P.S. 705 Brooklyn Arts and Science Elementary School

An Insideschools pick
An Insideschools pick for Special Education
443 ST MARKS AVENUE
BROOKLYN NY 11238 Map
Phone: (718) 230-0851
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Principal: Sandra Beauvoir Soto
Neighborhood: Crown Heights
District: 17
Grade range: PK-5
Parent Coordinator: KIBIBI OYO
Number of full-day PK seats: 54
Extended PK hours offered: Contact program about extended hours.
Zoned
Dual Language
Full Day
School-based pre-k

What's special:

A welcoming school in a gentrifying neighborhood

The downside:

Some growing pains as new school finds its way

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

PS 705, the Brooklyn Arts and Science Elementary School (BASES), is a cheerful and orderly school opened in 2012 on the border of two gentrifying neighborhoods, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights. A popular dual language program gives children the chance to become fluent readers and speakers of English and Spanish. The school offers classes in dance, music, art and fencing.

Founding principal Sandra Soto works hard to balance the concerns of a range of parents—families who want a progressive approach to education and those who prefer traditional methods; homeless families who live in nearby shelters and upper middle class families who live in brownstones. The PTA has a “diversity committee” to make sure that all parents feel included; the leadership of the PTA includes people of different races. Soto’s own family is multi-racial—she is of Haitian ancestry and her husband is Puerto Rican—and she seems to have a good rapport with parents of different ethnic groups.

Most grades have two classes: a dual language class (in which the language of instruction alternates between English and Spanish each day) and a team-teaching class (which mixes special needs and general education pupils, with two teachers). On our visit, we saw some traditional teaching methods—such as math drills on worksheets—as well as some progressive approaches—such as lessons on the life cycle of the trout, from eggs hatched in a classroom aquarium. Classes are small and most have an assistant teacher or an aide in addition to the classroom teachers.    

The building that houses PS 705 has seen a remarkable transformation. Formerly known as PS 22, it was a chaotic, low-performing school with a declining enrollment and one of the lowest rated principals in the city. Soto, formerly assistant principal at the well-regarded PS 189, opened her new school in 2012 with grades k–3 and added a grade each year; Explore Exceed Charter School opened in the building the same year. PS 22 took in no new students that year and closed permanently in 2014.

Starting a new school was easier than turning around an old school would have been, Soto said. “You get to set the tone. You get to choose your staff,” Soto said. Key to the school’s success is the attention to children’s social and emotional development. A full-time social worker and four social work interns staff the “feelings room” where they help children manage their frustrations before they become behavior problems. 

While Soto’s vision is clear, the school is a work in progress. In the school’s first years, some parents withdrew their children after kindergarten or 1st grade to transfer to better-established schools. Attendance and test scores are below average. But parents who are willing to stay and work together to improve the school can count on the support of the administration and a cohesive staff.

 “You have to be a pioneer, and you have to be willing to fight through the growing pains,” Soto said.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school is welcoming to children with a range of special needs and offers lots of one-on-one help. In addition to the ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes, there are self-contained classes.

ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. Eager to keep the mix of different kinds of families as the neighborhood becomes more wealthy, Soto received permission from the Department of Education to give preference to out-of-zone families who are learning English or who are in the child welfare system. (Any child who lives in the zone is automatically admitted.) (Clara Hemphill, November 2015)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares its building with Explore Exceed Charter School

Number of Students 356

Average Daily Attendance 92%

Students at this school

Asian

  
6%

Black

  
49%

Hispanic

  
29%

White

  
14%

Free Lunch

  
69%

Special ed

  
24%

English Language Learners

  
7%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

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?

88% 81% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

96% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

29% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam

27% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam

20% 40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the school survey?

73% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA 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?

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?

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

6% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

6% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

11% 17% 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?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

92% 93% 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?

95% 86% 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% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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