P.S. 3 Charrette School
MANHATTAN NY 10014 Map
P.S. 3 Charrette School
PS 3 strives to find a balance between the rich arts and community focus of the school’s founders and the common core academics that students need as they advance into middle and high school. The Greenwich Village school fosters a friendly and informal atmosphere where administrators and students are on a first name basis—students greeted the principal with “Hello Lisa” – and students may skip through the hallways.
Unlike most other city schools, PS 3 still offers “bridge” classes combining two grades : kindergarten/1st; 2nd/3rd, and 4th/5th. Class size is large with as many as 29 students in some classrooms. Parents of PK-1st grade students may bring their children right to the classrooms and all parents are welcome in the school. Many say they moved to the neighborhood for the school.
We saw a room full of parents toting video cameras watching 2nd graders present “Fractured Fairytales” at a publishing party. Fifth-graders hosted an international festival, presenting fun facts about their country of study, and offering delicious samples of national cuisines. Another 2/3 class performed a play in the auditorium. Not every day is so active, but nor was this that unusual, according to Principal Lisa Siegman.
PS 3 uses a combination of curriculums. TERC Investigations is used for math and teachers add lessons about telling time and fractions to make it relevant to real life. In one 2/3 class, the students were learning about Vikings and built an impressive Viking house in the classroom. Every student also has music once a week.
A wellness group comprised of parents, teachers and students promotes healthy living. A former parent works with the kitchen staff to prepare healthier food. One program, “meatless Mondays,” features meat-free school lunch. The school is piloting a partnership with the French Culinary Institute in which PS 3 parents, who are also chefs, teach students about food and cooking. “It’s not just cooking but a brilliant format to learn math and social skills,” says the principal. Students grow herbs and vegetables at a garden plot in Battery Park City Park. Fifth graders can go out to lunch with parental permission and about 75% go out on an average day.
Students meet and read books together with an adult volunteer once a week as part of a “power lunch” program. PS 3 has a partnership with Story Pirates, professional actors who help students write and perform plays. There are also Brownie and Daisy troupes. The Parent Teacher Association sponsors Artist in Residence grants for interested teachers to receive extra help and funding to be more creative in the classroom.
The school has several student events throughout the year including the Environmental Arts Festival; a danceathon where students raise money for Safe Passage, a sister school in Guatemala; field day; and an annual talent show. There is an independent afterschool program that offers fencing, Greek, French, archery and gymnastics for a fee.
Special education: There are two self-contained classes and six Collaborative Team Teaching (CTT) classes. Siegman said that the school is committed to keeping the structure the same for all classes although one parent complained that her child was bored in the CTT class.
Admissions: PS 3 has long shared a zone with PS 41, with parents applying to the school of their choice in the spring. However, because of severe overcrowding at PS 41, in January 2013 the District 2 Community Education Council voted to establish a separate zone for each school which will begin with admission for the 2014 school year. This school is featured in New York City's Best Public Elementary Schools. (Aryn Bloodworth, April 2011; updated zone information January 2013.)