P.S. 158 Bayard Taylor

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

Enrichment activities in all grades, strong support for students with special needs

The Downside

Cramped classrooms

Our Review

PS 158 is a high-performing, neighborhood school with strong leadership, engaging instruction and lots of arts enrichment across all grades. Housed in a large building constructed in 1898, PS 158 has long winding corridors, high ceilings, large windows, and original details such as oak coat closets. It has two gyms, a small but adequate auditorium and an elevator.

Dina Ercolano became principal in December 2014 after the mid-year departure of the schools longtime principal, Darryl Alhadeff. A former literacy coach and assistant principal at 158, Ercolano is credited with fostering a friendlier, more kid-centric vibe, one parent said.

The atmosphere is calm and cheery. Its very easy to know what students are learning as the colorful hallways are lined with projects, essays and art work.

Some classrooms can feel cramped, especially in the older grades, but teachers arrange their spaces thoughtfully to encourage students to move around. On a typical day, students will spend some time gathered on the rug for class-wide lessons and a lot of time working on their own and in small groups at their tables, in cozy corners or sprawled out on the rug.

During our visit we noticed a lot of consistency in instruction across the grades owing in part to full-time specialists in math, literacy, special education and technology who work with teachers to help them develop and revise lessons and practices. For instance, during independent reading timeespecially in the older gradesits common to find teachers engaged in what Ercolano calls spinning plates. While most students are quietly immersed in their books, the teacher bounces between two or three small groups of students, monitoring their work on a focused reading task. Ercolano says the practice lets teachers check in with students progress more frequently than relying on brief, weekly conferences with individual students.

Teachers use technology judiciously. We dont do technology for its own sake, said Ercolano. Each class has a large television monitor, which is similar to an overhead projector for use as a teaching tool, and laptop computers are available for research and writing, but during our visit we found the rich, classroom libraries and hands-on materials such as blocks and aides for math such as dice and counters to be the most heavily used resources.

The school uses the Teachers College Reading and Writing Projectcurriculum, which encourages students to read a wide array of books of their choosing and at their skill level. Starting in kindergarten, students write and revise multiple drafts of work on a variety of topics. In the younger grades they may write and illustrate stories and information books drawn from personal experiences and books they read. By 5th grade, students write complex essays on a range of topics as well as more creative pieces such as fiction and poetry.

Typical of many District 2 schools, 158 uses Investigations Math, which emphasizes conceptual learning and multiple approaches to problem solving, and they draw from the Math in the City program. Teachers balance this with some drilling of math facts.

In addition to visual art, music, gym and science classes, all students have enrichment activities that vary by grade and are funded by the very active PTA. For instance, Marquis Studios provides movement classes to pre-kindergartners and circus arts to 1st-graders; 5th-graders have drama through the New Victory Theater and learn about law as well as stage a mock appellate hearing through Constitution Works.

Instructors from E3Sports organize sports and games during lunch recess to encourage students to get more physical activity.

The school runs its own after-school program. Students may participate in a range of activities for a fee.

SPECIAL EDUATION: The school offers extensive support for student with special needs including occupational and physical therapy, speech, vision and hearing services and adaptive physical education. There are ICT classes on each grade and SETSS. Select grades also have part-time ICT, where special education teachers visit classrooms daily during math and English instruction to work with students who need extra support but dont require fulltime ICT.

ADMISSIONS: Zoned, neighborhood school with four, full-day pre-k classes. The school fills its pre-k seats with zoned students only, and mostly with siblings of older students. (Laura Zingmond, January 2016)

About the students

Pre-K seats
Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

About the school

Shared campus?
This school shares a building with Yorkville East Middle School
Metal detectors?
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average


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

Is this school safe?

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

About the leadership

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

About the teachers

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

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
64% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
85% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
87% Citywide Average
How many parents say their child's teacher helped their child adjust to Pre-K?
97% Citywide Average
How many parents say this Pre-K program helped them consider which elementary schools would meet their childrens' needs?
91% Citywide Average
How many Pre-K parents say their child's teacher gave helpful ideas for how to support their child's learning?
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?
40% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
39% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 4 dedicated spaces for Music, Visual arts, and an Auditorium
This school has 2 licensed arts teachers in Visual arts (part-time) and Theater
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 ICT students
2.0 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.2 Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
86% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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