Hamilton Grange Middle School

500 WEST 138 STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10031 Map
Phone: (212) 281-6184
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Principal: Benjamin Lev
Neighborhood: Harlem
District: 6
Grade range: 6-8
Unzoned
New School

What's special:

Emphasis on writing and debate; strong teachers

The downside:

Heavy reliance on iPads with sporadic WiFi

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Opened in 2014 on the third floor of PS 192, The Hamilton Grange School has quickly become popular among Upper Manhattan families looking for progressive options. The heart of the curriculum is reading, writing and discussion; many students are still learning English in this largely Dominican neighborhood.

We found a thoughtful balance of structure and innovation in a young school still forging its identity. Children wear uniforms and the tone is studious and respectful. Teens sat quietly in loose rows at tables facing the teacher. Principal Benjamin Lev said teachers shy away from "group work for the sake of group work," but that students move in and out of groups for specific activities.

Hard work, not talent, is prized and mistakes are seen as a chance to learn. Students are encouraged to retake exams and rewrite essays. The principal is attuned to kids who struggle and doesn't easily resort to suspensions. Teens have a voice; they create goals and lead their own parent conferences twice a year.

The principal's office is filled with a stimulating array of books, but like a newly furnished home, the classrooms were sparse aside from blue and yellow "core values" posters and quotes. One room had flags from children's home countries, including Mexico and the Dominican Republic. All children study Spanish, art and music.

Lev taught math and science at MS 324 and was assistant principal at PS 192. Instead of scripted lessons, teachers tap into different viewpoints by having children research an issue and take a side in a debate, such as, "Should Britain return the Rosetta Stone to Egypt?" Sixth graders study Greek and Roman mythology and visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art to better grasp mythological references when they read the popular Percy Jackson novels by Rick Riordan.

Most in-school reading is done on iPad's using the LightSail program for 45 minutes three days a week. Unfortunately, iPads are dependent on the building's sporadic WiFi, but thee are "real" books too. Reading skills span a wide range, from couple of children who read at a 1st grade level to those who read at a 10th grade level, said the reading specialist who works with about 60 students.

Despite the language focus, some girls volunteered they like math best. There are two 8th grade Regents classes, algebra and living environment. In a math class, students practiced problems compiled from CMP3 (Connected Mathematics Project 3), Engage NY and Go Math programs.

Hamilton Grange is a draw for ambitious teachers. Lead teachers get slightly more pay and a lighter teaching load so they have time to mentor peers. Lev hired three teachers from Amistad, a nearby dual-language school, and a math lead teacher from the high-performing Anderson School on the Upper West Side.

The staff has training in a technique to help children learn how to manage emotions that can lead to destructive actions. Lev recalls middle school as a confusing time when he was often angry but never knew why—only that his actions resulted in suspensions from sports or school. "Punishing them is not a good teacher," he said.

College undergrads visit and discuss the college experience through a particular lens, such as what it's like to be a new immigrant, on a sports scholarship or in an engineering class. Teacher's and Writer's Collaborative helps students get started on a college admissions essay.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Lev is a former special education teacher who believes in flexible scheduling for students with special needs. There are team-teaching classes and students who need more assistance may work with a special education teacher outside of the classroom in a smaller setting.

ADMISSIONS: Priority to District 6. Students who attend an open house receive priority. There has been a wait list in recent years. (Lydie Raschka, January 2017)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the building with PS 192 and PS 325

Number of Students 165

Average Daily Attendance 94%

Uniforms? NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
1%

Black

  
11%

Hispanic

  
85%

White

  
3%

Free Lunch

  
86%

Special ed

  
22%

English Language Learners

  
34%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: NA 2.59 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


1 = Far below grade level 2 = Below grade level 3 = At grade level 4 = Above grade level

Safety & vibe

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students say this school offers enough programs to keep them interested?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE KIDS NICE?

How many students complain about bullying?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students say students at their school respect one another?

25% 49% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

77% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

85% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

NA 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students are chronically absent?

19% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

19% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam

16% hi 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS Prep

How many 8th graders pass high school regents exams?

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

NA 12% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How do graduates do in 9th grade?

Percent who pass all their classes freshman year:

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:

0% 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

13% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 9% 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% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

36% 18% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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