P.S. 87 Middle Village

67-54 80 STREET
QUEENS NY 11379 Map
Phone: (718) 326-8243
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Neighborhood: Middle Village
District: 24
Grade range: 0K thru 08
Parent coordinator: NICHOLAS DAGNELL

What's special:

Innovative integration of technology for special needs kids.

The downside:

The neighborhood is not always welcoming of this school's innovations.

The Inside Stats



Our review

PS 87 has long been known as a good neighborhood school with a particularly strong special education program. Seven of the school's classrooms are designated as "inclusion" classes. Children with speech and language problems or learning disabilities are integrated into regular classes with extra teachers to help out. Teachers also try very specialized techniques involving eye muscle exercises or special colored screens.

On one of our visits, 1st graders were learning to read and write using a "skywriting" technique. With the teacher in the front of the room holding up a letter or word flashcard, children called out the letter and "wrote" it with their arms in the air. This is part of a program called Preventing Academic Failure, or PAF. The program is used on a selective basis.

Staffers have been trained in the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Every child writes for at least 40 minutes a day. Teachers make the rounds, conferring with children on their work. "You have an awful lot of information in one sentence," a 1st-grade teacher tells a boy. "Can you break it down into two or three sentences?" Children "publish" their work present it to the rest of the class to readat least 10 times a year in 1st grade and even more in the older grades.

In recent years, however, some of the school's perks that attracted parents to PS 87 have vanished. The school once known for its heavy emphasis on technology, no longer has a technology teacher or digital photography.

PS 87 is housed in standard-looking, boxy brick building, and has struggled with some space issues as it has added middle school grades in recent yearsthere is a small lunchroom and no real gym. Still, inside, the school is a pleasant place, with rooms that are well thought-out and organized. Instead of sitting at desks, children may stretch out on carpets or sit comfortable in beanbag chairs. (This school is featured in New York City's Best Public Elementary Schools. Pamela Wheaton, 2002, updated 2005)

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