P.S. 41 Gun Hill Road
BRONX NY 10467 Map
P.S. 41 Gun Hill Road
SEPTEMBER 2006 UPDATE: Principal Ide Fernandez left the school in 2006. Her replacement is Erika Tobia.
MARCH 2005 REVIEW: At PS 41 in the Bronx, everybody is really excited about the arts program. Project Arts Coordinator Bob Zaskow worked as a filmmaker before making a career change into the classroom, and he's eager to put his private-sector expertise to use at the school. He's obtained three grants, which the school used to fund collaborative art projects, such as the 5th grade's mural depicting Bronx history. He's also created partnerships with groups that send musical and theatrical performers into the school, and initiated a series of assemblies and museum visits.
The day we visited, we saw a highly energized group of 2nd graders learning rhythm and musical notation while they practiced the Sister Sledge song, "We Are Family," on the recorder. Every student in the school takes art, music, and gym at least once a week, Zaskow said.
In most classrooms we visited, students were focused on their lessons, but in some, students working in groups were chatting among themselves or taking a long time to make the transition between tasks. We also saw a number of incidents that demanded adult intervention. One student disrupted his class to the point that the security guard had to step in. Another had been banned by his teacher from the classroom and was just sitting outside in the hall because, she said, he was "very disrespectful." Behavior problems sometimes crop up at PS 41 because the school tries extremely hard not to refer children to special education, said Principal Ide Fernandez. As a result, some students who in other schools might have already been removed from mainstream classes are given extra time at PS 41. At the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year, Fernandez hired a second guidance counselor to provide more one-on-one attention to more students.
She's also trying to generate more parent involvement. Some of the school's artistic endeavors, such as an after-school quilt-making project, include parents, said Assistant Principal Cruz Soler. Parent Coordinator Evelyn Collazo conducts frequent parent workshops -- 23 at the time of our visit -- on topics such as math help, reading, bullying, and nutrition. To accommodate parents' work schedules as much as possible, she holds each session twice, once during the school day and once in the evening, and always in both English and Spanish. Her efforts are rewarded by a substantial turnout, she said, with at least 30 parents attending each of the workshops she's held. The Parents Association has only about 14 members, however, and the school has six parent volunteers.
English as a Second Language: About one third of the school's students are Hispanic, and some classes include children who are learning English. Only kindergarten contains a class devoted to English Language Learners.
Special education: PS 41 has one "self-contained" class each in kindergarten and the 1st , 4th, and 5th grades. (These classes are only for students with special needs.) The 2nd and 3rd grades are served by two combined 2nd/3rd grade classes.
After school: Extra tutoring in core academic subjects is available after school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, as well as on Saturdays during the month before standardized tests, according to Fernandez. (Helen Chernikoff, March 2005)