P.S. 208 Alain L. Locke

21 WEST 111 STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10026 Map
Phone: (212) 534-9580
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood; magnet
Principal: Susan M. Green
Neighborhood: Harlem
District:3
Grade range: 3-5
Parent Coordinator: YISELL ALCANTARA
Zoned

What's special:

Laptops for every student; learning garden; nature awareness program.

The downside:

Below average test scores.

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

At PS 208, the Alain L. Locke Magnet School for Environmental Stewardship, students learn to grow vegetables without soil, build shelters in Central Park and study environmental challenges in their community and around the world. The school, which serves students in 3rd to 5th grade, has room for children living outside its zone. In 2010 it received a federal magnet grant designed to increase enrollment and make the school more racially and economically diverse.

Students benefit from lots of technology, a renovated outdoor playground and a budget to fund trips and a Saturday academy. On our visit we saw many creative projects and teachers putting a lot of effort into lessons in orderly classrooms. Test scores, however, are low and student attendance could use improvement.

As a school that starts in 3rd grade, the first year that students sit for state exams, PS 208 is in the precarious position of being held accountable for achievement without having any control over what students learn in the grades leading up to the state tests. Since most graduates of PS 185, an early childhood school housed in the same facilities, attend PS 208, teachers from the two schools collaborate to make sure that instruction in PS 185’s 2nd grade classes covers the skills students will need at the start of 3rd grade.

PS 208 participates in iZone360, the Department of Education’s technology initiative aimed at helping schools redesign instruction. Every student gets their own laptop to use in class, and 5th graders also have access to iPads.

The school-wide environmental theme is woven into all areas of learning. Through a partnership with the Children of the Earth Foundation, classes take regular trips to Central Park to learn about local vegetation, animal tracking and wilderness survival skills. “Central Park has become one of our classrooms,” said Principal Susan Green, who has led the school since 2006.

Students are also challenged to be good stewards of their education and their environment. Children earn tickets for kind acts and good behavior, which can be redeemed for occasional treats and privileges. Teachers also keep track of the frequency and kinds of good behavior exhibited by their students so that they can identify skills that need to be worked on.

The school is housed in a two-building complex that it shares with several small elementary schools including PS 185, which also received a magnet grant. Other schools on the premises include Harlem Link Charter School and PS 226, a small program run by District 75, the citywide district for students with severe disabilities Harlem Success Academy 2 is slated to open several classes of 5th graders in the building for the 2012-13 school year.

Parent involvement is improving. “We’ve always had fundraising and parent volunteers, but now with the magnet money, we have more events,” said a parent who described the changes generated by the magnet grant a “burst of energy” at the school. To bring more parents into the fold, the school sponsors monthly events like coffee with Principal Green, healthy cooking classes, and open school Fridays where parents visit their children’s classrooms.  

Special education: There are self-contained and ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) classes.

After school: Play Rugby USA sponsors a program onsite. Homework help and test prep are offered after school. The school runs a Saturday program from 9 a.m. to noon that offers academic help as well as trips and sports activities.

Admissions: Neighborhood school. District 3 students who are not zoned for the school can apply by completing the District 3 magnet application. There are separate applications for admission to the lower and upper grades. Residents in other districts will be considered for admission if space is available after all zoned and District 3 residents are placed. (Laura Zingmond, March 2012)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Number of Students 164

Average Daily Attendance 91%

Students at this school

Asian

  
1%

Black

  
62%

Hispanic

  
34%

White

  
2%

Free Lunch

  
95%

Special ed

  
27%

English Language Learners

  
11%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

36% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

64% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

NA 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

21 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

64% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

50% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

33% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

79% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

71% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

79% 91% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 math exam

17% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ela exam

13% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 science exam

83% 86% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the 2014 school survey?

99% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say they attended at least one pta meeting in the 2013-2014 school year?

74% 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 2013-2014 school year?

79% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

93% 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 2014 math exam:

0% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ELA exam:

6% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 math exam:

12% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ELA exam:

4% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 math exam:

0% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ELA exam:

0% 7% 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?

85% 89% 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?

97% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ELA exam:

0% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ELA exam:

18% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 90% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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