P.S. 76 William Hallet
QUEENS NY 11106 Map
P.S. 76 William Hallet
PS 76 is housed in a large, well-maintained, and welcoming building, a model of good school design. Constructed in 1967 to integrate children from the country's largest low-income housing projectQueensbridge Houseswith middle-income students from Ravenswood Houses and the North Queensview Cooperative, it provides what one staff member has called "an oasis" to the community. The school offers a number of services to families, and its corridors and classrooms are clean, bright, and inviting, with children's work exhibited on bulletin boards. Lovely borders that enliven hallway walls were painted by the head of the arts program, a graduate of the school.
On our visit, students were orderly as they walked in the hallways to the clean and pleasant lunchroom. In the classroom, they were fully engaged in their lessons. Writing receives a lot of attention at the school. So does science, which benefits from two science teachers and two science classrooms. Three computer rooms are devoted to technology instruction, and technology is very much evident in students' work in classrooms, on bulletin boards, and at the fully-functioning library, which is staffed by a full-time librarian. PS 76 also publishes a monthly student-written newsletter.
Principal Carol Schafenberg, a veteran educator who served as an assistant principal in the district for 10 years, was appointed to PS 76 early in 2005. At the time of our visit, many of the 78 members of the staff had been there for years, and only six teachers were newcomers. Nonetheless, the school pays serious attention to continually upgrading faculty skills; a specialist from AUSSIE, a teacher training program named for the Australian company that developed it, works onsite.
Parents are offered a lot of help, too, with a staff member dedicated to supporting families. Parents may take classes in English language as well as other classes. Although most parents are employed and busy, many find time to participate in school committees on literacy, special events, discipline, and arts. At the time of our visit, the school was also preparing a parent handbook in English and Spanish.
The faculty includes two physical education teachers, who work out of a large gym and two outdoor play yards, as well as a music teacher and four speech teachers. There is also a large auditorium for special programs, although art and music instruction is sparser than that in other disciplines. A clear school discipline code spells out acceptable behavior and lists consequences for unacceptable behavior.
English as a second language: The school offers a mix of English as a second language and bilingual classes.
Special education: The school has nine "self-contained" classes (kids with special needs only) and four "collaborative team teaching" classestwo teachers, one a specialist in special education, overseeing a class that includes general education students and students with special needs.
After school: PS 76 offers tutoring and recreation programs, including tennis in the spring. (Ellen Hausknecht, Marjorie Long, and Dorothy Wilner/September 2006)