P.S. 107 John W. Kimball
BROOKLYN NY 11215 Map
P.S. 107 John W. Kimball
Housed in a quirky, historic building with a plum location on leafy Eighth Avenue, PS 107 has a well-developed writing program; a winning track team; and an active parent body that raises money for programs in dance, music and a much-vaunted after-school program. The school's enrollment has increased along with its popularity in recent years—some classes have as many as 32 children.
Eve Litwack, who became principal of PS 107 in 2011 after serving as assistant principal of PS 321, has adopted some of the practices of her former school, encouraging children "to take charge of their work." Classrooms are set up in stations, and children rotate from one activity to the next, working at their own pace. Some children use a computer program for math, getting feedback as they master a level. Writing is a huge focus: Beginning in kindergarten, children learn the basics of story structure, then write, edit and publish their own stories.
Litwack wants to give children a voice: One year, the student council learned about the City Council's "participatory budgeting" process, which gives community groups a say in how city money is spent. The children then applied the principles to their own school, and, with a $1,000 contribution from the PTA, bought balls and jump ropes for the play yard and more equipment for the science lab.
Fifth-graders have separate teachers for reading, writing, math and social studies. Students have planners and carry backpacks from class to class. "It really prepares them for what they'll encounter in middle school," said the principal.
Test scores are among the highest in the district, and—unlike some nearby schools—not many families have their children opt out of taking state exams. Under Litwack, the emphasis has shifted away from test prep. After hearing stories from parents about the amount of test-related homework their children were getting, she asked teachers to limit it to just one period per day for three weeks before the tests and only give test prep homework twice a week. "As a school we want our kids to do well," she said, "but the best test prep is good teaching."
Although the school has no gymnasium, it has a winning track team. All children in grades 1–5 run laps twice a week in the Armory track across the street. Kindergartners run laps on the school playground because the cavernous Armory was daunting for them, the principal said. Once a week, families meet at 7 am for "fun runs" the length of Prospect Park followed by breakfast with the physical education teacher.
The 19th-century building has a cramped, awkward layout; some classrooms are only accessible by going through other classes. A large, sunny space on the top floor is used for the arts and a library.
On the first Friday of every month, the school is open for families to visit their child's classroom. The PTA pays for authors such as R. L. Stine to visit the school. It also funds programs with the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham, Together in Dance and ballroom dancing.
Popular middle school choices include MS 51, MS 839 and Mark Twain.
PS 107 has long been known for its many after-school offerings developed by parents. "People used to come for after-school but kind of stayed for the day. I'd like it to be that they come for the quality of the school and the after-school is a bonus," said Litwack. Offerings include puppet-making, Mandarin and fencing. About two-thirds of the children attend.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT classrooms on every grade with two teachers, one for general education and the other for special education.
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. The school hosts many tours. (Pamela Wheaton, March 2016)
At a glance
Number of Students 572
Average Daily Attendance 96%
Safety & vibe
How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?3% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?91% 86% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten class24 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade class30 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?94% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?94% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?3% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam
Percent of 4th 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?93% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Do parents like the school?
How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?97% 94% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Special ed & ELL
How well does this school serve students with disabilities?
This school does not offer self-contained classes.
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school offers team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:47% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:33% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 9% 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?