P.S. 63 Author's Academy

1260 FRANKLIN AVENUE
BRONX NY 10456 Map
Phone: (718) 589-3058
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Principal: Reinaldo Diaz Lens
Neighborhood: Morrisania
District: 9
Grade range: PK-5
Parent Coordinator: MARIO PIANTINI
Number of full-day PK seats: 54
Extended PK hours offered: Contact program about extended hours.
Zoned
Full Day
School-based pre-k

What's special:

Strong leadership

The downside:

Learning how to challenge kids at the top

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Called "the secret of the South Bronx" by satisfied parents, PS 63 is an oasis of calm, boasting steady leadership that enables new and veteran teachers to deliver lessons with very clear expectations. In a word, said long-time principal Reinaldo Diaz-Lens, the school provides students with "continuity."

Children have spots on the rug indicating where they are to sit, and attention is given to details such as how to hold a pencil correctly. In one class we observed, students were instructed to face each other to discuss writing ideas with a partner, and "touch the page" of a book when re-telling the "big event" on that page. Administrators and coaches keep tabs on assessments of student work and every assignment on display has feedback from the teacher.

There is comfort in this level of clarity, and at PS 63 it garners results: "Our kids test well," said Diaz-Lens, referring to state exams, on which children are rated according to a four-point scale with 4 as the highest. "We know we can move Level 1's and 2's up." He showed us the reading levels of a class of 23 second graders: three were reading just below grade level, two above, and the majority were solidly in the middle.

Staffers work closely with children who are struggling and create extra lessons to help them practice gaps in their skills. We watched 4th graders review spelling patterns for this reason, changing singular nouns, like "baby," to the plural "babies." The principal said, "We look at trends. We try to anticipate pitfalls." Kids who are still learning English attend early morning classes. For additional support, there are "self-contained" classes for English learners on every grade level.

In this well-organized school administrators are now asking themselves what they can do for kids at the top. When students finish their math work in class they are instructed to help a partner or practice math facts, but Diaz said these kids can be pushed to do even more in areas like measurement and early algebra. The school has a twice a week early morning classes for high achievers.

Children who have special needs are not treated differently here. On our visit to a team-taught class with a mix of kids who have special needs and their general education peers, a small group of five sat at a back table guided by a teacher. This smaller group was a mix of kids from both camps who needed help with a particular math concept. A "self-contained" class is directly across the hall so children who need a higher level of assistance can easily go back and forth between classes to join lessons depending on their strengths or weaknesses.

In the backyard, a portable "mini school" is occupied by Mott Hall Charter (not to be confused with Mott Hall middle school in Harlem) which will move into several classes in the main building in 2014 as they await the construction of their own building. PS 63 lacks a real gym so each school uses one of two makeshift spaces with padded pillars. The auditorium and the cafeteria are shared.

Admissions: Neighborhood school (Lydie Raschka, October 2013)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares a building with Mott Hall Charter School

Number of Students 650

Average Daily Attendance 91%

Students at this school

Asian

  
0%

Black

  
36%

Hispanic

  
61%

White

  
3%

Free Lunch

  
96%

Special ed

  
20%

English Language Learners

  
19%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?

88% 81% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

90% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

37% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

34% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

38% 40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the school survey?

64% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA 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 last school year?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA 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 state math exam:

4% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

22% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

22% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

57% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

14% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

94% 93% 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?

94% 86% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

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

11% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

50% 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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