P.S./M.S. 282 Park Slope
BROOKLYN NY 11217 Map
P.S./M.S. 282 Park Slope
UPDATE AUGUST 2014: Principal Magalie Alexis left the school in June 2014. According to a letter sent to parents by the district superintendent, she will be on a leave of absence from the Department of Education but will not be returning to PS/MS 282. In August 2014, the DOE named Rashan Hoke interim acting principal. Hoke left the corporate world to become a Teaching Fellow in 2002, according to DNAInfo.com. He taught in an elementary school in Washington Heights and was later an educational director at the Children's Aid Society, overseeing after school programs. He told DNAInfo he plans to keep the school's focus on gardening and the arts. In the interview he said, "We have to be very cognizant that 282 has a lot of great things — like parent engagement, arts programming and extracurriculars — that we want to enhance."
OCTOBER 2011 REVIEW: PS 282 has a strong music and art program, a building with state-of-the-art resources, and a strong emphasis on preparing for standardized state exams. Its gifted program attracts students from across the district. However, teachers and some parents have clashed with the school’s strong-minded principal. The middle school launched in 2008 has struggled to find its academic footing.
Classrooms in the lower grades are welcoming, decorated with student work and have shelves packed with books. Swimming, violin, and piano are offered. On a tour for prospective parents, we saw children singing, dancing and engaged in creative lessons with desks organized in small groups. There were also classes in which children chanted phonics lessons in unison. Homework is assigned starting in kindergarten.
It is clear that testing mandates drive many lessons. A large display of student work in one hallway was headlined with “Level 4 students know how to:” referring to the highest level students can achieve on the state exams. Most displays of student work included the precise state standard being illustrated.
PS 282 is in the heart of one of the Brooklyn’s toniest neighborhoods, but 80 percent of its students come from outside the zone. Parents who live in the zone—primarily white and upper middle class—are increasingly sending their children to PS 282 for kindergarten and first grade, but most transfer out by second grade, opting for private schools or other public schools nearby.
Some parents have chafed at Principal Magalie Alexis’s style, which they find unwelcoming. Some say the atmosphere is too strict—and are put off by the way staff members blow whistles on the playground to keep order. Others defend Alexis’s “no-nonsense” approach, saying she keeps the building safe. Her defenders dispute the notion that she keeps parents out of the building. For example, parents are invited to sit in on classes and observe, according to a veteran teacher leading a parent tour.
A majority of teachers said on the learning survey they didn’t trust Alexis and that she was not an effective manager. “There is no way for teachers to be heard,” said one teacher who left in 2011. “She cares about the kids, but if you cross her as a teacher, she will make your life very difficult.”
Nonetheless, the administration has been extremely adept at digging up extra resources in a time of tight budgets. There are 20 graduate students doing their student teaching at the school. Local politicians have helped to fund a gleaming new science lab, a library under construction in 2011 and a media center, complete with 22 iPads that allow students to produce a school magazine. The school has partnerships with Lincoln Center, the YMCA, Ballet Tech and an after-school program run by Imani House. [The "About us" video on this page, one of several videos produced by the school for its 50 year anniversary in 2013, shows arts and academics in action.]
Middle school students wear uniforms, are taught mostly on the third floor and use separate stairways “to minimize contact with the little kids,” a teacher told us. There are two self-contained special education classes and one inclusion class.
The administration is proud that 10 students passed math Regents in 2011, but overall the school has struggled to raise academic achievement. Classrooms and hallways were less orderly than the lower grades, and many students reported on the learning survey that some students act in a disrespectful way towards the teachers. Test scores for the middle school, while higher than the district wide averages, are lower than the elementary school.
Extracurriculars include hip hop dance, ballroom dancing, and vocals. Students interested in sports can play volleyball, double dutch, rugby, basketball, and run cross country.
There is an annual week-long trip to a farm in Vermont where the kids do all the farm chores. Students have also taken trips to Georgia, Tennessee, London, Cape Cod and visited colleges.
Admissions: Neighborhood school. District-wide gifted program. (Meredith Kolodner, October 2011)
At a glance
Number of Students 1004
Average Daily Attendance 93%
Safety & vibe
How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?37% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?29% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten class23 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade class27 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average middle school english class25 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?18% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?26% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?22% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam
Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam
Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam
Percent of 8th 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?75% 71% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Do parents like the school?
How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?84% 93% 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:7% 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:0% 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school does not offer team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school offers SETSS.
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:8% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:4% 7% 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?