P.S. 59 Beekman Hill International

An Insideschools pick
231-249 EAST 56 STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10019 Map
Phone: (212) 888-7870
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Principal: Adele Schroeter
Neighborhood: East Midtown
District: 2
Grade range: K-5
Parent Coordinator: Kathleen King
Zoned

What's special:

Lively teaching, nurturing atmosphere and strong leadership

The downside:

Stairwells and atrium can get noisy

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

PS 59 combines a strong academic program with an approach to teaching that values play as the foundation for learning. Kindergarten classrooms have dress-up corners for dramatic play, easels for drawing and plenty of wooden blocks. Older children, too, use blocks as part of their study of architecture and bridges.

The school zone includes the United Nations, and children come from many countries and speak about 40 languages. Parents are welcome: One Friday a month, parents are invited to stop by their children’s classrooms. Kindergarten parents bring children right to their classrooms each day.

The modern building has two science labs, a state-of-the-art auditorium and a spacious library. It is shared with the High School of Art and Design and PS 169—a District 75 program for children with special needs, many of whom join PS 59 students for gym, lunch, library and science. The only drawback of the building is that children’s voices ricochet around the cement-block stairwells, the entryway and in the gated yard so loudly that it can be difficult for two people standing side-by-side to hear each other speak.

Longtime Principal Adele Schroeter gets high praise from parents, who also rave about the fabulous teaching. Teachers develop their own lessons with great freedom to reach a complicated population—without resorting to too much test prep. “We have many English Language Learners,” Schroeter said. “We do our most thoughtful, conscionable job without compromising how kids learn. We can’t give over any more time to test prep.”

The lessons we saw were open-ended, exploratory and playful. In a kindergarten class with incubating eggs, a teacher projected a picture on the wall of blood vessels inside an egg and showed children how to place two fingers on their necks to feel their own blood vessels pulsate. The writing in all grades looked strong and we saw solid note-taking with page number references and highlighting. Students are encouraged to ask questions and engage in discussion and debate to an unusual degree. Older kids pair with younger ones for science experiments. They explore their curiosities about plants, the water cycle and simple machines. The walls are filled with student-made charts, drawings, reports, essays and photos in every subject area. Field trips augment their studies.

A math consultant works with teachers on a regular basis, helping them hone lessons each year from a variety of sources. "The construction of a unit [requires] a lot of teacher understanding," said Schroeter. "We keep holding investigations up to each other—it really empowers teachers to be thinkers and doers in the process of designing units." Teachers invite families in to learn more about math and send home a customized plan for each child with reading level and math strengths, plus suggestions for games parents and kids can play together to improve skills at home. An "early bird" time is set aside for more math help for those who need it.

The tone is very nurturing. Students even create mottos and chants to support one another during testing. If there is a downside it may be that teachers are so good at cushioning difficulties and helping students manage long-term assignments, emotions and social relations, that the transition to middle school is, as one parent put it, “a shock.”

Fifth-grade teachers try to ease this transition by giving kids planners and long-term projects. In the last month of school they offer rotating mini-courses such as “making good choices,” “executive functioning,” and “managing relations.”

For middle school, some of the strongest students opt for Wagner, a large middle school with a band and many team sports. East Side Middle and Salk are also popular choices.

Special education: Almost all teachers are certified in special education and it is common practice to rotate their assignment every few years between grades. This has been beneficial particularly for students with disabilities, who have shown recent improvement on standardized test scores in English and math. The school has integrated co-teaching, or ICT classes, that mix children with special needs and those in general education. These classes have two teachers, one of whom is certified in special education.

Admissions: Neighborhood school. The zone was reduced in 2011 to accommodate all zoned students who apply. (Lydie Raschka, June 2014)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

Midtown East Campus

Number of Students 598

Average Daily Attendance 96%

Students at this school

Asian

  
11%

Black

  
3%

Hispanic

  
16%

White

  
62%

Free Lunch

  
12%

Special ed

  
15%

English Language Learners

  
7%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

NA 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

95% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

24 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

30 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

95% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

100% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

6% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

100% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

95% 91% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

83% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

70% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

98% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the school survey?

62% 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

70% 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 last school year?

96% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

98% 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 state math exam:

NA 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

66% 18% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

43% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 16% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

99% 98% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 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?

88% 89% 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:

29% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

67% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 90% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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