PS 343 The Peck Slip School
MANHATTAN NY 10038 Map
PS 343 The Peck Slip School
Extended PK hours offered: No
Created to relieve overcrowding in other schools downtown, Peck Slip School, also known as PS 343, has the luxury of plenty of space. The building, opened in 2015, has large windows with stunning views of the Financial District; airy, well-equipped classrooms; and spotless, well-lit halls.
One room, adjacent to the cafeteria, is set aside for children to play with large rubber blocks. Classrooms for pre-k through 1st grade are equipped with wooden blocks and LEGOs which help children understand shapes and sizes as they learn arithmetic. There is a lovely library but no textbooks: Children read exclusively from books you might read for fun.
Principal Maggie Siena, who started her teaching career at PS 234 and was the principal of PS 150, has significant experience with the progressive, project-based curriculum for which the downtown schools are known. Children might study birds, or the subways, with lessons that integrate reading, writing, history and science.
Third-graders study the Brooklyn Bridge, beginning by posing their own questions: “Who thought of the idea of a bridge?” “How did they get it on the water?” “How many people died building it?” “Was it worth it?” “How does it stay up?” They then study the history of the bridge, reading picture books but also contemporary accounts from magazines like Harper’s Weekly. They learn about the frigid winter of 1866 when ferries couldn’t cross the frozen East River. They take a ferry to Brooklyn, and they walk across the bridge to see the difference. They learn basic principles of engineering.
Children call the teachers, including the principal, by their first names. The school has an informal, joyful atmosphere. Routines are clear and children move from one activity to another without a lot of wasted time. Children are free to move around the classroom and stand and stretch.
The school prides itself on its vegetarian lunchroom. A typical meal: vegetarian chili, rice, corn and salad. Children go outside for recess on the rooftop playground on all but the most frigid days. (Pre-kindergartners go out twice a day). The physical education teacher supervises the games outside; children who have trouble socializing are invited to take part in “structured recess,” with grown-ups guiding the play.
The school, which began with a few classes in 2012 and was housed in the Department of Education headquarters while its new building was under construction, is adding a grade each year. It’s too new to have a track record, but it’s off to a promising start.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers ICT team-teaching classes. It has a full-time speech therapist and a part-time occupational therapist. Sometimes children receive these services right in their classroom; sometimes they are pulled out for individual attention.
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. The school has its own pre-k for zoned children, but children from outside the zone may attend pre-kindergarten at the “pre-k center,” housed in the building but not formally affiliated with the school. (Clara Hemphill, October 2015)
At a glance
Number of Students 161
Average Daily Attendance 95%
Safety & vibe
How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?NA 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?100% 86% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten class21 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% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?100% 87% 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?98% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Do parents like the school?
How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?98% 94% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Special ed & ELL
How well does this school serve students with disabilities?
This school does not offer self-contained classes.
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school offers team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 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?