PS 118 Maurice Sendak Community School

211 8TH STREET
BROOKLYN NY 11215 Map
Phone: (718) 840-5660
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Principal: Elizabeth Garraway
Neighborhood: Park Slope
District: 15
Grade range: PK-3
Parent Coordinator: MARIATERESA BAZZI
Number of full-day PK seats: 72
Extended PK hours offered: Contact program about extended hours.
Zoned
New School
Full Day
School-based pre-k

What's special:

Experienced leader; robust social studies

The downside:

School is located outside the attendance zone

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Aptly named after Maurice Sendak, the author of Where the Wild Things Are, PS 118 is a bubbly, inventive place where young “wild things” are encouraged to express themselves and explore the “jungle” of New York City and beyond. Children create projects based on trips, experiences and lessons in a rich social studies program that brings added meaning to reading and writing. They study Spanish and get to design their own homework.

A sign on the door to a pre-kindergarten class says, “Under Construction!” because of all the building going on inside, with LEGOs, wooden blocks, Magna-Tiles and other materials. Hallways are filled with collage, sculpture, facts about polar bears, bar graphs and photos of children’s faces with bubbles saying what they want to be when they grow up. A big, bright science room has fish tanks, crickets and plants. In science, parents were told on a tour, kindergartners get to study worms.

Children explore their neighborhood and the wider city: On our February visit, 1st graders had already gone on eight field trips to see historic sites, museums and more, in their exploration of Brooklyn’s history.

Second graders take field trips to Ellis Island as part of their immigration study, culminating in a living “wax museum” in which kids dress up and tell immigrant stories. “Every opportunity is an opportunity to learn something new,” said Principal Elizabeth Garraway.

Spanish is infused into academics and play, and children hear it spoken throughout the day—not just in twice weekly Spanish lessons. At least one of the two teachers in every classroom is bilingual. Beginning in pre-kindergarten, children sing songs in Spanish, learn the alphabet, and practice simple words about the weather, clothing and body parts.

Garraway designed this multicultural approach in keeping with her own international background and her experience as assistant principal at popular PS 321. A graduate of Midwood High School, she has a master's degree in Spanish and anthropology and studied in Europe, living in Spain for seven years. She taught both Spanish and French in Brooklyn middle and high schools. "My background is in language, culture and people, and what's important to me is to use that background in the work that I do," Garraway told DNAinfo.

The school has an unusual homework policy called EYB (exercise your brain), in which children choose from a “menu” of ideas that may include making a nonfiction book, a diorama or a homemade board game incorporating facts about tornadoes. On our tour, we saw projects that went far beyond the scope of typical fill-in-the-blank homework—but in their sophistication seemed dependent on organizational guidance from an adult at home.

Parents are very active at PS 118. They accompany classes on field trips and neighborhood walks and began a fee-based after-school program. They are invited to monthly “family Fridays” for an art project or breakfast. They raise money for trips, arts and the second adult in every classroom. Garraway said parents raise about $1,000 per child per year.

Opened in 2013 to ease overcrowding at nearby PS 321 and PS 107, PS 118 is housed in former parochial school building, St. Thomas Aquinas. There are two classes on most grades, including pre-kindergarten. Well-designed renovations include a airy top-floor gymnasium and a cafeteria with a glass divider on the ground floor.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school is flexible about offering children the services they need, said Garraway, formerly a special education supervisor at PS 321. A lot of the teachers are certified to teach special education, she said.

ADMISSION: Neighborhood school. The school is located outside its attendance zone, roughly comprising the area between Third and Fourth avenues and President and Sixth streets. (Lydie Raschka, parent tour, February 2017)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares a building with a Pre-K Center

Number of Students 218

Average Daily Attendance 95%

Students at this school

Asian

  
6%

Black

  
10%

Hispanic

  
10%

White

  
61%

Free Lunch

  
10%

Special ed

  
12%

English Language Learners

  
0%

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?

100% 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?

100% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

10% 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

NA 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 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?

86% 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:

NA 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 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?

94% 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:

NA 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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