MANHATTAN NY 10034 Map
Muscota School, PS 314, is a cheerful and caring educational community devoted to progressive education. The school has undergone a number of administration changes but in July 2010 welcomed Principal Camille Wallin, formerly principal of PS 42 in the Bronx. Under her leadership, Muscota has made academic classes more demanding while maintaining its progressive approach and emphasis on the arts.
Muscota is located in the Inwood section of northern Manhattan and serves a diverse K-5 student body and has a full-time teacher for English language learners.
The school is housed in a four-story brick building, which it shares with Amistad, a K-8 dual language school. Space is tight, but the schools have worked together to improve the building, including the outdoor play area and library.
Muscota began as a parent and teacher initiated program within PS 5 in 1993. In 2005 Muscota became a New York City Department of Education public school. Parents, teachers and administrators pride themselves on the comprehensive holistic approach to education at Muscota. The school provides opportunities to develop the social, emotional, physical and academic life of children. Parent involvement and a shared responsibility for learning is central to the school, says Wallin, and a sense of community is a "huge part of Muscota philosophy and a huge part of how we believe children learn." Open discussions as well as project-based and hands-on learning are found in all classrooms.
The school has rich arts programming that is integral to the overall school philosophy. Because the arts are so important in the learning process, arts are "never on the chopping block," Wallin says. All students participate in music, visual arts and drama classes. The school has a partnership with Carnegie Hall and a partnership with the Joyce Theater, which brings dance instruction to the school for 2nd graders.
Parents we spoke to said they felt involved in their children's education and appreciated the fact that staff members recognized and welcomed the individuality of every child.
Special education: There are Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) classes. A comprehensive team of occupational and physical therapists as well as speech and reading specialists offer support when needed.
Admissions: Muscota is open to all District 6 families. Students are chosen by lottery and preference is given to siblings of students enrolled at the school. Parents are encouraged to tour the school. (Sharon Doyle-McCann, April 2012)