The East Village Community School
An Insideschools pick
MANHATTAN NY 10009 Map
The East Village Community School
Families living in the heart of the artsy East Village are attracted to The East Village Community School for its small size, progressive curriculum that emphasizes hands-on learning, and extra recess to ensure children learn valuable social skills. The school draws a mix of children from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Playtime is important at East Village Community. Children have 40 minutes of supervised playtime before school starts, as well as time after lunch.
In the classroom, teachers use dramatic play to help children make sense of their world. Pre-k children make written “play plans” with their teachers before engaging in imaginary scenarios, like a trip to the farmers market to buy cheese.
Students go on plenty of field trips, from walks around the neighborhood to overnight camping trips to New Jersey. Fourth graders travel to the East River to help repopulate oyster beds in partnership with the green energy and arts organization SolarOne. Teachers and parents also build social awareness within the school with “meatless Mondays” in the cafeteria, where all meals are served on biodegradable trays.
The school has a casual atmosphere: teachers go by their first names and kids may pull out snacks during a math lesson if they’re hungry. But students’ freedom does not lead to chaos; the school is well organized. Classrooms are tidy and all items, from books to blocks, have clearly defined homes in color-coded bins and brightly labeled shelves. Teachers create lists and guides for their classrooms explaining the day’s structure, how to choose a book during free time, what to do if the book is too hard, and so on.
The school’s organized structure and strong culture under the leadership of longtime Principal Robin Williams may be the reason EVCS appeals to District 1 parents who want a progressive education that also delivers better-than-average test scores. One dad said he chose the school because it outperforms other progressive schools in the district on standardized tests and still offers freedom and creativity. But, you won’t find test prep in the classrooms. “We don’t fixate and obsess over the tests,” says Williams.
In class, students gather around the teachers on colorful rugs for a lesson or break into small groups and work individually. No one is disparaged for working slowly, and teachers adapt lessons for children’s different abilities. Book reports displayed in the second grade classroom showed diverse reading ability: some students were reading Nancy Drew and others read less complex books like Henry and Mudge.
A math coach visits the school often and participates in math classes then works with teachers to improve their instruction. Kids are taught to understand the reasoning behind math problems, and there is a balance between conceptual learning and memorization of multiplication tables.
Teachers mostly create their own material instead of working out of textbooks. But, there is standardization across the grades kids so children learn similar lessons even though they have different teachers.
The school shares its colorful building with a District 75 school for disabled children and the Children’s Workshop School another small, progressive elementary school. The schools share an auditorium (which was under construction at the time of our visit), a bright and colorful library, a gym and outdoor play spaces. Like most of the surrounding neighborhood, space is at a premium. Another downside: the building has five floors and no elevator.
Special education: One in five students has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). One class in each grade has two teachers, one of whom is certified in special education.
Admission: Priority to District 1. Families should contact the school for a tour prior to filling out the application. The school occasionally has seats for out-of-district children, but Williams said most students live in District 1. (Anna Schneider, October 2013)
At a glance
Number of Students 276
Average Daily Attendance 94%
Safety & vibe
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?95% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten class22 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade class23 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?88% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?90% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?16% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ela exam
Percent of 4th 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?96% 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?
As of 2012-2013, this school offers self-contained classes.
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:0% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:0% 2% 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:17% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:14% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
As of 2012-2013, this school does not offer SETSS.
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:NA 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:NA 7% 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?