P.S. 99 Kew Gardens
QUEENS NY 11415 Map
P.S. 99 Kew Gardens
SEPTEMBER 2010 UPDATE: There is no longer a gifted program.
SEPTEMBER 2006 UPDATE: The school will have a gifted program beginning in the fall of 2007. Kindergarten students will take a test for admission to the program, which will eventually serves grades 1 to 5.
2002 REVIEW: PS 99 is a top-notch school that balances academic subjects with the arts. Parents in this mostly middle-class but very international neighborhood are generous with their time and money, helping to pay for "extras" as well as the basics. For example, when the school population grew dramatically in the 1990s, parents used their ingenuity to find a garage two blocks away that was leased and converted for school use. This annex, housing kindergarten through 2nd grade, is as sparkling clean and appealing as the big building. Thanks to a grant from the Annenberg Foundation, students in grades 3-6 all study Shakespeare at PS 99, putting on live performances and puppet shows of plays such as A Midsummer Night's Dream and Taming of the Shrew. "Fair is foul and foul is fair," cackled the 4th-grade witches, reading aloud from Shakespeare's Macbeth.
A talented and gifted (TAG) program begins in 2nd grade. Children are taken out of their regular classes several times a week. The TAG teacher also provides enrichment in all classes. The school is not "tracked," but children are grouped by ability for reading 90 minutes a day. Children learn to read using a combination of trade books and the "Open Court" reading series. The whole school studies the same book each month as part of a "Community of Readers" program and each class produces a response: 5th graders made pop-up suitcase books containing "essentials in our lives" in response to Daniel's Story about a boy who lived during the Holocaust. Another class wrote poems such as: "An Ode to Daniel". One read: "Daniel, you're loyal. You help people be happy and forget about the bad times. You cared about your family. You're an honest person. This is my ode to you." In a 1st-grade class math lesson, children brought in toy cars, held races to see how far they could go, then measured the distance. The school occasionally has a few spots for children from outside the zone. PS 99 is one of 209 successful schools the chancellor exempted from the citywide uniform curriculum, mandated in 2003. (This school is featured in New York City's Best Public Elementary Schools. Pamela Wheaton 2002, updated 2003)