P.S. 344 AmPark Neighborhood School

3961 HILLMAN AVENUE
BRONX NY 10463 Map
Phone: (718) 548-3451
Website: Click here
Principal: Christine Mccourt
Neighborhood: Marble Hill/ Riverdale
District:10
Grade range: K-5
Parent Coordinator: MARIA CORREA
Unzoned

What's special:

A welcoming school with a focus on the arts and the environment.

The downside:

While most parents are satisfied, a handful say academic expectations could be higher.

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Situated on a quiet residential street, AmPark Neighborhood School is known for its focus on the arts, the environment and social consciousness. It has a new, brightly lit building with brightly colored walls, large classrooms, a science lab, a music room, a library and a health clinic.

The building, opened in 2011, is attached to PS/MS 95.While PS/MS 95 is a zoned neighborhood school , AmPark is an unzoned school that accepts children by application. The student body is racially integrated and includes children from middle class families as well as those who qualify for free lunch.

The school emphasizes learning by doing, with lots of hands-on projects and field trips. (see photo at left) The school is next to Van Cortland Park, where children have recess every day. In 2012, students completed a project that involved removing invasive plant species from the park. The math curriculum, called TERC, encourages children to learn to solve problems in various different ways. There are full-time music and arts teachers. Children stay with the same teacher for two years.

Ampark has made wellness in the school its mission: the school uses green cleaning materials, allows no trans fats in the school food and does not serve pizza or hamburgers for school meals. The DOE gave the school a “green” award.

Principal Elizabeth Lopez Towey was a co-founder of the Ella Baker school, a public school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and like the Ella Baker School, and she has put Ampark firmly in the progressive camp. She belongs to the Progressive Educators of New York (PENNY) organization. [Christine McCourt replaced Lopez Towey as principal in fall 2012.]

While most parents are satisfied with their children’s education and nearly all say the school is welcoming, a handful said academic expectations could be higher, according to the Learning Environment Survey. In addition, a few teachers say the principal is not an effective manager, according to the survey. 

AmPark was opened in leased space in 2006 with the support of the Amalgamated Park Reservoir Cooperative Housing Project. When it moved to its permanent location in 2011, it expanded its enrollment and had room for more children.

Admissions: The school has regular tours. Priority is given to children living in Van Cortland Park Village, but others may be admitted, space allowing. Call the school or check its website for details. (Clara Hemphill, DOE data, newspaper clippings and school website, March 2012)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the PS 95 building

Number of Students 332

Average Daily Attendance 94%

Students at this school

Asian

  
7%

Black

  
12%

Hispanic

  
60%

White

  
19%

Free Lunch

  
49%

Special ed

  
10%

English Language Learners

  
3%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

0% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

87% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

26 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

23 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

94% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

100% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

21% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

101% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

94% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

94% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

37% 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

47% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

96% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the 2013 school survey?

76% 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

76% 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?

91% 74% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

95% 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:

NA 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

14% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

14% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

67% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 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?

93% 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:

NA 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 91% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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