P.S. 147 Isaac Remsen

325 BUSHWICK AVENUE
BROOKLYN NY 11206 Map
Phone: (718) 497-0326
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Principal: Sandra Noyola
Neighborhood: Williamsburg
District: 14
Grade range: PK-5
Parent Coordinator: LOURDES SANTIAGO
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:

Dynamic leadership with lots of energy for bringing in extras

The downside:

Quite a few children are chronically absent

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

January 2015 update: PS 147 Isaac Remsen received $25,000 in federal grants to create the first Japanese dual language program in New York City beginning in September 2015.

March 2014 review: PS 147 in District 14 has a lot of great things going for it, including dynamic leadership and strong community partnerships. The school has the largest, most spacious and most beautiful pre-k classrooms that we have seen in this district so far. These are double-sized classrooms with a sand table, water table, block and dramatic play areas, and even a quiet area where kids can listen to music on headphones.

Test scores in the upper grades and attendance still have a way to go but parents and teachers are thrilled to be a part of this safe and growing community where kids take many field trips a year, eat healthy food and learn to play guitar. 

Sustainability and healthy living are taken seriously here. In keeping with the school's theme of environmental engineering, there is a hydroponics lab, thanks to a grant from Lowe's Home Improvement store. The school is working on creating raised outdoor gardens in collaboration with ECOstation, a nonprofit focused on food justice and urban agriculture. It has a partnership with CookShop Classroom, in which a FreshDirect van comes in with fresh fruits and vegetables, and children learn to make simple recipes. This also includes workshops for parents. Representatives from the Bushwick Farmers Market visit the school in June and hold talks and workshops with students. They also give coupons to families to promote "real foods" in East Williamsburg.

Sandra Noyola became principal 2011. She began her career with the Department of Education more than 20 years ago and worked her way up from an assistant teacher to principal. Since coming to PS 147, she has boosted enrollment by 100 students, and her school was one of two in the district that successfully fought off a second co-location. (The school currently shares a building only with Young Women's Leadership, an all-girls middle school with plans to expand to a high school.) A former literacy coach, Noyola does not believe in purchasing test-prep curriculum for her students. Instead, PS 147 is one of two project schools in this district working with the well-respected trainers at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Teachers work to create Common Core–aligned units of study that are anchored in history, but they also tie in the arts and literature with guidance from Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). (VTS instructors help teachers ask open-ended questions to get kids talking to each other more.) On the day of our visit, we were pleased to see students reading self-selected books and writing in notebooks, not filling out workbooks and worksheets. Students flowed effortlessly from whole group instruction in reading strategies to individualized self-selected reading where they tried out the techniques on their own.

To raise test scores, teachers work after school with kids who need more help. After test results showed weaknesses in reading comprehension and writing organization, teachers have begun emphasizing those areas, Noyola said. Efforts to raise attendance include monthly celebrations, extra field trips and phone calls home.

The school has partnerships with Streb (workshops investigating movement and choreography), City Lore World Rhythms (bringing folk and fine artists into schools), Music and the Brain (learning to read music and piano lessons), Little Kids Rock Guitar, Nurture Art and many other organizations. Students take about 20 field trips a year. While it's true that the PTA doesn't quite have the fund-raising muscle of other more well-known schools in the district, PS 147 has done very well, parents say, because of Principal Noyola's resourcefulness. She has a staff member who coordinates with community organizations and who also happens to be a very talented grant writer.

All students have recess, and they receive music and gym classes throughout the week. The school has a beautiful library filled with light-blond wood furniture and books of all genres. Each time that we've visited, the librarian, a former literacy coach, was leading discussion circles with a group of students working on author studies or using Mac laptops to do research. (In other area schools, we've seen gorgeous libraries sit unused.)

The school received money from Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna to build a playground for the upper grades in a lot down the street. The lower grades play in a courtyard decorated with murals during recess. Noyola converted a large space on the first floor into a "gymnasium" and hired a full time physical education teacher who uses the space creatively.

Noyola has joined with a group of mothers living in District 14 who are working on creating the first ever Japanese dual-language program in New York City for the fall of 2015. This program may attract the growing Japanese population living in the Greenpoint/Williamsburg area and non-native families inside and outside of the district. 

Special education: The school offers SETSS and self-contained classes. 

Admissions: Neighborhood school. (Lanny Cheuck, March 2014)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the building with the Young Women's Leadership School of Brooklyn

Number of Students 297

Average Daily Attendance 92%

Students at this school

Asian

  
3%

Black

  
23%

Hispanic

  
65%

White

  
6%

Free Lunch

  
82%

Special ed

  
18%

English Language Learners

  
8%

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?

96% 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?

100% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

29% 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

33% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

53% 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?

95% 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:

23% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

8% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 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?

100% 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?

89% 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:

43% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 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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