P.S. 20 Anna Silver
MANHATTAN NY 10002 Map
P.S. 20 Anna Silver
PS 20 is a happy school with a good balance of work and play. Children are encouraged to have fun and to build their social skills while they master their academics. “Kids need to love being here,” says Principal James Lee, "I want them to be giddy, happy!" [In 2014 Principal James Lee left the school after six years. His successor is Carmen Colon, formerly assistant principal at PS 112 in East Harlem, which has a dual-language Spanish and English program.]
Children learn through discovery at PS 20. Pre-kindergartners have ant farms and sing songs about insects' anatomy. Fourth graders design a fragrance-–from market research to chemical development to packaging—as part of a social studies lesson. There are traditional lessons as well, such as penmanship classes in 2nd grade. We saw kids make smooth transitions from individual work to group lessons on the blue classroom rugs. Everyone was polite and welcoming and we heard no raised voices on our tour.
PS 20 started a dual language program in Mandarin Chinese in 2010. Half the children in program are native English speakers and the rest speak Chinese at home. There are two classes per grade and students spend alternate days with an English-speaking teacher and a Mandarin-speaking teacher. Most teachers in the program go by their first names. Lee admits the fledgling program faces some challenges, particularly in keeping children up to speed if their language learning is not reinforced at home. Acquiring a language is complex, he says.
The school also has a large Spanish-speaking population.
PS 20 has a gym, a cafeteria, a library, an art room and two music classrooms. Kids make use of the school's spacious playground to work up an appetite during recess, which they have every day before lunch. Class sizes are small—most have fewer than 25 children. There are lots of classes in art and music. Parents are welcome: we saw parents visit music classes during our visit. Mothers and fathers are invited to walk their kindergarteners to the classroom in the morning.
Test scores are only average. Lee attributes that to the fact that many children start school not speaking English. Although these children do well on tests by the time they are in the 4th and 5th grade, many are still learning English when they take standardized tests for the first time in 3rd grade.
Most of the students attend one of the schools two after-school programs – the school runs one program and Henry Street Settlement the other.
Special education: PS 20 has three self-contained classes for children with special needs. There is one CTT class in each grade.
Admissions: Admission to both the general and dual language program is unscreened and by lottery. Parents may rank the school twice if interested in both the general and dual language programs. Tours are on Tuesday mornings in the spring; contact the school to attend. District 1 children get preference but Lee says there is often room for children from District 2 and from Brooklyn.
(Anna Schneider. February 2012)
At a glance
Number of Students 631
Average Daily Attendance 93%
Safety & vibe
How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?33% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?63% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten class22 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade class28 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?75% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?79% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?24% 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?74% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Do parents like the school?
How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?92% 94% 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:0% 7% 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:9% 18% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:3% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school offers SETSS.
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:13% 16% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:0% 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?