P.S. 64 Robert Simon

Grades Pre-K, K-5
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What’s Special

Good communication between children and adults.

The Downside

Limited space in shared building; PTA room and parent coordinator\'s office are hidden away.

Our Review

At P.S. 64, a small school on Avenue B that mostly serves children of local Latino families, dedicated teachers effectively draw out children with group discussions and help them learn to express themselves with ease. Administrators are working to turn P.S. 64 into an arts-focused school.

Building and location: Housed in a large, red brick building that has vibrant murals flanking the entrance, PS 64 is one of three small schools sharing the building; the Earth School, an alternative school popular with East Village parents, and the Tompkins Square Middle School are the others. Unlike the Earth School which draws its students from all over District 1 and even Brooklyn, PS 64 serves mostly local Latino residents of Alphabet City. Facilities such as the gym and cafeteria are shared by all three schools. Space is limited so even rooms in the labyrinthic basement are used for classes, including a rubber-matted play area for younger children that\'s used in addition to a gym. However, administrators at the schools say that they collaborate well with each other to ensure all the students in the building have what they need, and the building is well-maintained.

Student art work is displayed prominently throughout the hallways. According to Principal Marlon Hosang, parents and students have expressed interest in adding more performing arts and visual arts instruction. Hosang, who was assistant principal for six years prior to becoming principal in 2008, would like to see P.S. 64 become an arts-themed school. At the time of our visit, he moved the art classroom into a larger and less structured space in the basement, and he anticipates turning the space into a real art studio with enough room to house bigger student projects.

School environment and culture: P.S. 64 serves many children from low-income families, enough so that the school provides free lunch to every student. The majority of students come from Spanish-speaking families and bilingual staffers are able to communicate with many of the immigrant parents who are not fluent in English.

Children seem at ease speaking up during lessons, asking for or offering help, and interacting with teachers and other adults. In most classes, teachers are successful in engaging them in conversations, and in general, children were quite chatty. In response, one long-time teacher said that kids talk so much because, \"We listen to them.\"

Teaching and curriculum: During our visit, we saw kindergartners gathered on a rug practicing phonetic sounds, and 3rd graders beginning a study on writing mysteries, following a curriculum designed by Teachers College. The school opted for the TERC curriculum, also used in nearby District 2 schools, over the city\'s preferred Everyday Math. Hosang said teachers chose the TERC curriculum because it offered an emphasis on \"having students explore various means to problem solve.\"

Fifth graders in a Collaborative Team Teaching (CTT) class studying data gathering and graphing participated in a class discussion, and we saw students listen to and comment thoughtfully on each others ideas when asked to recommend types of graphs to effectively represent a set of data on the blackboard. In another class, a 2nd grader working on word problems aimed at reinforcing arithmetic skills was clutching a big laminated table of numbers and waiting eagerly but patiently for the teacher as classmates offered help with their own explanations.

The school has a technology teacher and its Mac computer lab will be getting new computers, according to Hosang. In the new art studio, the art teacher talked about introducing chalk pastels to 3rd graders and 5th graders, who are working on figure drawing and silk screening t-shirts. Classes have art 2-3 times a week.

Family participation: According to both Hosang and Parent Coordinator Gladys Concepcion, whose child graduated from P.S. 64 in 2005, there has been better communication between teachers and parents in the past few years. Hosang said that he has a supportive PTA and, even when parents don\'t hang around the school, they e-mail him to keep on top of their child\'s education. We met several mothers preparing Easter candy treats for students in the PTA room, located along a dimly-lit and winding hallway in the basement. It seemed to us that more parents would be induced to volunteer if the PTA room and the parent coordinator\'s office were not so far away from the school\'s entrance.

Partnerships and programs: Students take ballroom dancing classes taught by American Ballroom Theater instructors and put on shows with the help of Rosie\'s Broadway Kids. A state-funded clinic at the school is staffed with a nurse practitioner who can provide free physical exams, medical attention, and drug prescriptions to students.

After school: Educational Alliance, which also offers a Head Start preschool program, provides a free daily after school program at the school. Three other organizations also provide free programs offsite and arrange to pick up participants at the school. All programs end at 5:30 p.m.

Special education: The school has a couple of self-contained classes, and CTT classes on most grades.

English Language Learners: Although many children come from Spanish-speaking families, the school has only a small group of students who qualify for services; one ESL teacher works with them.

Admissions: Priority is given to District 1 residents. (Catherine Man, March 2009, updated 2012)

About the students

Enrollment
247
Pre-K seats
21
Asian
5.3%
Black
19.4%
Hispanic
67.6%
White
6.5%
Other
1.2%
Free or reduced priced lunch
96%
Students with disabilities
31%
English language learners
4%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with the Earth School and Tompkins Square Middle School
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
84%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
91%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
35%
21% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
80%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
95%
85% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
7.8
6.6 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
75%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
85%
87% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
80%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
62%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
98%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
85%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
85%
87% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
22%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
60%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
73%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents say their child's teacher helped their child adjust to Pre-K?
100%
97% Citywide Average
How many parents say this Pre-K program helped them consider which elementary schools would meet their childrens' needs?
100%
91% Citywide Average
How many Pre-K parents say their child's teacher gave helpful ideas for how to support their child's learning?
100%
96% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Test scores

How many students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
30%
40% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
19%
39% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 2 dedicated spaces for Visual arts and an Auditorium
This school has 1 licensed arts teacher in Music
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
38%
22% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
Average math score for ICT students
2.03
2.0 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.12
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
2.19
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.15
2.2 Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
81%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
84%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
75%
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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