P.S. 225 The Eileen E. Zaglin
BROOKLYN NY 11235 Map
P.S. 225 The Eileen E. Zaglin
Located in the heart of "Little Odessa," PS 225 is a neighborhood school that enrolls new immigrants throughout the school year. Ask a class at PS 225 who was born in another country, and nearly every child raises his or her hand. A whopping 40 percent of students qualify for English as a second language (ESL) services.
Children's writing is displayed all over classroom walls, and bulletin boards display papers that reveal a wide range of abilities among students. In the school's well regarded writing program, every child writes and illustrates his or her own book for a school-wide celebration. We visited a 3rd grade class where children were busily working independently on writing projects. Some were completing drafts of autobiographical pieces, one child was having a conference with the teacher, another was typing up his final draft on the classroom computer.
On our late November visit we noticed that quite a few classes were in the throes of test prep for the January English Language Arts standardized exam. Students were reviewing vocabulary and note-taking. Short grammar lessons were built into the day's instruction, and homework emphasized spelling. Test scores are good and continue to improve from year to year.
Several years ago, IS 43, a middle school that had been housed in the building, was absorbed by PS 225. Today PS 225 is a PK-8 school, but the majority of 5th graders leave to attend selective middle schools such as the Mark Twain School or the Bay Academy for the Arts and Sciences, opening a lot of spots for children from other elementary schools in the district.
Principal Joseph Montebello says he is ramping up the middle school program. More music classes are now offered, and students can learn how to play a keyboard or the guitar. They must also take double periods of math and English. Some of the teachers we saw proved particularly adept at engaging students in class conversations. One social studies teacher led his 8th graders in an analysis of biases in journalism in the United States during the Spanish-American War.
PS 225 oversees the Family College, a satellite school for very young childrenK-2nd gradeof students attending Kingsborough Community College. The school shares space in the new Leon Goldstein High School building, located on the college campus, and classrooms are clean and bright. All classes are small, fewer than 20 kids. They are also all "collaborative team teaching" (CTT) settings, which mix special needs and general education students and are led by both a general education and special education teacher. Kindergarten classrooms are filled with miniature furniture, toys, and craft materials, and each of these rooms leads to the playground. On our visit, one class was getting ready for a Thanksgiving party with parents, and the teachers prepared much of the food, including turkey. There is a teacher's lounge and a room where parents gather or catch up on their own school assignments. Students may move on to 3rd grade in PS 225.
In contrast, PS 225's older, main building, which houses close to 1,000 students, feels cramped. Class sizes can get large, however, classrooms are fairly quiet and controlled, and we saw many students working independently. A small school for District 75, a citywide district for children with severe disabilities, shares the building.
PS 225 offers full-day pre-kindergarten classes.
Special education: Children from the building's District 75 program may take classes at PS 225, which was one of the first schools in the city to have an "inclusion" program, in which children receiving special education services are integrated into regular classes. PS 225 has a well established special education program, offering inclusion, CTT, and "self-contained" classesfor children with special needs only.
After school: Performing arts, visual arts, homework help, and other recreational programs run until 5:30 p.m. every day. (This school is featured in New York City's Best Public Elementary Schools. Catherine Man, November 2006)