Riverdale Avenue Community School PS 446
BROOKLYN NY 11212 Map
Riverdale Avenue Community School PS 446
Founded in 2012 in a location with a history of failing schools, Riverdale Community School PS 446 enjoys strong leadership and a tight-knit community. Although we visited at the end of the year, teachers and students seemed fully engaged in activities and there was a strong sense of camaraderie within the building. Time will tell whether these strengths can help administrators raise low attendance rates and offset neighborhood volatility.
PS 446’s principal, Meghan Dunn began her career as a Teach for America teacher at PS 335, a successful elementary school in Crown Heights where she discovered children do better if they stay with the same teacher for two years. At her new school, she has adopted that practice, called "looping." The school’s instructional coach, Jacqueline Coley, says the practice is integral at PS 446, helping to build trust and strong relationships between children, their teachers and their peers.
Coley holds weekly one-to-one meetings with new teachers and conducts workshops and small group meetings to discuss instruction and curriculum with all teachers. At the time of our visit, the school had children enrolled in pre-k to 3rd grade and plans to continue growing one grade per year until it becomes k–5.
The school has many partnerships to keep students engaged and having fun. Students in pre-k and kindergarten participate in Studio in a School, wherein an artist comes to the school to engage the children in art activities such as drawing portraits once or twice per week. Students from pre-k to 3rd grade have dance, gym and science two to three times per week. Monthly RACS (Respect Awareness Collaboration and Success) awards are given to students who have displayed the school’s core values. Second- and 3rd-graders are able to join chess club, art club, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and all students have the opportunity to engage in the after school program.
In the morning the children also participate in Superstart and Playworks, which provide monitored fitness activities. Coley said the school values physical activity, and even on very cold school days the children are allowed to play in the outside parks. If it becomes unbearably cold, the children are allowed to come into one of the two indoor play spaces with a coach who organizes physical activity inside.
PS 446 has three pre-k classes that are currently fully enrolled, which is impressive for this district with very low pre-k enrollment. In a phone interview, Dunn attributed her success to word-of-mouth and talking directly to daycares in the area.
During her short time as principal, Dunn has faced her share of hurdles: In addition to low attendance, increased crime in the neighborhood has been a concern. With support from Partnership with Children, the school brings in extra social workers to create a climate where safety and responsibility are valued.
Dunn's efforts are supported by a strong, active group of parents who place flyers in the neighborhood about stopping violence, and have fought for increased police presence in the area.
Parents are very active, Dunn says. They also organized a grassroots movement to opt out of state testing due to growing concerns that test prep was taking the place of important extracurricular activities such as art and music. According to NY1, 48 out of 60 PS 446 students opted out of state testing in 2014. With no previous track record of test scores, however, parents’ aversion to testing may leave prospective families with few ways to measure the school’s academics.
Special education: Integrated co-teaching (ICT) on every grade level, SETSS and counseling.
Admissions: District 23 choice but most children come from the Brownsville neighborhood. At the time of our visit, PS 446 had children enrolled in pre-k to 3rd grade. (Giselle Inoa, June 2014)
At a glance
Number of Students 269
Average Daily Attendance 88%
Safety & vibe
How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?14% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?100% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten class24 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade classNA 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% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?NA 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam
Percent of 4th 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?74% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Do parents like the school?
How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?90% 94% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Special ed & ELL
How well does this school serve students with disabilities?
This school self-contained classes.
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school team teaching (ict).
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
This school SETSS.
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 11% 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?
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?