QUEENS NY 11102 Map
Principal Thea Pallos and her assistant principals greet every student at the door of PS 234, a school that serves a multi-ethnic group of children who speak 78 languages at home. The children’s families come from South Asian countries as well as Brazil, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Tibet.
The school emphasizes community service along with academics. Students may visit nursing homes or collect holiday gifts for needy children.
“We try to teach them to be good citizens and to grow up and care for their neighbors,” Pallos said in a telephone interview.
Pallos has been principal of PS 234 since it opened in fall 2003. The building has spacious, modern common areas such as a gym, music room, art room and library, as well as such non-institutional touches as curved hallways and glass brick walls in the stairwells. Common areas are shared with a middle school housed on the fourth floor of the building.
Budget cuts forced the school to let go of its licensed arts instructors, but the school has maintained its firm commitment to the arts. Drama and dance are taught by a special education teacher who helped children put on a production of the Nutcracker. To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the building, children designed tiles depicting special events at the school.
Special education: There are four "self-contained" classes for children with special needs only, as well as supplemental services for students in general education classrooms. In addition, teachers try to identify kids outside of the mandated program who might need some extra help and provide them with short-term services.
Admissions: Neighborhood school. (Clara Hemphill, phone interview, December 2012)