P.S. 289 George V. Brower
BROOKLYN NY 11213 Map
P.S. 289 George V. Brower
PS 289 is a solid, long-standing neighborhood elementary school in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Children's Museum, located just in front of the school, offers students a hand-on science program.Though it is a fairly large school, with six to seven classes per grade, PS 289 offers a certain intimacy; its assistant principal knew a lot of students by name when we visited, and Principal Dennis Jeffers--whose office displays the motto, "Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege than the raising of the next generation"--taught in the school for 22 years.
The school conducts many morale-boosting activities, from field trips to award assemblies to the display of student-of-the-month photos. On the day that Insideschools.org visited, we did see a few disaffected students trying to roam the hallways or challenge instruction, but not many. The majority of students were cheery, and the building was bright, clean, and in good condition. In one school program, teachers "adopt" a child who is encountering problems and seek to help the student for the span of their years there.
Children wear blue and white uniforms, and parents have access to visit and support the school. Students who behave well receive "lion paws," tokens redeemable at the school's store, The Lions' Den. The only drawback is some natural bartering that goes on as a result; we saw a girl share one of her lion paws with another student.
The school benefits from small scale math and literacy labs, as well as the assistance of former staffers who come in to work with students. One of the strongest classes we saw was an advanced science class led by a seasoned, traditional teacher. Many of the high achieving students continue on to the successful Philippa Schuyler middle school.
We would have liked to have seen more original work by the children, however. Second graders in one class we saw copied the teacher's model sentences off the board in a poetry writing assignment, even though the teacher suggested they think of their own phrases. In a 5th grade, students worked on "concrete" poems that take on meaning by the picture form that the poem is placed in, but could only select from a limited picture structure as opposed to being able to create their own that would enhance the individual poems. It struck us that the rigor of the academics in the 4th and 5th grades could have been stronger, too, especially in writing. All graded tests are publicly posted, whether student receives a 90 or a 15. While this could be embarrassing for the students who did poorly, the assistant principal said: "Parents want to see their children's work displayed.
After school: The school offers a number of programs, including academic help, a strong band program, art, and dance. (Jacquie Wayans, April 2006)