P.S. 235 Janice Knight School

An Insideschools pick
525 LENOX ROAD
BROOKLYN NY 11203 Map
Phone: (718) 773-4869
Website: Click here
Admissions: neighborhood school/gifted program
Principal: Laurence Lord
Neighborhood: East Flatbush
District: 18
Grade range: PK-8
Parent Coordinator: Michele Cumbo
Zoned
Wheelchair Accessible
Screened

What's special:

High performing school attracts children from across Brooklyn

The downside:

One principal oversees three far-flung locations

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

PS 235 is a gigantic neighborhood school with a long history of high academic standards and a well-regarded dance program. Children from across Brooklyn apply to SOAR, as the school’s enrichment program for academically gifted students is known, and to its selective middle school, Lenox Academy.

SOAR, which stands for Stimulating Outstanding Achievement through Reading, is no longer officially a “gifted” program since the Department of Education centralized admission to “gifted and talented” programs. However, out-of-zone children may take a test at the school in January or February to be admitted to the SOAR program, a school official said. More than half of the classes at PS 235 are designated as SOAR classes, according to the school website. PS 235 consistently posts high test scores.

The sprawling school occupies three buildings, each several miles from the others. The main building houses pre-kindergarten classes and grades 3-5. Some children in grades K-2 attend classes in the main building and some travel by bus to the Early Childhood Center at 5811 Ditmas Ave. at 58th Street (718 629-6875). The Lenox Academy, serves about 300 students in grades 6-8 at 100-01 Flatlands Avenue (718-927-5228), a building it shares with () Olympus Academy, a small alternative high school. One principal, Laurence Lord, oversees all three buildings, as well as an annex called a “minischool” and portable classrooms next to the main building.

The middle school offers an accelerated program and all students are expected to take a math and Living Environment Regents exam, as well as the Spanish proficiency test, at the end of 8th grade. Over 90 percent of 8th graders leave the school with six high school credits. English and social studies classes are combined, with students getting a total of 12 periods a week. Sixth and 7th graders also take art, while 8th graders concentrate  on the core academic subjects. Students are expected to push themselves. "We never praise students for being smart," assistant principal Joseph Giamportone says, "instead we tell them, 'You must have worked really hard.'"

Middle school students we spoke with said teachers make an effort to help students when the work became difficult. Several told us they liked Lenox Academy's small size and friendliness. "It's like a big sisterhood, a big brotherhood here," one said.

The school has stable leadership. Lord, formerly assistant principal, replaced Lisa Solitario in 2012. Solitario had been principal since the 2007 death of long-time principal Janice Knight, for whom the school is named. Teachers and parents agree the school has high expectations, according to the Learning Environment Survey. Teachers agree the school is orderly, and middle school students responding to the survey reported few problems with  gangs or fighting, although more than a third said they did not feel safe outside the school building.

Dancers and artists from National Dance Institute (NDI), a program founded by Jacques d'Amboise, offers dance instruction to all 4th graders at the school. [See photo on this page] Some go on to dance in NDI’s citywide children’s dance troupe.

Special education: Only a small percentage of students receive special education services, although the school does have self-contained classes.

Admissions: Zoned neighborhood school. Out-of-district children may take an exam for the SOAR program in January and February. Students interested in the middle school must apply by February. Those with sufficiently high test scores and good 4th grade records are invited to take a test in March. Admission then is offered to students on the basis of the test scores alone. Call the school for the date of the middle school open house.(Clara Hemphill, interviews, February 2013; Gail Robinson, middle school open house, November 2013)

 

 

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 1234

Average Daily Attendance 95%

Students at this school

Asian

  
1%

Black

  
95%

Hispanic

  
2%

White

  
1%

Free Lunch

  
78%

Special ed

  
7%

English Language Learners

  
1%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

13% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

96% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

20 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

27 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average middle school english class

29 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

100% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

100% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

12% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

82% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

98% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

98% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam

57% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam

54% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

95% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam

97% 52% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 8th grades pass high school regents exams?

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass the algebra regents:

55% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass a science regents:

99% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the school survey?

30% 62% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

73% 69% 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 last school year?

56% 71% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

95% 93% 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 state math exam:

NA 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

95% 97% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 87% 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?

100% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

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

0% 4% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

95% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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