P.S. 20 Anna Silver

An Insideschools pick
166 ESSEX STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10002 Map
Phone: (212) 254-9577
Website: Click here
Admissions: District 1
Principal: JAMES LEE
Neighborhood: Lower East Side/ Chinatown
District:1
Grade range: PK-5
Parent Coordinator: TRACEY ARRINGTON
Unzoned
Dual Language
Wheelchair Accessible

What's special:

Lots of music, art and extras; small classes

The downside:

Only average standardized test scores

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

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!"

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)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Number of Students 631

Average Daily Attendance 93%

Students at this school

Asian

  
35%

Black

  
9%

Hispanic

  
50%

White

  
4%

Free Lunch

  
100%

Special ed

  
21%

English Language Learners

  
17%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

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 class

22 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

28 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

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

21% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

71% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

83% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

75% 91% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 math exam

34% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2014 ela exam

20% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

84% 86% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the 2014 school survey?

56% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

65% 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 2013-2014 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?

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

0% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

10% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

7% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

97% 98% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

83% 89% 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?

83% 89% 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:

5% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

37% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

79% 90% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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