Paula Hedbavny School, PS/IS 278

An Insideschools pick
421 W 219TH ST
MANHATTAN NY 10034 Map
Phone: (212) 942-3440
Admissions: neighborhood school
Principal: MAUREEN GUIDO
Neighborhood: Washington Heights
District:6
Grade range: K-8
Parent Coordinator: ANGELIN GONZALEZ
Zoned
Wheelchair Accessible

What's special:

Small, inclusive, consistently high performing school

The downside:

Small gym; recess in the auditorium on cold weather days

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

PS/IS 278 has a gentle, caring atmosphere with an emphasis on traditional manners and values. Children take trips around the city, play the recorder at Carnegie Hall, and have the opportunity to learn about French culture or sing in a musical. Basic skills--such as handwriting, phonics and the conventions of grammar, are carefully woven in.

Principal Maureen Guido’s goal when she opened the school in 2004 was to promote “good citizens” who are “caring and thoughtful of others.” 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.

The school consistently boasts good performance ratings. There are only two classes per grade. Children of all academic abilities are mixed but some children are grouped or pulled out for extra help or extra challenge. In 6th grade, teachers identify students who are capable of trying the harder Regent’s math track, for example.

Once a week, a school-wide enrichment program offers children a chance to mingle and be creative. During this time 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. “It’s project-oriented,” said Guido. “At the same time, it’s hitting all the standards.”

Teachers approach lessons in a variety of ways. We saw young children practice handwriting with close adult guidance and older children roll marbles down inclined planes in the hallway to measure velocity. In one class, children made Halloween cut-outs that looked pretty much alike; in another, they painted watercolors based on the work of Claude Monet in a variety of colors and styles. A middle school teacher led a focused Socratic circle, with students around the inner circle doing the talking, and those around the outer circle taking notes.

Depending on your point of view, some of the school’s practices may seem overformal. When the principal enters a classroom, kids stop their work, look up, and chant, “Good morning, Mrs. Guido.” Students are sorted into boys’ and girls’ lines for walking in the hallway instead of mixed like you’d see at more progressive schools. After a gentle morning rain, the principal’s impulse, on the day of our visit, was to keep children in the auditorium rather than let them face the weather–although the dean pressed for going out, and prevailed. The gym, built for elementary school students, is small for middle school students.

Parent participation has skyrocketed according to staff. Parents have been involved in creating and maintaining a website, running the spring fair and leading enrichment classes.

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 two self-contained classrooms, one for grades 4-5-6 and one for grades 7-8. Students are mainstreamed as much as possible for math and English language arts. They work in smaller groups for social studies and science. A range of services includes a full-time speech teacher and a part-time occupational therapist.

Admissions: Zoned neighborhood school. Parents may tour in the fall. There are over 300 applicants for about seven seats in the middle school. (Lydie Raschka, October 2012)

 

 

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 532

Average Daily Attendance 95%

Students at this school

Asian

  
4%

Black

  
2%

Hispanic

  
78%

White

  
15%

Free Lunch

  
71%

Special ed

  
13%

English Language Learners

  
13%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

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% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

NA 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

31 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average middle school english class

29 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

97% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

100% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

14% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

How many teachers say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep students engaged?

100% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school does a good job teaching social-emotional skills?

100% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school does a good job teaching organizational and study skills?

97% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 math exam

44% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ela exam

30% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 science exam

97% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 science exam

91% 59% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 8th grades pass high school regents exams?

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass the algebra regents:

28% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass a science regents:

0% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the 2014 school survey?

83% 62% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say they attended at least one pta meeting in the 2013-2014 school year?

62% 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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 2013-2014 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?

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 math exam:

4% 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ELA exam:

0% 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 math exam:

NA 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ELA exam:

NA 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 math exam:

0% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ELA exam:

11% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say students with disabilities are included in all activities?

98% 97% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say students with special needs are educated in the least restrictive environment appropriate?

100% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents of students with ieps say this school offers a wide enough variety of services and activities for their children’s needs?

95% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ELA exam:

6% 4% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ELA exam:

30% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school ensures that ells receive the same curriculum as non-ells with appropriate suppports?

100% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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