P.S. 333 Manhattan School for Children

Phone: (212) 222-1450
Website: Click here
Admissions: District 3
Wheelchair accessible
Noteworthy Special Education
Principal: Claire Lowenstein
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
District: 3
Grade range: 0K thru 08
Parent coordinator: ANN KOPLIN

What's special:

Unusual level of parent involvement.

The downside:

Atmosphere may be too relaxed for some children.

The Inside Stats



Our review

MARCH 2014 UPDATE: Manhattan School for Children (MSC) has a new principal, Claire Lowenstein, a former assistant principal at the school.  MSC's founding principal, Susan Rappaort retired in 2013 and was replaced by another assistant principal at the school, Claudine Cassan-Jellison who was the interim-acting principal until Lowenstein's appointment.

MAY 2011 REVIEW: Manhattan School for Children, housed in the former Joan of Arc Junior High School, is a relaxed, laid-back place where kids call teachers by their first names and parents are welcome throughout the day. Parents come right to the classroom to drop off their children, and many stay for morning meeting. A wide corridor serves as an informal meeting place for parents, kids, and teachers during the day.

Manhattan School for Children is a pioneer in including children with special needs (particularly physical challenges) in regular classrooms, and the children are accepting of one another, whether they use a wheelchair or a walker or have difficulty speaking clearly. Classrooms are sunny and cheerful, and there are plenty of books and supplies. A stunning new rooftop greenhouse serves as science lab. The school has a nice handicapped-accessible playground surrounded by red oak trees and shrubs.

The school places as much emphasis on children’s social and emotional development as it does on academics, and children seem to be unusually kind to one another. The school encourages friendships across the grades and it’s common to see older children helping younger children. Firmly in the progressive camp, the administration favors learning by doing. For example, kindergartners watch duck eggs hatch in classroom incubators—hooked up to a webcam so they could watch them at home.

Some parents say the atmosphere may be too relaxed, and say they would prefer more emphasis on spelling and grammar, but others are thrilled with the experience their children are getting. While many children once left after 5th grade, students are increasingly staying and middle school parents say the school offers a demanding academic program. Eighth graders read challenging texts such as Hamlet and work on research projects on topics such as The Jazz Age or the bombing of Pearl Harbor. A large proportion of the 8th grade class took and passed the high school algebra Regents exam. About one-quarter of the 8th grade class was accepted into the specialized high schools in 2011, including two to LaGuardia.

Special education: The school, which is wheelchair accessible, is in the forefront of "inclusion," integrating severely disabled children in general education classes. The school goes to great lengths to help disabled children take part in regular classes. For example, a keyboard with pictures allows a child who cannot speak to express himself. About 120 children have IEPs, and 32 have severe motor challenges.

Admissions: Admissions are by lottery, limited to District 3. For details, see the school's website: www.manhattanschool.org. (Clara Hemphill, May 2011)

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