P.S. 372 The Children's School

An Insideschools pick
An Insideschools pick for Special Education
512 CARROLL STREET
BROOKLYN NY 11215 Map
Phone: (718) 624-5271
Admissions: lottery
Principal:
Neighborhood: Park Slope
District:15
Grade range: K-6
Parent Coordinator: ROXANNA VELANDRIA
PC phone: (718) 624-5271
Unzoned

What's special:

Classes mix special education and general education students

The downside:

School is housed somewhat awkwardly in two buildings

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

The Children’s School is one of the most popular schools in Brooklyn and one of the first to mix special needs with general education students in one classroom with two teachers, one of whom is trained in special education. The school has a good teacher-child ratio, a history of parent involvement, and a willingness to adapt lessons to challenge strong students while giving struggling students extra help.

Principal Arthur Mattia“Mr. Artie,” as kids call him–says he puts a premium on listening. “My ideas are shaped around what people are telling me,” he said. “Parents, staff and teachers are driving the school. They’re in the trenches every day.”  He has been at the school since it was founded in 1992 and has been principal since 2004.

Some children have mild learning problems while others have severe emotional or academic difficulties. Some have high intelligence and unconventional behavior. Sixty percent are non-disabled. Staff say it’s important to stay open to new approaches and ideas. At the time of our visit teachers were engaged in parallel teaching. Two 5th-grade math groups of like ability, each with about ten students, sat on either end of one classroom. The teacher of one group reviewed expanded notation while the other had kids writing mixed numbers as improper fractions. Another recent effort is to offer more training to paraprofessionals (as teachers aides are called)  and to catch reading issues in the early grades by giving those in need extra help five times a week.

The school is housed in two buildings separated by a play yard. Some early childhood rooms have high windows and kids can’t see out. Every corner of the building is put to use: two children worked with a teacher on a quiet stairwell landing; one child, who arrived at the school as a selective mute, was spelling words out loud to a group of peers in the hallway. A few yards away a teacher placed zig-zag lines of masking tape on the floor to offer a fast young learner a challenging measurement activity.

We heard teachers use confident, warm and supportive voices and saw engaged kids. A 2nd-grade teacher read aloud to her engrossed students then had them stop and jot down what they were thinking; kindergartners piped up from their positions on the rug to point out features of a non-fiction book; a dance teacher named, for her pre-K class, the geometric shapes they created as they moved to music with large stretchy bands.

A supportive, bully-free community is promoted. Older kids serve as “peacekeepers” at recess with younger children. Second grade teacher Steve Quester said his goal is to build a greater sense of “belonging, significance and fun” – tenets he is learning about in the Responsive Classroom approach to decreasing behavior problems.

An outpost of PS 372 in Fort Greene serves children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in six classrooms, each with six students and two adults. In 2009, when four of these children moved to the less restrictive site, teachers gathered for a session called “Conversations around Autism” to help ease the transition. The literacy coach, art teacher, testing coach, and District 75 assistant principal spend time at both sites, which lends continuity.

Many after school offerings include Spanish, gymnastics and Haitian Dance. Fourth and 5th-graders participate in “studios” like hip-hop and comic books on Friday afternoons.

Parents from PS 372 have been instrumental in bringing special education services to several middle and high schools in the neighborhood, according to Mattia. Students attend strong District 15 middle schools (MS 443 The New Voices School for Academic & Creative Arts, MS 51 William Alexander School) as well as noteworthy out of district schools (Mark Twain Middle School and NEST+M).

Admissions: The school is open to children from across District 15. The admissions lottery for general education students is split geographically between the northeastern half of the district (Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Greenwood Heights and Cobble Hill) and the southwestern half (Red Hood and Sunset Park) with half of the available spaces for pre-K and kindergarten allocated to each half of the district. Open houses are January through March. Applications are accepted in January. There are far more applicants than spaces available.  (Lydie Raschka, March 2011)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 187

Average Daily Attendance NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
8%

Black

  
13%

Hispanic

  
20%

White

  
59%

Free Lunch

  
NA

Special ed

  
NA

English Language Learners

  
NA

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

NA 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 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

15 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

100% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

100% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

5% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

100% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

94% 91% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 86% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the 2014 school survey?

41% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

72% 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?

97% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

97% 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:

NA 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

90% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

90% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 98% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 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?

100% 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:

NA 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

94% 90% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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