P.S. 333 Manhattan School for Children
An Insideschools pick
An Insideschools pick for Special Education
MANHATTAN NY 10025 Map
P.S. 333 Manhattan School for Children
Manhattan School for Children, housed in the former Joan of Arc Junior High School building, is a warm and happy place where kids call teachers by their first names and parents are welcome throughout the day. Parents come right to the classroom to drop off their children, and many stay for a few minutes to read a book or chat. A wide corridor serves as an informal meeting place for parents, kids, and teachers during the day.
Manhattan School for Children is a pioneer in including children with special needs (particularly physical challenges) in regular classrooms, and the children are accepting of one another, whether they use a wheelchair or a walker or have difficulty speaking clearly. Classrooms are sunny and cheerful, and there are plenty of books and supplies. A stunning rooftop greenhouse serves as a science lab. The school has a nice wheelchair-accessible playground surrounded by red oak trees and shrubs.
The school places as much emphasis on children’s social and emotional development as it does on academics, and children seem to be unusually kind to one another. The school encourages friendships across the grades and it’s common to see older children helping younger children. Firmly in the progressive camp, the administration favors learning by doing. For example, kindergartners watch duck eggs hatch in classroom incubators—hooked up to a webcam so they can also watch them at home. Children may build a terrarium in the greenhouse or draw a timeline representing the history of the subway. They also may spend several days on a math problem, learning fractions by imagining they have to divide sandwiches among their classmates.
Some of the classrooms are a bit messy, but Principal Claire Lowenstein says that’s part of the plan. “Through messiness can come genius,” she said.
Lowenstein, a former assistant principal and long-time teacher at the school, was named principal in February 2014, replacing the founding principal, Susan Rappaport, who retired. Lowenstein is working to improve communication with teachers and parents by writing weekly letters and having monthly meetings. She greets children at the entrance in the morning and seems to know every child by name.
The administration believes in the importance of recess, not just as a time to run around but also a time to develop social skills. Recess times are staggered; some children go out to play as early as 9:15 am and others go out after lunch.
The arts offerings are rich, and Manhattan School for Children has full-time teachers for visual art, dance, drama and storytelling. There is no music instruction, although children put on an annual musical with singing and dancing.
For years, some parents have complained that the atmosphere may be too relaxed, but many others defend the school with a passion and are thrilled with the experience their children are getting. While many children once left after 5th grade, students are increasingly staying for middle school. Top students are admitted to some of the city’s most selective and demanding high schools, including LaGuardia High School for Music and Art and Performing Arts.
Special education: The school, which is wheelchair-accessible, is at the forefront of "inclusion," integrating disabled children in general education classes. The school goes to great lengths to help disabled children take part in regular classes. For example, a keyboard with pictures allows a child who cannot speak to express himself. Most classes have at least two teachers. The school does not admit severely disabled children from District 75 and does not have segregated or “self-contained” classes.
Admissions: Admissions are by lottery, limited to District 3. For details, see the school's website. (Clara Hemphill, May 2014)
At a glance
Number of Students 771
Average Daily Attendance 95%
Safety & vibe
How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?9% 20% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?80% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten class24 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade class29 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average middle school english class31 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?48% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?94% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?14% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam
Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ela exam
Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 science exam
Percent of 8th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 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 2012-2013 school year?90% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Do parents like the school?
How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?96% 92% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Special ed & ELL
How well does this school serve students with disabilities?
As of 2012-2013, this school does not offer self-contained classes.
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:NA 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:NA 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
As of 2012-2013, this school offers team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:21% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:26% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
As of 2012-2013, this school offers SETSS.
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:28% 10% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:24% 6% 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?