P.S. 344 Ampark Neighborhood School
BRONX NY 10463 Map
P.S. 344 Ampark Neighborhood School
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)
At a glance
Number of Students 378
Average Daily Attendance 95%
Safety & vibe
How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?6% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?72% 86% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten class26 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade class28 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?83% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?100% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?11% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam
Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state 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 last school year?89% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Do parents like the school?
How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?96% 94% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Special ed & ELL
How well does this school serve students with disabilities?
This school offers self-contained classes.
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school does not offer team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:8% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:0% 9% 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?