M.S. 258 Community Action School

An Insideschools pick
An Insideschools pick for Special Education
154 WEST 93 STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10025 Map
Phone: (212) 678-5888
Admissions: Middle School Choice process; some kids from outside district
Principal: JOHN CURRY
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
District:3
Grade range: 6-8
Parent Coordinator: KARLA FITTIPALDI
Unzoned
Wheelchair Accessible

What's special:

Supportive teachers offer extra help and make lessons relevant.

The downside:

No music teacher.

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Students at MS 258 sit up a bit straighter in their chairs when a visitor enters the classroom, yet their attention does not waver from the task at hand – whether it's reading, computing percentages, or learning the tango before a trip to the New Victory Theater. Classrooms are tidy, and students are attentive and polite, wearing light blue polo shirts and dark blue slacks. "This is not a school to play with," said an 8th grader, who confessed he misbehaved at his previous school, but no one took notice, unlike at MS 258. "They take education seriously."

This well-run school displays a winning mix of structure and free expression and earns "A" ratings from the city year after year. Teachers and parents readily say, "I love this school," and a volunteer who meant to stay only a few months is still around four years later. Founding Principal John Curry is outside every day - at the bus stop, at the deli, even phoning a father to let him know his child is on his way home. "We are there for them," said Curry.

Indeed, staff members often stay late and volunteer to help with homework. "They help you walk through the system," said a father from west Africa, who mentioned the time the parent coordinator gave him the number to call to get his child's broken glasses replaced.

In classes, teachers lead relevant discussions that make students sit up and take notice – even if they are a bit passive when it comes to speaking up. One social studies teacher brings up current events, like the Trayvon Martin killing, to draw students out, and it works: "He makes connections with the world, so it's easier to figure it out," grinned a 7th grader.

While reading scores are not as high as math scores, many students say reading is their favorite subject. "[My English teacher] is the only teacher in all eight years of school who got me into reading," said an 8th grader, who got hooked on a book about basketball player LeBron James. Every child reads 20-30 minutes a day and each room has a range of books, including the Nancy Drew series, and graphic novels, along with harder books for mature readers. Children write multiple drafts on essays and reports and learn how to edit each other's papers.

According to the Learning Environment Survey, half of the students said there is some rowdy behavior, but we did not see any on our visit. Students say misbehavior is dealt with through "send outs" – a short time out in another classroom, or loss of privileges, like trips. Some said the school is light on actual community action. "We don't do a lot of service for it to be named that," said an 8th grader.

The building is shared with MS 256 and Manhattan School for Children, a laid-back K-8 school. Some parents grumble that staff members from MSC are not as visible after school as those from CAS, but otherwise they seem to get along fine. After-school clubs include chess, cross-country, soccer, drama, student government, photography and yoga.

Popular high schools include Young Women's Leadership Academy, Manhattan iSchool, East Side Community and Pace, while a handful go to Beacon.

Special education: The school has long been at the forefront of "inclusion," integrating disabled children in general education classes with two teachers. There is also a classroom for children who are cognitively impaired. On the day of our visit, these kids were going to the Special Olympics. All children are mixed together for recess, camping trips and field trips.

Admissions: Middle school choice process. Children are interviewed. Involved parents are a plus, as are children who have a history of working well with others, but the principal stressed that staff work indiscriminately with every child who is admitted. (Lydie Raschka, May 2012)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the former IS 118 building

Number of Students 258

Average Daily Attendance 94%

Uniforms? Yes

Students at this school

Asian

  
1%

Black

  
52%

Hispanic

  
42%

White

  
5%

Free Lunch

  
100%

Special ed

  
30%

English Language Learners

  
5%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: 2.63 2.80 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


1 = Far below grade level 2 = Below grade level 3 = At grade level 4 = Above grade level

Safety & vibe

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

70% 66% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students say this school offers enough programs to keep them interested?

86% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE KIDS NICE?

How many students complain about bullying?

59% 71% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students say students at their school respect one another?

71% 56% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

95% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

90% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

28 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students are chronically absent?

14% 25% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam

12% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ela exam

10% 25% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 science exam

67% 51% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS Prep

How many 8th graders pass high school regents exams?

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

20% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How do graduates do in 9th grade?

Percent who pass all their classes freshman year:

90% 84% 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 2013 math exam:

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

NA 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:

5% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

0% 4% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:

12% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

0% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

0% 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

23% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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