P.S. 34 Oliver H. Perry

Phone: (718) 389-5842
Website: Click here
Admissions: neighborhood school
Principal: Carmen Asselta
Neighborhood: Williamsburg/ Greenpoint
District: 14
Grade range: 0K thru 05

What's special:

Popular, high-performing neighborhood school

The downside:

Small space with few corridors and no gym or auditorium

The InsideStats



Our review

PS 34 is a close-knit neighborhood school with good attendance, high test scores and a new emphasis on science and math. The neighborhood has long been home to working class Polish and Spanish speaking immigrants. Increasingly, the neighborhood has gentrified, and PS 34 has successfully integrated the old-timers and newcomers, parents say.

Carmen Asselta, the former assistant principal of PS 94 in Sunset Park, was named principal in 2012, replacing Alicja Winnicki who became superintendent for District 14. Asselta has added more Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programming, as well as expanding the Young Environmentalists Club which was established by her predecessor, according to the Greenpoint Gazette. Children in the environmental club learns about composting and planting in the garden on school grounds.

“We need talented scientists and engineers that will help us figure out some of the toughest questions that we’re facing now,” Asselta told the Greenpoint Gazette.

One of the oldest schools in Brooklyn, PS 34 was used as a hospital in the Civil War and the former wards were divided into classrooms. As a result, there are few hallways in the building -- one must walk through one classroom to get to another, ducking under student artwork hanging from clotheslines in the makeshift corridors. Perhaps surprisingly, the arrangement works: classes are orderly and teachers keep kids focused despite the distraction of, say, a xylophone playing in the next room.

The school has long had the enthusiastic support of both parents and teachers, according to the Learning Environment Survey. Test scores are high. The teachers balance traditional and progressive methods, encouraging children to read for pleasure and emphasizing writing while also giving kids phonics workbooks.

Special education: The school offers SETSS (special education teacher support services) and team-teaching classes, where two teachers work with both special and general education students.

Admissions: Neighborhood school. The school often has room for children from outside the zone. (Clara Hemphill, web reports, statistics, February 2013, updated dual language information, June 2013)

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