Paula Hedbavny School, PS/IS 278
MANHATTAN NY 10034 Map
Paula Hedbavny School, PS/IS 278
PS/IS 278 has a gentle, caring atmosphere and an emphasis on traditional manners and values—in some ways reminiscent of the parochial schools Principal Lillian Reyes attended as a child. There’s a focus on basic skills such as handwriting, phonics and the conventions of grammar. Children wear uniforms, and some of the classrooms have desks in rows.
This high-performing school, founded in 2004, has become increasingly popular, not only with Spanish-speaking families who have long lived in the neighborhood but also with the children of artists and musicians who have moved into Inwood in recent years. So many middle class children now attend PS/IS 278 that the school risks losing more than $200,000 a year in federal anti-poverty money known as Title 1. There is often a waitlist for kindergarten.
Reyes, who became principal in 2015, says the policy on uniforms “levels the playing field” between well-off and working class children. The culture of the school encourages children to get along with one another. “There’s no place for hate,” she says. “Everyone values everyone else.” The school is named after a former colleague who died of cancer. Fittingly, every year the entire school community participates in a walk-a-thon around the track in Columbia’s Baker Field to raise money for pediatric cancer research.
Children have the chance to take trips around the city: the Holocaust Museum, the Hall of Science, or dance performances at the 92nd Street Y. Middle school students may attend Broadway shows.
For reading, the school has adopted ReadyGen for grades K-5 and the Scholastic Codex for grades 6-8--both scripted programs recommended by the state when the Common Core learning standards were introduced. Teachers supplement ReadyGen with phonics instruction in the lower grades. In the middle school, teachers supplement Codex, which relies mostly on short reading passages, by adding whole novels to the reading lists. The school uses GoMath for all grades, a program that balances practice in skills with conceptual understanding.
Once a week, a school-wide enrichment program offers children a chance to mingle and be creative. On one of our visits, we saw students create backgrounds for a puppet show, practice a song for a musical and build Eiffel towers out of clay. These classes also incorporate reading and writing activities, like creating a script for the puppets, or writing the names of the layers of the rainforest.
All teachers in grades two through six have been trained in the Salvadori method, a hands-on method of teaching children about architecture using math and science. One year, students visited monuments before building monuments of their own related to their study of the Bill of Rights. Another year it was skyscrapers.
Students go to a range of high schools, including the Museum School, Millenium, Manhattan Village Academy, A. Philip Randolph, George Washington, LaGuardia, Lehman, Hunter, Fashion Industries, Pace, and Art and Design. More than one-third take the test for specialized high schools.
Special education: There are several self-contained classrooms, as well as Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS). A reading specialist serves as a mentor and coach to classroom teachers.
Admissions: Zoned neighborhood school. Parents may tour in the fall. (Clara Hemphill, December 2015)
At a glance
Number of Students 533
Average Daily Attendance 95%
Safety & vibe
How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?7% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?100% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten class25 22 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade class27 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average middle school english class30 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?96% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?100% 86% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?13% 21% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam
Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam
Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam
Percent of 8th 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?86% 71% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Do parents like the school?
How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?98% 93% 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:10% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school offers team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:8% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:8% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:23% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:13% 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?