P.S. 35 The Clove Valley School
STATEN ISLAND NY 10301 Map
P.S. 35 The Clove Valley School
PS 35 The Clove Valley School is one of the highest performing schools on Staten Island even though there is little homework and few tests. It is nestled in leafy, upscale Grymes Hill, on a street with neat brick homes and tidy front lawns, at the edge of Wagner College Campus.
Many parents of current students attended this neighborhood school, as did their cousins, siblings and some of their parents before them.
The school earned a national Blue Ribbon School of Excellence award in 2016. It was graded "well developed" on the city's "quality review," the highest rating a school can receive.
Children are not tested in class as often as at some schools during the year, yet standardized state test scores are above the citywide average in reading and math. A few months before the test, about 50 children in grades 3 to 5 prepare for the test after school in two-hour blocks instead of during regular school hours.
Principal Melissa Garofalo took the helm in 2007. She is a former reading teacher and literacy coach who holds a master's degree from Teacher's College, Columbia University. [Photo of Garofalo with students from the US Dept. of Ed. National Blue Ribbon Schools Program page]
Parent coordinator Margaret Feminella said the principal frequently observes classes and joins discussions. "There's always a lot of group work going on in the classroom," she added.
One of Garofalo's initiatives has been small class size in the early grades. She has also created a departmentalized focus for 4th and 5th grade students, who change classrooms for different subjects, much as they will once they enter middle school. This allows teachers to specialize in one subject such as math or reading.
Garofalo advocates minimal homework. "There is really not a lot of research that says homework leads to academic success in elementary schools," she told the Staten Island Advance.
"We really want kids to be kids," she added. "Research shows kids who eat dinner with their families and actually talk and have conversations do perform better. They learn better when they discuss and can engage in conversation."
With only 15 classrooms and one multi-purpose room serving as the gym, cafeteria, and auditorium, instruction happens in every corner. A few closets have been converted to mini offices. The schoolyard is undergoing renovation and the heating system is getting an upgrade.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: Team-teaching classrooms mix students with disabilities, and typically developing kids together, so they can all learn from each other.
ADMISSIONS: PS 35 is a neighborhood school. After graduation, most students attend middle school at IS 27 and IS 61 on Staten Island. (Lydie Raschka, news report, school data, March 2017
At a glance
Number of Students 373
Average Daily Attendance 94%
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?100% 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?92% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?14% 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 does not offer self-contained classes.
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:36% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:18% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school offers team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:13% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:25% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:33% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:0% 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?