The East Village Community School
MANHATTAN NY 10009 Map
The East Village Community School
Extended PK hours offered: Yes
At East Village Community School, a school-wide morning meeting begins with a few dads, moms and teachers strumming banjos and guitars leading an audience sing-along of "This Land is Your Land." It's a family affair, with long-haired dads bouncing infants; toddlers clapping along with the kids on the stage; and one tyke even crying inconsolably after the show ended because he wanted to stay at school with his older sibling.
"This is my favorite time of the month," said a pre-k dad at this progressive East Village school. "We get to sing all these old songs. The principal is doing a great job of bringing all the kids together and it starts with the morning meeting."
EVCS can seem almost like a throwback to the 1960's, even down to the singing of the 1972 song "Free to Be You and Me." Kindergarten still looks like kindergartens of old, where children learn through play to read, write and get along with one another. The block corner doesn't disappear after pre-k – it's an active place used even in 1st grade lessons about community buildings.
When longtime, popular principal Robin Williams left in 2014 for a job in the District 1 office, the school didn't skip a beat, as assistant principal Bradley Goodman took over. "I'm carrying the torch," said Bradley, a musician who used to run a sing-along club at the school and who taught there for seven years prior to becoming assistant principal.
He has pumped up the responsive classroom method as a technique that "sets a positive tone." Every class starts the day with a meeting – a ritualized share, and activity. "Students acknowledge one another, make eye contact and say kind words," he said. Certain hand signals and a chime show students it's time to pay attention, move to a different activity or request permission to use the bathroom.
There is joy in the classrooms, and plenty of exploration. Each class goes on as many as 10 fields trips a year, not counting the many neighborhood walks. Pre-kindergartners consider the question: "Where does food come from?" and then visit the Union Square Farmers Market. Even the youngest children help plan what they are going to do or study.
Art, music and social studies lessons frequently are intertwined. The kindergarten adopted a special elm tree in nearby Tompkins Square Park in their study of trees. As part of a Lenape Indian study, 2nd-graders built longhouses and created a mural about Lenape Indians; 3rd graders studying China created costumes and performed a dragon dance.
The atmosphere is informal: teachers and administrators go by their first names and students may pull out snacks if they're hungry. Freedom does not lead to chaos, however: classrooms are tidy and all items, from books to blocks, have clearly defined homes in color-coded bins and on brightly labeled shelves.
Homework isn't assigned until 2nd grade and there are no consequences for not doing it. "We don't get too freaked out about homework," said Goodman, himself the parent of two young children.
Test scores are among the highest in the district although about one-third of the families decided in 2015 to opt their children out of taking state exams. Teachers do lots of pre-assessments to determine how children are doing, said Goodman, which "allows us to tailor instruction to a wide range of learners."
There's a fulltime math coach. Kids are taught to understand the reasoning behind math problems and there is a balance between conceptual learning and memorization of facts such as multiplication tables.
Children arrive as early as 8 am for a half hour of supervised play before school starts at 8:30 and every child gets 25 minutes for outdoor play at daily lunchtime recess. Older kids spend 1.5 hours a week in electives such as a rock band, drama, martial arts or chess.
The colorful building is located close to city housing complexes but the effects of the neighborhood's changing demographics are seen in the faces of the children: pre-k, kindergarten and 1st are largely white; there are more Hispanic and black children in the upper grades. Only 28 percent of families qualify for free lunch, far fewer than at many of the neighborhood's more traditional public schools.
EVCS shares a 100-year old building with the Children's Workshop School, and PS 94, a District 75 school for children with special education needs.
Special education: There is an ICT class on each grade and an inclusive atmosphere throughout the classrooms.
Admissions: District 1 lottery. There was a waitlist of about 100 students for admission to pre-kindergarten in 2015. There is never space for out of district students in pre-k or kindergarten; occasionally slots may open up in older grades. (Pamela Wheaton, December 2015)
At a glance
Number of Students 299
Average Daily Attendance 95%
Safety & vibe
How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?24% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?88% 86% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten class24 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade classNA 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?92% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?96% 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?97% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Do parents like the school?
How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?99% 94% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Special ed & ELL
How well does this school serve students with disabilities?
This school does not offer self-contained classes.
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:20% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school offers team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:41% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:16% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 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?