P.S. 38 Roberto Clemente
MANHATTAN NY 10029 Map
P.S. 38 Roberto Clemente
PS 38 is neighborhood school housed in a five-story school building in East Harlem. The building is large and class sizes are small, with an average of 20 students per class. Most classrooms we visited displayed meaningful charts and student work, but hallways could use more decoration.
The school adopted new methods of teaching math and reading in 2003, when the Department of Education introduced a new curriculum in schools across the city. PS 38's classrooms are set up to accommodate the "workshop" model of teaching, in which groups of children in a class are engaged in different tasks. In one room, for example, some students were reading with their teacher, while others read independently on a rug, and a third group participated in a listening exercise with headsets and tape recorders. While some classrooms functioned smoothly with this set-up, others seemed to have some kinks. In one classroom we visited, for example, students who were supposed to be reading independently were having trouble concentrating on their work.
Some of PS 38's teachers are skilled at the new methods, and as a whole, teachers and administrators at the school seem eager to implement the new approaches. On the day of our visit, teachers were working on using "accountable talk" in their lessons, a method that encourages students to turn and talk to each other about their ideas, and then to articulate their thoughts to the class as a whole. In an impressive 6th grade class, students were engaged in a seminar-style discussion about whether passages in their book were explanatory or descriptive.
However it is clear that many teachers and administrators are still feeling their way through the new methods and learning as they go. While most classrooms we visited were well-managed and under control, we did visit one classroom in which the teacher was clearly frustrated with the behavior of students, and had significant difficulty managing the classroom: students spoke out of turn and did not heed the teacher's instructions.
There is a bilingual class on almost every grade. Students receive art and music instruction, and the school has a library and a nice gymnasium. Students who need extra help in reading receive instruction through a "Reading Recovery" teacher, who works with struggling students in small groups within their regular classrooms. (Deborah Apsel, December 2004)