P.S. 54 Samuel C. Barnes

195 SANDFORD STREET
BROOKLYN NY 11205 Map
Phone: (718) 834-6752
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Principal: Anthony Pirro
Neighborhood: Bedford-Stuyvesant
District: 13
Grade range: PK-5
Parent Coordinator: EVANGELI UMPTHERY
Number of full-day PK seats: 54
Extended PK hours offered: Contact program about extended hours.
Zoned
Dual Language
Full Day
School-based pre-k

What's special:

STEM magnet program, lots of outdoor space for play and green projects

The downside:

Population shrinking due to demographic shifts in neighborhood, low test scores

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Students at PS 54 figure out how to make water filters, plant outdoor gardens and explore science in an inviting science lab and around the city as part of the school’s Environmental Science, Technology & Community Wellness magnet grant. Fitness is also a focus at this small school which has been cited by the city for its healthy school environment. Children enjoy playing in the indoor gym and planting trees in the expansive playgrounds outside the building.

Partnerships with community and environmental organizations bring in much-needed resources to this Bedford-Stuyvesant school where most students qualify for free lunch. Children go on trips with the Hudson River Stoop-Clearwater and to the Alley Pond Environmental Center, and Brooklyn Botanic Gardens where they learn to compost. Several classrooms have tanks with fish and turtles.

PS 54 students benefit from small classes; there are only about 20 students on average in each of two classrooms on every grade. The downside is that the school’s population has been shrinking as the neighborhood changes. Many Hasidic families have moved into the neighborhood who don’t send their children to public school. PS 54 uses both its magnet program and a Spanish dual language program to attract families from outside the zone.

Principal Anthony Pirro came to the school in 2015, replacing a longtime principal and bringing in fresh ideas. A scientist in his former career, he became somewhat of a data expert but decided he didn’t like spending so much time in the lab. He changed careers and became an elementary school teacher in nearby District 16, then was assistant principal for eight years at PS 503 in District 20. His goal is to bring to PS 54 some of the same diversity and vibrant arts that are a hallmark in that school.

“I’d like this to become a microcosm of New York City diversity,” he said.

He faces some challenges and a very different population at PS 54. In addition to low enrollment, student test scores are way below city average and, as a newcomer to the school, Pirro must convince longtime staffers of the need for change. He uses data—on the test scores and some safety concerns that predated his arrival—to bolster his case for the need to “lift the rigor.” “What we were doing wasn’t working,” he said.

Pirro is instituting a restorative discipline process which is more supportive than punitive of students who misbehave. He is actively seeking arts partners and working on building a “strong home-school connection”. Parents are invited to walk their children into the pre-k, kindergarten and 1st-grade classrooms now located on the first floor and stay for awhile. There are monthly coffees with him and publishing parties where students read their work. The school technology lab, gym and art room are open to family use every Tuesday afternoon.

In the classroom, staff developers from Teachers College Reading and Writing Project work with teachers. Children go on field trips related to their units of study: pre-k students tour the Fairway market and Green Meadows Farm; 2nd-graders studying the Earth go to the Museum of Natural History; 3rd-graders learn to compost at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and 4th-graders devised a water catchment system for the schoolyard.

Children get a chance to shine during Friday enrichment clubs, based on the Joseph Renzulli model’s belief that “everybody is good at something.” Options include gardening, soccer, arts and more.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: About 18 percent of the students have IEPs (individual educational programs). There are ICT classes and SETSS.

ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. There are openings for students from outside the zone and the school offers tours. (Pamela Wheaton, December 2015)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Number of Students 241

Average Daily Attendance 91%

Students at this school

Asian

  
4%

Black

  
57%

Hispanic

  
37%

White

  
0%

Free Lunch

  
94%

Special ed

  
20%

English Language Learners

  
14%

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?

54% 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?

70% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

34% 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

5% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

10% 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?

36% 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:

NA 8% 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:

9% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

9% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 17% 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?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

83% 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?

80% 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:

NA 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 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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