P.S./M.S. 149 Sojourner Truth

Phone: (646) 672-9020
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Principal: Barbara Darrigo
Neighborhood: Harlem
District: 3
Grade range: PK thru 08
Parent coordinator: ISAAC BOOKER

What's special:

Harlem Children's Zone offers tutoring

The downside:

Low test scores, rapid turnover of principals

The Inside Stats



Our review

PS 149, which shares a building with the first Harlem Success Academy Charter School, is a struggling school with a high proportion of children with special needs, low levels of academic performance and a rapid turnover of administrators.

On the positive side, the Robin Hood Foundation, a not-for-profit anti-poverty organization, has built a nice library and a middle school science lab opened in 2009. The Harlem Children’s Zone, a well-regarded community organization, offers tutoring afterschool to PS 149 children.

Sharing space with the charter school has been difficult, according to Noah Gotbaum, a member of the Community Education Council for District 3. While children in the charter school have classrooms that are adjacent to one another, the PS 149 children are divided among classrooms on the first, third and fourth floors, he said.

"Every summer we go on vacation, and when we come back in the fall, Harlem Success has grabbed more of our classrooms and space," a PS 149 parent told the Daily News.

Parents complain their children are crammed into morning lunch periods, crowded out of stairwells between classes, and reprimanded for straying into charter school hallways, according to DNAinfo.

PS 149 has had three principals in five years. In 2011, Barbara Darrigo became interim acting principal, replacing Kayrol-Burgess Harper. She previously taught at the Queens High School of Teaching, Liberal Arts and the Sciences. Harper replaced Shaniquia Dixon in 2009, who was accused of inadequately supervising a school business manager who was found guilty of theft, according to the Daily News.

Special education: The school offers "self-contained" classes as well as team-teaching classes, that mix special education and general education students.

Admissions: Neighborhood school. (Clara Hemphill, web reports, interview, January 2013)

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