P.S. 138 Brooklyn
BROOKLYN NY 11216 Map
P.S. 138 Brooklyn
Extended PK hours offered: Contact program about extended hours.
PS/MS 138 has a happy, spirited tone from the laughter in the main office to the joyful mayhem on the playground, where children race across the yard to embrace their beaming Haitian-born principal. For decades the school has served a primarily West Indian and African-American community; the alumni who participate in career day include a medical illustrator, a judge, a principal and a teacher. Under the able leadership of Principal Marie Chauvet-Monchik, this pre-k–8th-grade school continues to serve its students well, whether they are in a special education class or a Regents-level class for high-achievers. Many teaching assistants sit alongside individual children who need one-on-one help. “Our students are very high-functioning because everyone’s needs are met,” said Chauvet-Monchik, who began working here as a science teacher more than 25 years ago.
For many years the school has used the “core knowledge” curriculum, in which kids are exposed to history, geography, civics and science from an early age. It’s based on the work of E.D. Hirsch, who wrote Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know. Kindergartners learn about familiar American symbols like the Statue of Liberty and the U.S. flag—useful for the school’s new immigrants— and 1st-graders read Aesop's Fables and learn about our nation’s westward expansion.
Beginning in 2nd grade, children visit one of the school’s four science labs twice a week and the number of visits to the lab increase as they get older. We observed a “self-contained” 6th-grade science class in which nine children, assisted by five adults, were learning about the sun. “Who made time?” a student asked, stumping the teacher. Several children said science is their favorite subject. “I love living environment,” said an 8th-grade girl. “I learn about the independent variable, the dependent variables. I love the experiments.” There are three 8th-grade biology classes; only one is “officially” a Regents-level class, but almost two dozen children from the other classes take the Regents exam. The school also offers French and Spanish.
In a well-planned program designed to pique students’ interest in college, about 50 students visit Medgar Evers College every Friday morning to attend classes designed just for them, taught by college professors. In a school where attendance is sometimes a struggle, these classes are popular, attendance-boosting events, to which parents are also invited. Students also tour Columbia University, St. Johns College and the College of St. Francis.
The school has seen a decline in the number of students over the years. As homeless shelters close, new businesses open up and rents rise, some PS/MS 138 families have left the city, affecting enrollment. Additionally, in 2013, Success Academy Prospect Heights Charter School moved into a section of the building, providing another choice for families.
It’s not been easy to fill the lively pre-kindergarten classes at PS/MS 138 either, which buzz with the sound of kids talking and doing. These classrooms are led by seasoned teachers, but the school is unable to offer extended hours the way other area pre-k’s can—a necessity for working parents.
PS/MS 138 offers dance, drama and journalism, as well as math and science tutoring four days a week after school. Medgar Evers is a popular high school choice for graduates, as is Benjamin Banneker. One or two students gain admission to Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Tech each year.
Special education: PS/MS 138 has several team-taught, or integrated co-teaching (ICT) classes that mix special and general education students in one room, and has embraced the movement away from so-called “self-contained” classes. “The better fit of inclusion is amazing,” said the principal, pointing out a student who began in a self-contained class when she was small who is now in the top 8th-grade math class. Many teaching assistants sit with individual students, and all students have the option of taking the 8th-grade Regents exams if they feel prepared to give it a try.
Admissions: Neighborhood school. The school takes roughly 30 students from outside the school in 6th grade. (Lydie Raschka, November 2014)
At a glance
Number of Students 679
Average Daily Attendance 92%
Safety & vibe
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?91% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten classNA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade classNA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average middle school english classNA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?96% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?29% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam
Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam
Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam
Percent of 8th 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?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?
This school offers self-contained classes.
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:7% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school offers team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:3% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:3% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:27% 15% 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?
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?