P.S. 99 Kew Gardens

QUEENS NY 11415 Map
Phone: (718) 544-4343
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Neighborhood: Kew Gardens
District: 28
Grade range: 0K thru 06
Parent coordinator: JORDAN HOLTZMAN

What's special:

Rich history & active parents.

The downside:

Two different locations; 6th graders report bullying.

The InsideStats



Our review

PS 99 is a diverse and close-knit school with active parents and stable leadership. The population reflects the changing Kew Gardens neighborhood.

Neighborhood historian Joseph De May, Jr. documented the changing faces at the school since it opened in 1924, in a website including portraits from PS 99 archives and those submitted by former students and teachers. The photos “show the... evolution of Kew Gardens from 100 percent white and probably all-Christian prior to the mid-1930s to the white Christian/Jewish era after World War II to today’s mix of all races, colors, religions, and nationalities,” De May told the New York Times 

The school has very involved parents. Ninety seven percent of the parents came to parent teacher conferences, according to a newsletter from the principal. The PTA hosts events such as the annual parent/staff volleyball game and monthly workshops for parents.

When the school population grew dramatically in the 1990s, parents found a garage two blocks away that was leased and converted for school use. This annex, housing kindergarten through 2nd grade, is as appealing as the big building. The school adopted the motto, “Two schools, One heart.”

There is a cadre of experienced teachers – half of whom have been teaching for more than 15 years. They give the school and its leadership high ratings on the 2012 Learning Environment Survey: all say they recommend the school and wouldn’t want to teach anywhere else. PS 99 is one of about a dozen elementary schools in the district that still has a sixth grade. Of those sixth graders who responded to the survey, they demonstrated some discontent. More than 70 percent say students are often bullied, and 50 percent of students say teachers are not treated with respect. The 5th graders completed an anti-bullying campaign called Create Peace Project, and presented their work and art to the entire school in May of 2013. 

The school has a student council, basketball team, school newspaper and yearbook. Activities for students and families are regularly scheduled throughout the year. According to the school newspaper, the school has a Career Day, Twin Day, a Talent Show, Multicultural Festival, school drama performance, a Field Day, and a breakfast put on by the student council.

The school has a strong arts program. Artists from Studio in A School teach workshops and classes. Students display their artwork through a CASA exhibition at the Queens Museum of Art. The school has partnerships with Maple Grove Cemetery Arts Partners, Jamaica Arts Center and Center for Arts Education. 

The majority of classrooms at PS 99 have SMARTBoards and there is also a video conferencing system through which students interview authors and communicate with classrooms from other states, according to the student newspaper.

The Parents Association hosts an after school program for the school that includes arts, drama, gym, computer and homework help.

Special Education: The school offers SETTS, speech therapy, physical therapy, Integrated Co-Teaching classes and self-contained classrooms for students with more severe disabilities.

Admissions: Zoned neighborhood school. (Annaclaire Diianni-Miller, web reports, July 2013)

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