P.S. 15 Patrick F. Daly

Phone: (718) 330-9280
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Noteworthy Special Education
Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens/ Red Hook
District: 15
Grade range: PK thru 05
Parent coordinator: JUDITH REIS

What's special:

Refurbished playgrounds, inclusive environment & accelerated class

The downside:

Enrollment needs to increase

The InsideStats



Our review

PS 15 with its two inviting playgrounds, collegial and stable staff and welcoming attitude to all students, offers the children of Red Hook a safe and stimulating education. It is has particularly vibrant math and special education programs.

The school, responding to its changing, gentrifying neighborhood, offers a dual language Spanish-English class beginning in pre-kindergarten, a program for accelerated students, and a dedicated after school for pre-k and kindergarten. All three programs were initiated after feedback from parents, according to Principal Peggy Wyns-Madison who served as assistant principal before taking over in 2007. The principal has an open door policy for parents and is responsive to their concerns and requests, said longtime parent coordinator Juanita Laboy.

PS 15 is a small school that strives to keep the feeling of intimacy as it receives tons of support from arts, cultural and community organizations, stepped up after the building was closed for two weeks when Hurricane Sandy hit in October 2012. Classes are mostly small, between 20-22 students, but up to 25 in kindergarten. Teachers at PS 15 are warm and accessible to their students and work closely together. Many of them have been at the school for more than 10 years. 

It’s a progressive place where kids mostly learn by doing, and where the administration believes in adapting the curriculum to students’ needs. In addition to the reading and writing-workshop model, PS 15 adds a study of phonics and grammar basics to early grades literacy. We saw groups of 1st-graders using tiny white boards to write out sentences dictated by the teacher. Penmanship is another benefit of the Fundations curriculum, the principal said.

PS 15 applied, but didn’t get approval, to start a district gifted and talented program, so the administration developed its own in 2010, an accelerated class called Riser. Children are identified through a screening assessment after kindergarten. Riser students do more in-depth studies and research and get more enrichment, the principal said. One of the teachers is certified in G&T.

Riser is one of several initiatives to entice new families to enroll at PS 15 and stay beyond pre-kindergarten. Enrollment began dropping when rising rents in newly trendy Red Hook forced many local families to move away, even as artists and entrepreneurs moved in. Other families were displaced by the hurricane and still haven’t returned. For several years, until the end of 2012, the PAVE Charter School shared the building in what parents say was an uneasy cohabitation. If the school’s enrollment increases, the hope is that it will be less likely that another school will move in.

Special education: Insideschools designated PS 15 as having a "noteworthy" special education program and the Department of Education has recognized its efforts to close the achievement gap among special ed students. About one-third of the students are classified as special needs and are taught in integrated co-teaching or self-contained classes on every grade. Some classes enroll both ICT and accelerated students in the Riser program. There is also a thriving class for intellectually disabled children who participate in all school programs, including dancing on the stage. Classrooms are large, bright and filled with books, and project centers. Occupational, physical and speech therapists are on site five days a week and there is adaptive physical education in the large gymnasium and a long time SETTS teacher. In addition, staff meets regularly and taps into the many community partnerships including the Lutheran mental health clinic and the Beacon program which offers family counseling.

After school: The Beacon program offers recreation and academic programs. Pre-k and kindergarten students have their own free after care program. The Marquis Studio offers family workshops in activities such as origami and puppetry.

Middle school choices: Most students go to IS 88, New Horizons or New Voices. Fewer attend Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies and MS 51. (A lack of public transportation or subways makes commuting to Manhattan and outer-Brooklyn schools a discouraging prospect.)

Admissions: Neighborhood school. (Pamela Wheaton, May 2013)



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