P.S. 139 Alexine A. Fenty
An Insideschools pick
BROOKLYN NY 11226 Map
P.S. 139 Alexine A. Fenty
PS 139 serves a neighborhood with large Victorian houses and modest apartment buildings, long-time New Yorkers as well as new immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, the former Soviet Union, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Despite its huge size, the school has a warm atmosphere and a sense of camaraderie among parents. An active Parents Association welcomes new immigrants. Both children and parents may study English as a Second Language. One immigrant mother told us how a teacher taught her the alphabet in English, so she could help her own child learn.
Parents help out in the classrooms--and some stop by even without an appointment. One mother told us she enjoyed helping out in a cooking lesson in her child’s class.
The building has long housed two popular mini-schools, the Flatbush Academy, focused on science, and the Brotherhood Institute, focused on social students. It also offers a SOAR (Students of Academic Rigor) program with accelerated classes for academically advanced students. However, in January 2014, Principal Mary McDonald told parents that PS 139 would no longer offer the SOAR program, or the mini-schools, to incoming kindergartners. Citing a lack of diversity in those programs she said in a letter to parents: "Our Kindergarten classes will be heterogeneously grouped to reflect the diversity of our student body and the community we live in," the Daily News reported.
Students already enrolled in the mini-schools and the SOAR program would remain in those programs until graduation, she said.
While the school has strong arts programs and a nationally ranked chess team, it has only average test scores. The principal has introduced a new math program and modified the reading program to boost the scores.
The Learning Environment Survey suggests the administration and staff don't get along, but on our visit teachers and the principal seemed to work together as a team.
Special education: The school offers a wide range of special education services. The principal, who taught for years in a self-contained special education classroom, has personal experience in dealing with children with Asperger's syndrome. She has particular concerns for children with special needs and understands that some children with disabilities can achieve at a high level.
Admissions: Neighborhood school. The school offers regular tours. (Eliana Mascio, February 2013; updated January 2014 with information about the discontinuation of the SOAR program and the mini schools for incoming kindergartners.)
At a glance
Number of Students 1041
Average Daily Attendance 95%
Safety & vibe
How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?38% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?44% 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 class27 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?41% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?67% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?11% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ela exam
Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 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 2012-2013 school year?79% 74% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Do parents like the school?
How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?95% 94% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Special ed & ELL
How well does this school serve students with disabilities?
As of 2012-2013, this school offers self-contained classes.
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:0% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
As of 2012-2013, this school offers team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:13% 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:0% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
As of 2012-2013, this school offers SETSS.
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:0% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:0% 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?