P.S. 158 Bayard Taylor
MANHATTAN NY 10075 Map
P.S. 158 Bayard Taylor
Extended PK hours offered: Yes
PS 158 is a high-performing, neighborhood school with strong leadership, engaging instruction and lots of arts enrichment across all grades. Housed in a large building constructed in 1898, PS 158 has long winding corridors, high ceilings, large windows, and original details such as oak coat closets. It has two gyms, a small but adequate auditorium and an elevator.
Dina Ercolano became principal in December 2014 after the mid-year departure of the school’s longtime principal, Darryl Alhadeff. A former literacy coach and assistant principal at 158, Ercolano is credited with fostering a “friendlier, more kid-centric vibe,” one parent said.
The atmosphere is calm and cheery. It’s very easy to know what students are learning as the colorful hallways are lined with projects, essays and art work.
Some classrooms can feel cramped, especially in the older grades, but teachers arrange their spaces thoughtfully to encourage students to move around. On a typical day, students will spend some time gathered on the rug for class-wide lessons and a lot of time working on their own and in small groups at their tables, in cozy corners or sprawled out on the rug.
During our visit we noticed a lot of consistency in instruction across the grades owing in part to full-time specialists in math, literacy, special education and technology who work with teachers to help them develop and revise lessons and practices. For instance, during independent reading time—especially in the older grades—it’s common to find teachers engaged in what Ercolano calls “spinning plates.” While most students are quietly immersed in their books, the teacher bounces between two or three small groups of students, monitoring their work on a focused reading task. Ercolano says the practice lets teachers check in with students’ progress more frequently than relying on brief, weekly conferences with individual students.
Teachers use technology judiciously. “We don’t do technology for its own sake,” said Ercolano. Each class has a large television monitor, which is similar to an overhead projector for use as a teaching tool, and laptop computers are available for research and writing, but during our visit we found the rich, classroom libraries and hands-on materials such as blocks and aides for math such as dice and counters to be the most heavily used resources.
The school uses the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project curriculum, which encourages students to read a wide array of books of their choosing and at their skill level. Starting in kindergarten, students write and revise multiple drafts of work on a variety of topics. In the younger grades they may write and illustrate stories and “information books” drawn from personal experiences and books they read. By 5th grade, students write complex essays on a range of topics as well as more creative pieces such as fiction and poetry.
Typical of many District 2 schools, 158 uses Investigations Math, which emphasizes conceptual learning and multiple approaches to problem solving, and they draw from the Math in the City program. Teachers balance this with some drilling of math facts.
In addition to visual art, music, gym and science classes, all students have enrichment activities that vary by grade and are funded by the very active PTA. For instance, Marquis Studios provides movement classes to pre-kindergartners and circus arts to 1st-graders; 5th-graders have drama through the New Victory Theater and learn about law as well as stage a mock appellate hearing through Constitution Works.
Instructors from E3Sports organize sports and games during lunch recess to encourage students to get more physical activity.
The school runs its own after-school program. Students may participate in a range of activities for a fee.
SPECIAL EDUATION: The school offers extensive support for student with special needs including occupational and physical therapy, speech, vision and hearing services and adaptive physical education. There are ICT classes on each grade and SETSS. Select grades also have “part-time” ICT, where special education teachers visit classrooms daily during math and English instruction to work with students who need extra support but don’t require fulltime ICT.
ADMISSIONS: Zoned, neighborhood school with four, full-day pre-k classes. The school fills its pre-k seats with zoned students only, and mostly with siblings of older students. (Laura Zingmond, January 2016)
At a glance
Number of Students 763
Average Daily Attendance 95%
Safety & vibe
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?74% 81% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten classNA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade classNA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?69% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?12% 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?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?
This school does not offer self-contained classes.
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:50% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:20% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school offers team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:74% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:58% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:82% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:55% 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?