P.S. 69 Journey Prep School

An Insideschools pick
560 THIERIOT AVENUE
BRONX NY 10473 Map
Phone: (718) 378-4736
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Principal: SHEILA DURANT
Neighborhood: Soundview / Hunts Point
District:8
Grade range: PK-6
Parent Coordinator: DONNA SALERNO
Zoned

What's special:

Nurturing school gets kids excited about learning

The downside:

Classes spread across three buildings; no gym

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

With its striking, sun-drenched library and flourishing vegetable garden, PS 69 Journey Prep is an inviting place to go to school. Together teachers and the principal work hard to devise strategies to energize and engage students who live in one of the city's poorest neighborhoods.

At a time when many schools use scripted lesson plans, Principal Sheila Durant says she values spontaneity and leaves many decisions to her teachers, who pick and choose from various programs. Teachers work with four coaches -- two in math and two in reading -- and advise one another on what works in the classroom. In the lower grades, teachers can opt for the Reggio Emilia method, which seeks to harness children's curiosity to help them learn.

PS 69 developed a reputation for being a high-quality school in a tough neighborhood under the previous principal, Alan Cohen. Cohen retired in 2010 but the school's energy and commitment to its students has continued under Durant, who had been the assistant principal. It is a school where the custodian builds a bridge for students to use in science experiments and where two teachers spent the previous evening putting together an engaging video for the next day's class

Writing is key, even for kindergartners. Students are expected to read independently by the end of kindergarten. Those who don't may be held back, although efforts are made to bring the child along without that. "If any child isn’t learning, we need to do something different," Durant says. The school also provides extra math for high-performing students.

Children read a lot of nonfiction, with social studies incorporated into the reading program. Many lessons are interdisciplinary,

On the day we visited, PS 69 was marking National Kale Day. For 4th graders, this involved a trip to the school's garden with the science teacher to record their observations of kale plants (and to discover how, when dried, the vegetable turned into tasty kale chips). Younger children read books about vegetables and wore silly kale hats. One class whipped up a batch of kale juice.

Durant strives to bring a range of experiences to children who might otherwise not have them. A chef comes in once a week to work with students. There is an archery program, and an etiquette class for 5th graders culminates with a sit-down dinner in the library.

The school also has counselors and other staff to help students who may come from troubled homes. It offers peer mediation, where 5th graders try to help students resolve conflicts. Students are repeatedly reminded to be kind to one another. "I want them to be smart but I also want them to be good citizens, good people," Durant said.

Along with the garden, the heart of the school is its vibrantly colored, well-equipped library, created with the help of a $2 million donation from the Robin Hood Foundation. But the school facility has limitations. While grades 3 through 5 are in the main building, kindergarten and 1st grade occupy an annex adjacent to the school, and pre-K and 2nd grade use rented space a half block away. The school does not have a gym so has set up a fitness room.

Special education: PS 69 has team teaching classes that mix general and special education students and two self-contained classes. Durant, a former special education teacher, says she tries to move children out of the self-contained classes, even if they require help from a paraprofessional in the more mainstream classrooms.

Admissions: Neighborhood school. (Gail Robinson, October 2013)

 

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Number of Students 589

Average Daily Attendance 92%

Students at this school

Asian

  
2%

Black

  
17%

Hispanic

  
79%

White

  
1%

Free Lunch

  
90%

Special ed

  
19%

English Language Learners

  
9%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

10% 15% 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 class

25 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

26 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

90% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

93% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

30% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

97% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

93% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam

38% 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ela exam

28% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 science exam

95% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the 2013 school survey?

63% 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say they attended at least one pta meeting in the 2012-2013 school year?

71% 72% 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 2012-2013 school year?

68% 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?

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:

3% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:

19% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

5% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:

56% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

11% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

82% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

93% 91% 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?

89% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

7% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

8% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

90% 91% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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