P.S. 242 The Young Diplomats Magnet Academy
MANHATTAN NY 10027 Map
P.S. 242 The Young Diplomats Magnet Academy
Extended PK hours offered: Yes
In 2010, PS 242 changed its name to Young Diplomats Magnet Academy and began a three-year process to become certified by the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization, a nonprofit group that includes more than 3,158 schools in 140 countries. IB’s rigorous program encourages international awareness and flexible teaching methods. Some teachers are embracing the new school name, mission statement, and direction, while others are reluctant. “The sense of overwhelmingness” has lessened now that training is under way, said Principal Denise Gomez.
The school received a federal magnet grant in June 2011 to provide students with a global perspective for the 21st century by focusing on central principles identified by the curriculum board of the International Baccalaureate Organization based in Cardiff, Wales. Some of these principles include: Communication, Open-mindedness, Caring, Risk-taking, Balance and Reflection."
PS 242, formerly known as the Gwendolyn Powell Brown Computer School, shares a building with Future Leaders Institute Charter School. PS 242 is a small school, and most classes have fewer than 20 students. Because of the concentration of Haitian and African immigrants in the area, the school chose French to meet the IB program’s requirement that all students study a second language. [Note: the school no longer offers French; declining enrollment meant the budget for the French teachers was cut, a school official said.]
A paraprofessional in a special education classroom for 10 years and a teacher of grades 3 and 6, Gomez later trained at the Leadership Academy, the city’s training ground for principals. Given her background she is an advocate for children with special needs. The school has a cozy, informal feel with caring adults willing to work with kids with big challenges, some from nearby shelters. “Go to class, you little chicken wing,” the office secretary affectionately chided a morning straggler. A full-time counselor is available. The Harlem Children’s Zone provides “peacemakers” (an extra adult) for almost every class and offers a Saturday program from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Although PS 242 loses kids to the charter school upstairs, it also gains families who trickle down when things don’t work out there. “We embrace everyone here,” said Assistant Principal Larisa Vail. [More than 40 percent of the chlidren are homeless, according to city data, and the overall attendance rate is below the citywide average. Some 40 percent of children miss more than a month of school.]
Gomez and Vail have promoted more individual and small-group instruction in recent years. In one room half the class worked on tiny laptops with headsets, and the other half sat on the rug for a lesson on triangles. The kids on laptops plugged into programs according to their needs: reading, vocabulary, math. One 5th-grade teacher led a brisk, focused dialogue on reducing fractions. In a 1st-grade Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) class, two teachers worked with separate math groups, while four children sat at desks with workbooks. The workbook questions—adding quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies—quickly became too difficult, however, and those four began to clamor for help.
Bright kids are encouraged to take the eligibility test for a gifted program, and staff escort kids to interviews and tours for middle school. About five kids went to the Delta honors program in 2010.
Special Education: One special education teacher pulls kids out or works in classrooms alongside teachers. There are four ICT (Integrated Co-Teaching) classes in grades K, 1, 2 and 5, with the goal of adding one on every grade level.
Admissions: Neighborhood-zoned school. (Lydie Raschka, March 2011; updated March 2017)
At a glance
Number of Students 214
Average Daily Attendance 90%
Safety & vibe
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?55% 81% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten classNA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade classNA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?74% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?41% 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?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?
This school offers self-contained classes.
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:8% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school offers team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:28% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:7% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 9% 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?