PS 307 Pioneer Academy

40-20 100TH STREET
QUEENS NY 11368 Map
Phone: (718) 779-5068
Principal: CECILIA JACKSON
Neighborhood: Corona
District: 24
Grade range: 0K thru 05
Parent Coordinator: MARIA CARABALLO

What's special:

Warm atmosphere with gentle teachers; spacious new building

The downside:

Large class size and a wait list for kindergarten

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Moms, dads, aunts, uncles, and grandparents walk their children hand-in-hand to a tree-lined courtyard outside PS 307’s front door. They check shoelaces and affix barrettes before bestowing a kiss and a wave. Housed in a stylish updated fabric factory, where two streets meet under the 7 train, PS 307 is a promising, rapidly growing school with many Ecuadorian and Mexican children, a place where young teachers are learning alongside their students. Opened in 2008 to relieve overcrowding in nearby schools, the school quickly filled to capacity and, unfortunately, typically has one of the longest wait lists for kindergarten in the city. 

Students wear maroon plaid jumpers or gray slacks and polo shirts. The atmosphere, like the glossy jade-green interior, is soothing and warm. Founding Principal Cecilia Jackson is a former special education teacher from PS 155 who taught briefly at Harlem Success Academy 1 and the Bronx Charter School for the Arts before attending The Summer Principal’s Academy at Columbia University. “Walk, walk, my love,” she chided a child, hugging another who brought her a bouquet of roses.

Parents are welcomed. The principal does not speak Spanish, but many of the staff do, and translators are present at meetings. Parent coordinator Maria Caraballo was born and raised in the neighborhood and plans over 100 workshops throughout the year on topics like finances, fire safety, alcohol abuse and library use. Dozens of parents have trained to become Learning Leaders to support teachers in classrooms and some assist daily at breakfast, lunch, or recess. A 2nd-grade parent transferred her child from another area school because of this welcoming policy: “It attracted me,” she said. “You don’t want to always leave your kid at the door. You want to be able to come in.”

Children have access to the huge gym once or twice a week, where they dance with gusto to pumping music. Kids watch movies in the auditorium on even moderately cold days, which seems to contradict the healthy message the school is trying to convey through nutrition programs brought in by Cornell University Cooperative Extension and the CookShop Program of the Food Bank of NYC. (The principal later told us that, because parents don't wish their children to play outdoors during cold weather, the school has a practice of keeping students in when the temperature is below 40 degrees.) Music has replaced art at the request of parents, many of whom are musicians who showcase their talents on culture days.

The building is temporarily shared with five 5th grade classrooms from PS 16. They seem to get along well and even buddy up for reading but Jackson wonders if her school will have room to grow. PS 307 classes were completely full at the time of our visit, 29 per room, and most had just one teacher. Students sat packed like sardines on a rug from which they broke into small groups for individual work at tables. We saw lessons on fact versus opinion, writing, and learning to visualize while reading. Teachers defined big abstract words like “visualize.” Our articulate 2nd-grade tour guides, Victor and Natalia, proudly showed off the live Komodo Dragon in the science room and habitat murals. “We learned that some oil went into the ocean but oil and water don’t go together and now there’s damage,” said Natalia.

About one-third of the children qualify for English as a Second Language. The young teaching staff is learning how to help students improve their English using thematic units. In a pre-kindergarten room the theme was “Feet,” An entire mini shoe store was set up in the play area. Consultants come in twice a week and help with the curriculum, which is somewhat in flux. Staff may pick and choose from two math programs (Everyday Math and TERC Investigations). One downside: according to the DOE’s annual 2009-10 Quality Review, the writing program could be stronger.

Special Education: In 2010-11 there were two small classrooms with only special needs children. Three rooms mixed special and general education students with two teachers, one of whom is trained to teach special education.

Admissions: Zoned neighborhood school. (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 974

Average Daily Attendance 97%

Students at this school

Asian

  
4%

Black

  
2%

Hispanic

  
92%

White

  
1%

Free Lunch

  
98%

Special ed

  
16%

English Language Learners

  
30%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

2% 15% 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

25 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

29 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

57% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

78% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

3% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

91% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

86% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

92% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam

29% 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ela exam

23% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

91% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the 2013 school survey?

100% 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say they attended at least one pta meeting in the 2012-2013 school year?

83% 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 2012-2013 school year?

80% 74% 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 2013 math exam:

5% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

16% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

8% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

80% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

98% 91% 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?

95% 89% 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% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

22% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

94% 91% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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