The Children's Workshop School

Grades Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Warm and welcoming school with rich arts instruction and small class sizes

The Downside

No real gymnasium; very early lunch for some children in this shared building

Our Review

One of four small, progressive schools in the East Village, The Children's Workshop School prides itself on the fact that the racial, ethnic and economic diversity inside the building closely reflects the population outside the building. The staff make-up is also noticeably diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity and race.

Hallmarks of CWP include semester-long themes on topics like water, immigration and the city. Children delve into artsy, hands-on projects. First and 2nd graders are mixed together but separated into age-level groups for math. No other grades are "bridged" in that way but teachers stay with the same children for 3th and 4th grade, a strategy called "looping."

Principal Maria Velez-Clarke co-founded the school in 1993 and based it on the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There are no Christmas or Halloween parties, but every January the kids put on a big celebration and performance to commemorate the late civil rights activist.

Children call teachers by their first names and teachers relate to children in an easy-going, matter-of-fact way. Many lessons have an active component: addition is explored using beads and pipe cleaners in one room and colored wooden rods in another. Teachers used expressive voices and kids leaned forward to watch and listen: "I like that!" said a boy, spontaneously, after a math demonstration.

Art, music, technology, drama and music teachers connect what happens in their classes with social studies themes and classroom work. Much of the student work incorporates art. Children draw food chains and water cycles. They make colorful charts in math showing how many ways you can add two numbers to make ten, for example.

Field trips are significant here and by our early December visit 2nd graders had already been to the Central Park reservoir, Lake Tear of the Clouds, the NYC watershed, Highbridge Park and other places related to their study of water. "These kids know more about New York City than I do," said Joyce Borden, the school's longtime secretary, who remembers carrying mace in her bag on her walk to school when the East Village was more crime-ridden than it is now.

Children's Workshop has succeeded in raising test scores without compromising its project-based approach. A math consultant works with staff and parents, and a reading specialist works one-on-one with a handful of 1st graders in a program called Reading Recovery. There is afterschool test prep starting in February for grades 3 and 4.

Children's Workshop has a makeshift gymnasium and a small cafeteria. Children must eat in shifts starting at 10:30 am. Recess takes place on the playground or in nearby parks on nice days, and in the auditorium watching a movie when the weather is poor.

To maintain its diversity, teachers spread flyers and visit pre-k programs and public housing developments. The school gives scholarships to anyone who can't afford the afterschool fee and each child has a designated "special day" hosted by the child's family. A father who lives across the street in Campos Houses said children (including his own) are happy at CWP, "and if they're happy everything else is taken care of."

Children's Workshop shares a 100-year old building with the progressive East Village Community School, and PS 94, a District 75 school for children with special education needs, who attend classes at CWP.

Special education: To a great extent, the school includes children with special needs in general education classrooms with extra support. One class on each grade has two teachers, one of whom is trained in special education.

Admissions: Priority to children from District 1. The school occasionally has room for out of district families but the wait list is growing. "There's shuffling until the end of October," said a kindergarten teacher. (Lydie Raschka, December 2015)

About the students

Enrollment
295
Pre-K seats
35
Asian
10.2%
Black
9.8%
Hispanic
38.6%
White
36.6%
Other
4.8%
Free or reduced priced lunch
48%
Students with disabilities
22%
English language learners
4%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with the East Village Community School
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
114%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
93%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
23%
21% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
100%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
91%
85% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
12.0
6.6 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
92%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
93%
87% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
92%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
91%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
84%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
100%
87% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
35%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
74%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
94%
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?
84%
91% Citywide Average
How many Pre-K parents say their child's teacher gave helpful ideas for how to support their child's learning?
92%
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?
54%
40% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
58%
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 Visual arts (part-time)
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the 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 self-contained students
2.28
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.23
2.2 Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
83%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
92%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
83%
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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