P.S. 184 Shuang Wen

327 CHERRY STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10002 Map
Phone: (212) 602-9700
Website: Click here
Admissions: District 1 lottery
Principal: Iris Chiu
Neighborhood: Lower East Side/ Chinatown
District:1
Grade range: PK-8
Parent Coordinator: MEISHENG MCCABE
Unzoned
Dual Language

What's special:

Dual language program in Mandarin and English

The downside:

Recovering from internal battles

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Shuang Wen has long been a top-scoring school serving primarily Asian families who want their children to be fluent in both English and Mandarin. Under new leadership, the school has become more welcoming to non-Asian children who want to learn Mandarin.

Under the previous administration, children learned English during the regular school day and Mandarin in an afterschool program, for which there is a fee. The new principal, Iris Chiu, has put in place classes that alternate instruction in Mandarin and English during the day, so that children who do not attend the afterschool still have a chance to learn the language.

A "success story" for years, this popular school has long boasted high test scores and excellent admissions into selective high schools. The school has marshaled significant resources for a huge library, two science labs, a beautiful dance studio and an abundance of computers.

But suspicions surfaced that the former administration was hand-picking students in what was supposed to be a district-wide lottery. The concerns were highlighted by the fact that year after year, the population of the school failed to reflect the racial make-up of the district. PS 184 is directly across the street from a public housing complex where the majority of residents are African-American. "A lot of people just assumed it was a private school," said one community leader, "because they saw limousines dropping kids off and mostly Asian kids going in."

The Department of Education eventually uncovered 16 substantiated allegations of misconduct by former principal, Ling Ling Chou, according to DNAinfo. The DOE has filed charges to have her license removed. Chou was charged with manipulating the attendance rate and admitting students improperly in favor of Asian families.

Chiu, the new principal, joined the fray in 2011 at the height of the controversy and took the brunt of anger from parents who sided with the former principal. She has not taken the on-going protests – and even the death threats she has received – personally: “Parents were angry because of the sudden change,” she said. “They needed an outlet for their anger. I know it’s not about me. I feel for the community. It’s precious to have a good school in a community.”

Fortunately, Chiu has had experience working in lightening-rod positions before, most notably as the assistant principal of guidance at Lafayette High School during a time when the school drew lawsuits over bullying of Asian-American students by African-Americans. Chiu used the arts to integrate the student body. “Harmony can only be built through relationships,” she said. “Through true interactions. Not in segregated classes.” At PS 184 she and her staff have adopted a conflict resolution program to help kids learn talk to each other about differences as the student body becomes more integrated.

Determined to make the school stronger, Chiu has poured money into professional development for her teachers, many of whom are licensed bilingual teachers. One of the most positive changes, according to a parent, is the emphasis on grammar and writing. The walls are filled with writing samples in both Chinese and English, and in both languages children sounds out words phonetically to express their ideas and then work towards mastery of conventional spelling as they gain skills.

Ideally, a dual language program is a 50/50 split of children who are dominant in each language but the majority here are still native Mandarin speakers. On our visit we counted about 3-5 non-Asian students in each dual language classroom.

There is on-going friction between the administration and Shuang Wen Academy Network (SWAN), which offers Mandarin classes after school for a fee. The program was always meant to be optional, but under the former principal it was not. Although fewer families participate in the $1,200 a year program because they are learning Mandarin in the dual language classes, it continues to occupy every classroom after-school, so there is no space for the free Asian-themed arts classes Chiu wants to offer including Chinese dance and Shadow Box Theater.

Special education: Staffers mix some of the brightest children in general education with those who have special needs in team-taught classes.

Admissions: Lottery conducted by the Department of Education with a strictly enforced District 1 priority and sibling preference. (Lydie Raschka, October 2013)

 

 

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 668

Average Daily Attendance 99%

Students at this school

Asian

  
78%

Black

  
3%

Hispanic

  
8%

White

  
8%

Free Lunch

  
71%

Special ed

  
10%

English Language Learners

  
14%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

21% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

88% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

22 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

34 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average middle school english class

28 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

56% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

64% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

2% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

56% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

76% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

88% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 math exam

84% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ela exam

70% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

97% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 science exam

98% 59% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 8th grades pass high school regents exams?

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass the algebra regents:

95% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass a science regents:

0% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the 2014 school survey?

86% 62% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

73% 69% 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?

64% 71% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

86% 93% 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:

NA 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

67% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

25% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

65% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

41% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

97% 97% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

84% 87% 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?

91% 88% 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:

32% 4% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

38% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

64% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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