P.S. 257 John F. Hylan

60 COOK STREET
BROOKLYN NY 11206 Map
Phone: (718) 384-7128
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Wheelchair accessible
Principal: Brian Leavy-DeVale
Neighborhood: Williamsburg/ Greenpoint
District: 14
Grade range: PK thru 05
Parent Coordinator: BRENDA JUSINO

What's special:

Marching band and ballet classes

The downside:

Location is less than ideal

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

PS 257 is a true community school. Many teachers live in the neighborhood, and a handful went to the school themselves as children. Other teachers can't bring themselves to leave, even after they reach retirement age.

The school serves many Spanish-speaking and African American children who live in the Williamsburg Houses, a mass of nearby housing projects. A handful of children of Chinese ancestry and “even a few blonde kids” have enrolled as the gentrifying neighborhood has become more diverse, said Brian Leavy De Vale, principal since 2002. But the location, amid housing projects and near the bleak-looking Woodhull Hospital, is less than ideal.

Thanks to a 2010 federal magnet grant, the school has a marching band and classes in ballet. It also offers graphic arts and after-school touch football.

The school is a joyful place, where teachers seem happy to teach and kids are encouraged to treat each other with respect. "The sense of community is amazing,” said Joseph Gallagher, the magnet coordinator for District 14. Test scores are above average for the city, a testament to the success of a school where the majority of children are poor enough to qualify for free lunch.

De Vale is a traditionalist who recalls fondly his own education at Roman Catholic parochial schools. He believes in strict discipline and order, and insists that children wear uniforms. But he also believes in the importance of play. Children go outside for recess except when the weather is below freezing. Kindergarten classes have blocks. He has also adopted some of the so-called “balanced literacy” techniques to teach reading with picture books and children’s literature—not textbooks.

Special education: The school offers "self-contained" classes for children with special needs as well as team-teaching classes that mix special ed and general education students. There is a school psychologist and social worker. It is barrier free, and children who use wheelchairs have special "adaptive phys ed" classes. Assistant principal Melvin Martinez, formerly a special education teachers, gave up his office to turn it into a room for extra help for special education pupils. On our visit, we saw kids faces light up when he was with them.

Admissions: Neighborhood school. Children from outside the zone may apply through the magnet program. (Clara Hemphill, phone interviews, February 2013)

InsideStats

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At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Number of Students 660

Average Daily Attendance 94%

Students at this school

Asian

  
2%

Black

  
21%

Hispanic

  
76%

White

  
1%

Free Lunch

  
100%

Special ed

  
27%

English Language Learners

  
15%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

3% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?

100% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

25 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

25 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

101% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

97% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

17% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

How many teachers say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep students engaged?

100% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school does a good job teaching social-emotional skills?

100% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school does a good job teaching organizational and study skills?

100% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam

26% 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ela exam

20% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 science exam

84% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the 2013 school survey?

69% 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say they attended at least one pta meeting in the 2012-2013 school year?

71% 72% 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 2012-2013 school year?

77% 74% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

99% 94% 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 2013 math exam:

5% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

5% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:

NA 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

NA 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:

26% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

11% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say students with disabilities are included in all activities?

94% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

97% 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?

98% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

3% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

20% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school ensures that ells receive the same curriculum as non-ells with appropriate suppports?

100% 91% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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