P.S. 108 Sal Abbracciamento

Phone: (718) 277-7010
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Neighborhood: East New York
District: 19
Grade range: 0K thru 05
Parent coordinator: JOANA GARCIA

What's special:

Creative, enthusiastic teachers; bilingual classes.

The downside:

Overcrowding; only two student bathrooms.

The InsideStats



Our review

SEPTEMBER 2007 UPDATE:  As of September 2007, PS 108 offers a Spanish/English dual language program in grades K, 1, and 2, which will continue to expand by one grade each year until the 5th grade. Since there is only one dual language class per grade, students remain with the same group of students until the 5th grade, said Elizabeth Guy, the school's parent coordinator during a telephone interview. Students learn in Spanish and English on alternate days, in separate classrooms, with different teachers. "The teachers work really closely together," said Guy. (Vanessa Witenko, phone update)

JANUARY 2005 REVIEW: Founded more than 100 years ago with tall towers, intricate brickwork, and curvy windows, PS 108 is an architectural gem. But today, it's space, not beautiful design, that the school needs.

There are only two student bathrooms for the 1,000-plus students. The school also lacks a gym, and the outside play area is a small patch of cement. On alternating days, students trade recess with watching movies or playing board games indoors. Additionally, four kindergarten classes are bused to an annex three miles south of the school. "I'm in need of space," said Principal Constance Hahn. "If I had more space then I would have more academic intervention programs and lower the class size."

Despite the overcrowding, the school is clean, orderly, and safe. Classrooms are decorated with student work, and book reports dangle from string hung across the room.

Dedicated teachers arrive early, stay late, tutor students on Saturdays, and prepare exciting and interesting lessons. In one 1st grade class, the teacher covered the last word of sentences, including one that read: "Look at the books on the ..." The students guessed: Shelf, desk, chair, table! The teacher slowly peeled away the paper and the first letter --"s" -- appeared. The children giggled and shouted: Shelf, shelf, shelf! The teacher finally removed the entire piece of paper, and yes, the word was "shelf." "I knew it," proudly said one student. Then the teacher called out, "about face." The students squiggled their bodies around, and the teacher said, "Let's do tongue twisters." The children laughed as they attempted to say: "Children cheer for cheeseburgers and chocolate!"

For students who struggle academically, the school offers a variety of academic assistance programs, including Read 180, an expensive, but effective program that improves literacy, according to Hahn. In the Read 180 program, children are divided into three groups of seven students. Two groups work separately with one teacher each, and the third group works on specialized computers that track students' progress and records their voices while they read. Students who are severely behind have the option of receiving more personal academic tutoring during lunch.

The school also offers a variety of parent workshops, including English as a Second Language classes on Saturdays.

English as a Second Language: About 200 students are learning to speak English, and they receive ESL instruction outside of their regular classrooms. The school offers Spanish/English bilingual classes, where students learn in both languages, in each grade.

Special education: One special education class, for learning disabled students, is taught by a teacher and an aide. The class is limited to 12 students.

After school: Academic tutoring is offered Monday - Thursday, between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. On Fridays there are yoga, step, running, and choir groups. (Vanessa Witenko, January 2005)

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