P.S. 84 Jose De Diego

An Insideschools pick
250 BERRY STREET
BROOKLYN NY 11211 Map
Phone: (718) 384-8063
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school; unzoned for magnet and dual language programs
Principal: Sereida Rodriguez
Neighborhood: Williamsburg
District: 14
Grade range: PK-7
Number of full-day PK seats: 72
Extended PK hours offered: Contact program about extended hours.
Zoned
Dual Language
Full Day
School-based pre-k

What's special:

Dual language program, strong leadership and parent involvement

The downside:

Middle school is a work in progress

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

There’s a lot to like about PS 84. Once a struggling school with low enrollment, PS 84 has transformed into a popular neighborhood option thanks to strong leadership, a sought-after dual language program, lots of parent involvement and a rich curriculum. In 2014 it added a middle school—expanding by one grade per year—and is set to reach capacity, serving grades pre-k to 8, in September 2016.  

The tone throughout the large building is sweet and cheery. Children walk calmly in the hallways and are well-behaved in class. We saw lots of writing, group work and creative projects across all subjects and didn’t observe any difference in the quality or pace of instruction between dual language and other classes.

Principal Sereida Rodriguez-Guerra took the helm in the middle of the 2009–10 school year. A public school parent herself, Rodriguez-Guerra grew up in the area and proved adept at building consensus among the longtime Latino residents and the more affluent newcomers to the school’s Williamsburg neighborhood. For instance, during Hispanic Heritage Month, which occurs at the beginning of the school year, students learn about important contributions from the Hispanic community, but also work on projects about their own cultural heritage that they share with their classmates.

“In the beginning, I sat in on every school committee to make sure everyone felt welcomed,” said Rodriguez-Guerra. “That’s changed. We have very active parents from all backgrounds and there are lots of ways to be involved.” Parents fundraise to support enrichment activities, but they also help out with school tours and in the library; they happily show up for class and school-wide events such as the annual Halloween parade.

Children in all grades benefit from strong instruction. After what Rodriguez-Guerra described as a “detour through Ready Gen,” a Common Core English curriculum that lacks supports for English language learners, the school now draws from multiple resources for English and math. The school switched to the Teachers College Reading and Writing Program, which encourages students to read a large amount of books of their choosing and at their skill level as well as write and revise multiple drafts of work on a variety of topics. Teachers also draw from other curriculum to weave in explicit instruction in phonics, spelling and vocabulary.

For elementary school math, teaches draw from several programs including GoMath, Finish Line and Spatial Temporal (ST) Math.

The middle school is a work in process and Rodriguez-Guerra and the teachers are open to rethinking decisions as well as learning from other middle schools. PS 84 teachers are working with instructors from the Institute for Collaborative Education, a well-regarded portfolio assessment school in Manhattan, to incorporate more projects and presentations into the English curriculum. In response to a survey of its first group of 6th-graders, the school added elective classes—rather than scheduling an entire class for an activity. Students can choose from classes such as art, robotics, technology, hip hop and band.

Middle school students wear uniforms of black bottoms and collared school shirts. Each year 5th-graders vote on the shirt color their grade will wear for all three years of middle school.

There are two dual language classes per grade in the elementary school, which allows for the Department of Education’s preferred method of side-by-side classrooms with separate teachers for English and Spanish. Students spend a whole day immersed in one language in one room and then switch the next day. All other elementary school classes have Spanish instruction once or twice a week.

The middle school doesn’t have a formal dual language program but all students learn Spanish. The goal is to phase in dual language instruction once the younger kids, who were in the dual language program since kindergarten, move on to middle school, according to Rodriguez-Guerra.

Art and science are not afterthoughts at this school. Students take art classes and teachers are adept at weaving art into lessons and projects across all subjects.

There are separate science rooms for grades pre-k to 2, 3-5 and the middle school. In 2015, the school opened a rooftop green house featuring state-of-the-art hydroponics equipment. Staffed by a full-time teacher, the green house functions as an additional science classroom, with students in all grades visiting for lessons, though students in the older grades will visit it more frequently. Early grade students grow fruits and vegetables in their dedicated science room, which has its own hydroponic equipment.

Special education: Every class that is not dual language follows the ICT model of two teachers (one certified in special education) serving a mix of general education and special needs students. There is also an ASD Nest Program for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). ASD children are in what the school calls “micro ICT” classes, which are smaller than typical classes and serve a mix of general education and ASD NEST students.

After school: The Greenpoint YMCA runs a free program on-site for elementary school children. Middle school students have their own after-school activities such as robotics, step, chorus, band and 3-D printing. There are also fee-based programs in the neighborhood, which will pick up PS 84 students and escort them to the off-site activities. Two teachers run a street hockey program at the school.

Admission: Zoned students only for grades k-5. The school typically has spots open for out-of-zone pre-k students because many zoned families opt for alternative pre-K options that offer extended day care. For grades 6-8, top priority goes to continuing 5th-graders, and then to District 14 students or residents who sign in at an admissions event. (Laura Zingmond, October 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 749

Average Daily Attendance 93%

Students at this school

Asian

  
3%

Black

  
3%

Hispanic

  
62%

White

  
27%

Free Lunch

  
100%

Special ed

  
17%

English Language Learners

  
17%

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?

71% 75% 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

Number of students in an average middle school english class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

75% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

24% 22% 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 students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam

18% 40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam

26% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 8th grades pass high school regents exams?

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass the algebra regents:

NA 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass a science regents:

NA 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the school survey?

56% 59% 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:

0% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

11% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

5% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

8% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

15% 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?

88% 91% 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?

96% 84% 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:

2% 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

33% 19% 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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