Phone: (212) 799-1033
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Principal: Louise Xerri
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
District: 3
Grade range: K-5
Parent Coordinator: ALLISON SANSOUCIE
Zoned
Wheelchair Accessible

What's special:

Exciting lessons in every class

The downside:

Waitlist for kindergarten

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

A unified staff with a shared vision of education; an active parent organization; and a long history of stable, effective leadership make PS 199 one of the most sought-after schools in the city. Walk into the school at any time, and you’re likely to see lively instruction and happy, engaged kids in every class.

The school leadership and staff are self-confident enough to resist the latest education fads. Instead, they rely on their long experience to offer a sophisticated approach to teaching writing and math. Student teachers from Teachers College perfect their craft here—and some are hired as regular teachers when they finish their graduate work.

Children learn to read from picture books and children’s literature—not textbooks. The Everyday Math curriculum incorporates math games and paper-and-pencil work. Science involves hands-on projects and exploration. In one class we visited, 3rd-graders learned about adaptation by stroking a live rabbit and pondering why it had eyes on the sides of its head (to better spot predators) and strong back legs (to better escape).

The depth and volume of student writing is impressive. Posted on the walls were thoughtful essays on topics such as “Columbus: Hero or Villain” and lesser known explorers like “Amazing John Cabot and Jacques Cartier.”  

The school boasts big, bright classrooms, a gym with soaring windows, a music room, a wheelchair-accessible playground, two art rooms and a well-equipped library. All classrooms are well-equipped and kid-friendly. Kindergarten classrooms have blocks and play areas; one 5th-grade classroom has comfy sofas. The PTA, which raises more than $800,000 a year, pays for teaching assistants in the lower grades.

“The reason we are able to fill the classrooms with all of these wonderful materials is the PTA,” said longtime parent coordinator Allison Sansoucie, who gave us our tour.

The school has partnerships with several arts organizations, including the New York Philharmonic, Vital Theatre, Lincoln Center Institute and National Dance Institute, whose teaching artists work with each of the 4th-grade classes once a week. A "Special Forces" class combines general education pupils with special needs students, including some in wheelchairs, in a dance collaboration.

New construction in the area has caused overcrowding at the school, and some classes have ballooned to 31 children. In 2015, the Department of Education proposed shrinking the school’s attendance zone and sending new pupils to nearby PS 191. Hundreds of parents protested, and the DOE withdrew the proposal. Nonetheless, rezoning seems inevitable in coming years. The school has had waitlists in kindergarten and 1st and 2nd grades in recent years, and some children who live in the zone have been assigned to nearby PS 452 instead.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: One of the city's first barrier-free schools, PS 199 has a legacy of serving students with physical challenges. The playground is wheelchair accessible.

ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. In recent years, not all children who live in the zone have been offered seats because of overcrowding. (Clara Hemphill, November 2015)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Number of Students 903

Average Daily Attendance 96%

Students at this school

Asian

  
14%

Black

  
2%

Hispanic

  
13%

White

  
63%

Free Lunch

  
7%

Special ed

  
14%

English Language Learners

  
3%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

NA 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 86% 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

26 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

86% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

100% 87% 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?

96% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

92% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

96% 91% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

87% 39% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

74% 30% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

99% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the school survey?

44% 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

77% 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 last school year?

94% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

100% 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 state math exam:

NA 8% 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:

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:

54% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

32% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

99% 98% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

92% 94% 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?

92% 89% 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:

0% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 28% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

96% 90% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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