PS 10 Magnet School of Math, Science and Design Technology

511 7 AVENUE
Phone: (718) 965-1190
Website: Click here
Admissions: neighborhood school
Wheelchair accessible
Noteworthy Special Education
Principal: LAURA SCOTT
Neighborhood: Park Slope
District: 15
Grade range: 0K thru 05
Parent coordinator: MADELINE SEIDE

What's special:

Welcoming environment, extensive after school programs

The downside:

Bathrooms need an upgrade;popular G&T program discontinued

The InsideStats


Our review

PS 10 is a popular choice for parents from Sunset Park, the South Slope, Windsor Terrace and beyond. The administration is welcoming and the building is mostly barrier-free for students with limited mobility. School leaders have made a significant commitment to children with special needs, including a fully accessible playground. The school is “really, actively diverse ,” said Principal Laura Scott, “racially, economically, physically.”

Parents are embraced at PS 10. The parent executive board has over 30 parents leading committees ranging from Arabic translators to Safety to Harvest Day. The PTA functions as a non-profit and funds and oversees an after school program – a massive undertaking with 24 staff culled from teachers and community members who bring unique skills. Offerings include Glee Club, Hula Dancing, Shutterbug and Sign Language. It runs from 3-6 p.m. each weekday and parents pay between $200 and $1000 per three month session. Some scholarships are available. Others go to PS 124 where they participate in a free program run by the YMCA and attended by students from other schools. Parents also publish a monthly newsletter and maintain a website.

Jackie, an articulate 3rd grader with some limited mobility, praised the school’s barrier-free playground and said his favorite subject is computers. He has only one complaint: the toilets sometimes back-up in the old 1920 building. “We need real, accessible bathrooms,” said Parent Coordinator Madeline Seide. “We never stop until we get what we need. We are a grant-seeking group of people.”

Teachers are encouraged to explore learning themes in their classrooms according to their passions. In one science-themed kindergarten, a boy gently stroked a white rabbit while other kids peered into a box filled with newborn chicks. The walls were filled with rainforest-themed art. One year a teacher showcased dance from around the world and another took first graders to Washington, D.C., to tour the White House. The school tries to prepare children for tests indirectly. “We incorporate test prep seamlessly in the learning,” said Seide. Inquiry-based learning, where kids raise questions, research and investigate, can be fostered with any topic, she maintained. A possible downside is that parents have been known to request certain teachers based on what each one offers.

On our visit we saw teachers using iPads to test children’s reading skills. Second grade teacher Jimmy Najjar said he appreciates the literacy support he has received from Carl Anderson, a lead staff developer at Teacher’s College Reading and Writing project, and a PS 10 parent, who volunteers his expertise. PS 10 also has a math and literacy coach on staff. Every student uses the science lab one to three times per week depending on his grade level. Teachers make an effort to integrate disciplines. In science class kids watched “Man on Wire,” a documentary about a celebrated tightrope walker, then read Mirette on the High Wire for a different take on the same subject.

A large number of teachers are technology neophytes, wary of email and computers in general, according to the school’s Comprehensive Education Plan. The CEP also suggests that children learning English need more support.

Some parents are disappointed that the gifted and talented program is being discontinued. Starting in fall 2011, no kindergartners were admitted to the gifted program although children in the upper grades may continue in the program until graduation.

The principal is particularly proud of the school’s relationship with the Metropolitan Opera Guild; children across all grade levels learn everything from music and lyrics to set design and building. Kindergartners also learn keyboarding with Music and the Brain and second graders swim at the ‘Y’. In a school newsletter, Scott said children need “more than just math and reading; we have to give them something to look forward to every day.”

Special Education: The school has six inclusion classrooms that use the Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) approach to teach special education students together with their general education peers. There are two self-contained classrooms. Adaptive equipment allows all students to participate in all aspects of the school.

Admissions: Neighborhood school. Sign up for tours on the website at  Space for students outside of the zone is limited after a 2012 rezoning of Park Slope schools added eight blocks to the PS 10 zone. (Lydie Raschka, September 2011; updated zoning information 2013)

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