P.S. 189 The Bilingual Center
BROOKLYN NY 11212 Map
P.S. 189 The Bilingual Center
PS 189 is a successful dual language K-8 school that gives all students the opportunity for advanced academics in middle school, including Regents exams in science and math for the highest achievers. Instruction in Spanish and Creole attracts many students born overseas, including some who arrived from Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. In the classes we visited, instruction was mainly in English, as was nearly all of the work that was posted in classrooms and hallways.
One big reason for the school’s success is a culture of discipline, tradition and warmth. A “structured but not rigid” environment is best for the school’s 1,200-plus students, says longtime Principal Berthe Faustin. Another achievement booster is “looping” teachers with classes, so each teacher has the same class for two years. “We gain an extra month of instruction,” Faustin explained, because teachers and children are already familiar when the second year begins.
Mostly traditional classrooms feature desks in tidy rows and instructors up front. One Collaborative Team Teaching (CTT) class we visited, where special education and general education students work with two certified teachers, adopted a “workshop” model, with children in small groups. The school aims to mainstream special ed students in general ed subjects as much as possible, and often assigns a special ed teacher to support students during mainstream classes.
Many classes are very large—up to 38 students—although some are less than half the size. The school began operating its own gifted and talented program after too few children qualified for the Department of Education G&T program. On our visit, there were DOE-managed G&T classes on 3th, 4th, and 5th grades, with only 14 or 15 students; the school’s G&T classrooms, on the other hand, often exceed 32 students.
Middle school begins in 7th grade. All general education middle-school students take Spanish or French, building on the twice-weekly Latin instruction for 5th and 6th graders. And all middle-school students take advanced math, completing 9th-grade algebra in 8th grade. After state tests are complete, the school offers Regents prep for students who will take exams in June. Most 7th- and 8th-grade classrooms have SMARTboards. Students are assigned personal laptop computers for use at home and at school, to be returned when they graduate.
Teaching was mixed: Some inspired lessons in math and science engaged students in exploring electromagnetics and the difference between reflection and rotation, for example. One 5th-grade class was so engrossed in a social-studies lesson that students had to be cajoled to go to lunch. Other classes were less compelling, and some were downright passive, such as a math class where a recorded lesson was paired with visuals screened on a SMARTboard, with no direct, human instruction.
The “portables” in the schoolyard have been in place for more than 30 years, according to Faustin and Assistant Principal Victoria Fernandez. The schoolyard will be renovated in 2011. The “minischool” houses 3rd and 4th grades; students must bundle up to cross the schoolyard for lunch, making ttransitions a time-consuming, logistical chore. A double classroom with a new wood floor and basketball-court markings serves as a gym and a dance studio. Hallways do double duty as space for tutoring and small-group work. Students eat lunch with their classmates in shifts in the school’s crowded cafeteria, beginning at 10:15 a.m.
After-school arts and enrichments abound, from Boy Scouts to Haitian Cultural Exchange. There is a Saturday school for newly arrived students whose education has been interrupted and for students who need extra support on state standardized tests.
Special education: Three self-contained special education classes (for K–1, 2–3, 4–5); CTT classes in all grades; bilingual Spanish-English CTT classes in grades 4 and 5.
Admissions: Neighborhood school. Dual language programs open district-wide. For middle school there are some seats for children from outside the zone. (Helen Zelon, February 2011)
At a glance
Number of Students 1044
Average Daily Attendance 94%
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?94% 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?19% 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:8% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:4% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school offers team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:23% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:15% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:16% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:7% 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?