Ella Baker School
An Insideschools pick
MANHATTAN NY 10065 Map
Ella Baker School
A small, progressive school founded on the model of Central Park East in East Harlem, Ella Baker is a happy, informal place where children call grown ups by their first names and there's plenty of time to build with blocks, to dance, or to explore the neighborhood on class trips. Two grades of kids are taught together (K-1), (2-3), so students have the same teacher for two years. Children are encouraged to explore their own interests and work at their own pace.
As other public schools have increasingly focused on preparing children for standardized tests, Ella Baker has maintained its commitment to learning through play and discovery. The school has no textbooks, only fun-to-read picture books and novels, science discovery books and historical fiction. There are weekly trips to museums, parks, and ice-skating.
Both the student body and the faculty are racially diverse, and there are an unusual number of men. The staff, let by Principal Laura Garcia, is stable and experienced. We heard no raised voices on our tour, and kids seemed reassured by clear classroom routines.
The school is part of the Julia Richman Educational Complex, a large building that houses several alternative high schools. Ella Baker shares the complex's two gyms, pool, auditoriums, ballet studio, library, computer room and Mount Sinai health facility.
The homework load is light and the tiny middle school does not offer Regents-level math or science—a plus or minus depending on your point of view. Some teachers say the academic expectations are not as high are they should be, according to the Learning Environment Survey. Garcia acknowledges that the school's test scores, while above the citywide average, have room to grow and she's committed to finding ways to improve them without sacrificing the joyful atmosphere that is Ella Baker's hallmark.
Special education: About 40 children receive special education services. A speech therapist comes twice a week. Students with special needs are fully integrated into all classes.
Admissions: There are regular tours beginning in October. Families must tour the school and visit classrooms before applying to see if it is a good fit. Applications are due in March. Children from all five boroughs may attend. Priority is given to children of parents who travel to the East Side area for school or work and to those who have siblings in the LYFE program in the Julia Richmond building. (Clara Hemphill, January 2012)
At a glance
Number of Students 319
Average Daily Attendance 91%
Safety & vibe
How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?6% 20% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?94% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten class12 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade class12 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average middle school english class16 25 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?100% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?34% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam
Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ela exam
Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 science exam
Percent of 8th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 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 2012-2013 school year?92% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Do parents like the school?
How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?96% 92% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Special ed & ELL
How well does this school serve students with disabilities?
As of 2012-2013, this school does not offer self-contained classes.
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:NA 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:NA 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
As of 2012-2013, this school does not offer team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:NA 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:NA 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
As of 2012-2013, this school offers SETSS.
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:7% 10% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:7% 6% 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?