Central Park East I
MANHATTAN NY 10029 Map
Central Park East I
Central Park East was founded in 1974 by Deborah Meier, a visionary teacher whose work has had a profound effect on education in New York City and the nation. Her belief that schools should be small, humane, democratic places where children learn how to learn and how to think for themselves helped spark a revival of progressive education in the city and the nation.
CPE and its sister school, Central Park East II, have remained true to its roots. Teachers pay unusual attention to the interests of the children and hold the firm belief that those interests will lead children to explore the world around them in a purposeful way. Independent work is prized. Teachers say much of what is taught here can’t be measured by multiple-choice tests: the ability to work with others, the ability to find the answers to questions of interest and the ability to delve into projects in detail over a long period of time.
Instead of accepting racial segregation as a given, CPE has always put a premium on enrolling children from different neighborhoods to make the school as racially integrated as possible and puts kids of different abilities and ages in the same class. Second and 3rd grades are combined, as are 4th and 5th grades. Each day includes “Worktime” when children cook, sew, paint, build and pursue creative projects. In a 4th and 5th mixed-grade class, a boy used a glue gun to put the finishing touches on a kickball field made of cardboard and paper. A girl was making a dollhouse “because I like small things.” Another lined a shoebox with blue paper to create a swimming pool, an interest sparked when “my brother taught me how to swim nine feet deep.” In one room a pet corn snake was a springboard for research, art, writing and measurement.
Kids write about their work in journals and teachers provide feedback. Cursive and keyboarding are not taught, but children do have access to computers. A few longtime teachers said they feel instruction has become more consistent because new teachers have come in better prepared to explicitly teach reading and math skills, such as in a lesson we saw on multiples. Still, this is not a school that believes in spelling tests, and math concepts are practiced through the use of counters, money or shapes to aid understanding.
Principal Julie Zuckerman took a leave in January 2012 to start another school based on CPE principles, the Castle Bridge School on W. 169th St and Broadway in the PS 128 building. A few parents were concerned about this transition, but Zuckerman hoped it would be smooth, given the early start in looking for candidates. She served the school for six years, following a tumultuous period in which the school had four principals in four years.
Special Education: Two classrooms combine special needs children with general education children and are co-taught, with one teacher trained in special education. Another specially trained teacher works individually with 4th and 5 th graders in the classroom.
Admissions: Families are required to take a school tour and fill out an application; students are selected through a lottery. According to veteran teacher Donnie Rotkin the visit is revealing and crucial for families trying to make a decision. Parents may see, among other things, “a 5th grader playing with blocks and Lego and doing science experiments without a lot of supervision.” (Lydie Raschka, February 2011, updated January 2012)
At a glance
Number of Students 203
Average Daily Attendance 94%
Safety & vibe
How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?NA 17% 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 classNA 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?17% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?100% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?17% 23% 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?94% 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:NA 7% 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:6% 18% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:13% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school does not offer SETSS.
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 16% 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?