MS 313, Dock Street School for STEAM Studies
BROOKLYN NY 11201 Map
MS 313, Dock Street School for STEAM Studies
The Dock Street School for STEAM Studies, opened in September 2016, is off to a good start. With a handsome, light-filled building; a challenging, well-rounded curriculum; and a supportive group of parents, Dock Street is a welcome addition to a district with few strong middle school options.
“Here you don’t have to choose between arts and science,” said the parent of a 6th-grader who graduated from the popular PS 11. STEAM is short for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math and the school has two science labs and an enticing array of visual arts, dance, music and drama. The school, housed on the second floor of a residential building in DUMBO, has an art room with a kiln and a dance studio. An Alvin Ailey instructor teaches dance.
Classrooms are cozy: some students curl up on comfy beanbag chairs while others nestle in a window seat. Teachers encourage class discussions and projects; for example, 6th graders created dioramas depicting life in Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt.
On our visit, during Black History Month, students started the day screening a videotape about prominent African-Americans. In music class, they sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” In art class, they made mannequins of clear tape to symbolize invisible slaves—props for a play they would put on.
The neighborhood has embraced Dock Street: St. Ann’s Warehouse, across the street, holds student workshops, helps with school productions and invites students to their performances. Their stagehands taught teachers how to use the lighting and equipment in the school’s combined gym and auditorium called a “gymatorium.” A local tech company invited Dock Street to participate in “Big Idea Week.” GAP clothing store donated uniform pants and shirts. Two Trees, a real estate developer, funds a Saturday Academy and a chess team. The school has no playground, but students go to Brooklyn Bridge Park at lunchtime. Students regularly use laptops in class but there is no technology lab, something the school wishes to have so that all children can learn programs simultaneously, the principal said.
Parents and teachers credit the principal, Dr. Melissa Vaughan, with creating a welcoming environment. “She’s very highly respected. She’s created that nurturing environment,” a teacher said. “Kids feel safe and they feel cared for.”
Vaughan, a former Alvin Ailey dancer, was a special education teacher and dance teacher at Brooklyn High School of the Arts before becoming principal of Satellite West, a tiny middle school previously housed in nearby PS 307. When Satellite West closed in 2016, Vaughan and its remaining students moved to Dock Street, which kept the old school’s number, MS 313. They were joined by about 100 new 6th graders.
The school shares a building with a Pre-K center.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers ICT class and self-contained classes. Graduates of the PS 307 ASD Nest Program for high-functioning students on the autism spectrum continue in the program at Dock Street.
ADMISSIONS: Priority goes to District 13. The school considers student grades, test scores, attendance and teacher comments. After reviewing report cards, the school invites some students to a group interview and to complete a writing and science assignment. In 2017, the school got the most applications of any middle school in District 13, the principal said. (Pamela Wheaton, February 2017)
At a glance
Number of Students 77
Average Daily Attendance 87%
INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: NA 2.59 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Safety & vibe
DO STUDENTS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students say this school offers enough programs to keep them interested?NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE KIDS NICE?
How many students complain about bullying?NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students say students at their school respect one another?44% 49% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?100% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?78% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average english classNA 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?49% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE