P.S. 213 The Carl Ullman School

231-02 67 AVENUE
QUEENS NY 11364 Map
Phone: (718) 423-8747
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Principal: Kathleen Driscoll
Neighborhood: Bayside
District: 26
Grade range: 0K thru 05
Parent coordinator: BETH REVELLO

What's special:

Art-heavy curriculum with emphasis on reading and writing

The downside:

Funding needed to buy new computers

The InsideStats

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Our review

Situated next to Alley Pond Park in a quiet suburban neighborhood, PS 213 is a tranquil place. Kids are extraordinarily well behaved, if their seamless transitions between activities are any indication. In some classes, kids line up at a clap of the teacher's hands.

The sense of order at the school does not mean that teaching here is regimented, however. Desks are arranged in groups, not rows, and rooms are furnished with rugs for reading time. In a 4th grade math class we saw, students were exploring geometry by sorting shapes and explaining their answers. The teacher prodded discussion by telling her students there was no one answer, a comment that prompted many eagerly waved hands.

Writing, taught according to the Teachers College Writing Process method developed at Columbia University, is emphasized. Students keep journals; 2nd graders write how-to books, which they read to kindergartners; and 4th graders compose dialogues. Artwork is often paired with writing, and one display we saw featured standard booklets made by the kids, as well as horizontal and vertical scrolls, the results of some creative imaginations. PS 213 is one of a select group of schools that the chancellor exempted from the ctywide uniform curriculum mandated in 2003.

Hallways are well decorated with lively student artwork, everything from paper owls perched on a bulletin board trees to dinosaurs that help students to learn math. This may be the result of a well-established art program. For 12 years, Studio-in-a-School, which is funded by a grant, has enlisted the talents of an artist who works with kids to integrate art into academic subjects. Students paint their own renderings of facial expressions to help them better learn vocabulary about emotions, for example. The school uses Talented and Gifted funding for a student art and literary magazine.

Students who need English language instruction are usually pulled out of class for lessons. We were impressed with the kindly-looking ESL teacher, whom we saw walking hand-in-hand with his young students as they chatted with him in English. Later that day, we noticed him working with a classroom teacher. According to Principal Bruce Baronoff, all teachers receive ESL training.

Computer classes are available to every student, but Baronoff would like to find funding for new computers in the lab, as well as other needs.

Special education: PS 213 has six self-contained classes, mostly for children with learning disabilities. The school is wheelchair accessible and shares the building with a District 75 school. (District 75 is a citywide district that runs programs and schools for severely disabled students.)

The two morning and two afternoon pre-kindergarten classes have their own bathroom and entrance to the school. Applicants are selected through a lottery. Most graduates go on to MS 74, their neighborhood middle school. (This school is featured in New York City's Best Public Elementary Schools. Catherine Man, March 2003)

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