P.S. 199 Jessie Isador Straus
MANHATTAN NY 10023 Map
P.S. 199 Jessie Isador Straus
A unified staff with a shared vision of education, an active parent organization and an emphasis on inclusion make PS 199 one of the most sought-after schools in the district. The school is known for its sensitive mingling of special needs and general education students. "We do as much mainstreaming as we can," said Principal Katy Rosen, who taught at the school beginning in 1992 and was assistant principal before becoming principal. [Katy Rosen retired in 2014. Her successor is Louise Xerri, formerly assistant principal at the school.]
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. On our visit the 2nd-grade chorus practiced in the auditorium, accompanied on piano by the music teacher, a Manhattan School of Music–trained musician whose daughter was a PS 199 student.
Parents are firm advocates for the school. On our visit one parent worked out a backup plan with an office staff member to avoid "wheelchairs waiting in the cold," which occurred apparently due to an aide's absence. "I enjoy coming in because I get to see what my child's doing, and I learn how to help him," said another, Kwee Huang, hanging art in a hallway display case.
Teachers have ongoing support from a literacy coach, and results were evident in the depth and volume of student writing. Posted outside a 4th-grade classroom were typed essays on self-selected topics like "Letting Your Child Walk to School by Himself." The philosophy at PS 199 is that children learn best in mixed-ability groups where peers can share knowledge. "Realistic fiction is things that can happen, but it's not real," said a 2nd-grade girl. "Is Voldemort real?" the boy sitting next to her asked. "No," she replied.
The Everyday Math curriculum incorporates math games and paper-and-pencil work. Teachers use hands-on science kits in the younger classrooms. Third and 4th graders are taught by a science teacher. A chef visits on Cafe Day to allow children to sample specialties like Asian salad or pasta Bolognese.
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.
In a 2nd-grade classroom a chart, called a "work behavior guide," had clothespins with children's names clipped to one of three possible words, "Wow," "So-So," and "Whoops," to keep kids on track. Between classes, children walked in calm but not silent lines. When one student shushed a peer in the hallway, a teacher asked, "Can you think of another way to ask someone to be quiet?"
The staff is learning to incorporate a wealth of new technology from SMARTboards to Flip video cameras. Students present group science projects using document cameras-overhead projectors that do not require transparencies-and use laptops in media class to make graphs, practice typing skills and supplement classroom work.
Special Education: One of the city's first barrier-free schools, PS 199 has a legacy of serving students with physical challenges. Students with all types of disabilities, depending on the level of support they need, are enrolled in either the general or special education classrooms.
Admission: Neighborhood school. New construction in the area has caused overcrowding at the school. In 2015 there was a waitlist for zoned kindergartners. Class size was up to 32 students in each 1st grade class, a parent said. (Lydie Raschka, January 2011; new principal update December 2014; admissions update, July 2015)
At a glance
Number of Students 889
Average Daily Attendance 96%
Safety & vibe
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 class25 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade class25 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
How many students are chronically absent?6% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam
Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam
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?
This school does not offer self-contained classes.
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school does not offer team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 18% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school offers SETSS.
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:39% 16% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:24% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many parents say students with disabilities are included in all activities?
How many teachers say students with special needs are educated in the least restrictive environment appropriate?
How many parents of students with ieps say this school offers a wide enough variety of services and activities for their children’s needs?