J.H.S. 167 Robert F. Wagner

Grades 6-8
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Fast-paced curriculum for motivated students. Large band program.

The Downside

Schools large size might be overwhelming to some.

Our Review

M.S. 167, known as the Robert Wagner School, is a large, well-functioning upper East Side middle school with eager students, motivated teachers and an energetic administration. Wagner is best at keeping high-achieving students on an accelerated pace, but the school also does a commendable job teaching average students or those who need extra help. The school's large size lets it offer a wide array of classes, and its student population is one of the most ethnically diverse in Manhattan.

"We're really just a slice of New York City," said Jennifer Rehn, who has been Wagner's principal since 2004. "If you want your kids to have a real New York City experience, this is it." The modern, five-story school sits on a leafy stretch of 76th Street between Second and Third avenues within a chunk of the Upper East Side that ranges from ritzy to run-down. A number of children have parents who work for the United Nations, but nearly half the students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Wagner's large size lets it offer a wide range of courses in both the "academic track" (as general education classes are called) and the "special progress" or accelerated courses. About three-quarters of Wagner's kids are considered special progress, and the school's rigorous curriculum allows elite students to take some Regents exams in eighth grade. Rehn said the school excels at "meeting kids at their levels and helping them meet their greatest potential." Special progress classes tend to be more crowded (averaging 33 students) than other classes (averaging 27 students).

The school has an active parents association (950 families are on the e-mail list), a variety of sports and after-school activities (ranging from dance classes to a biology club that specializes in dissection), and the largest band and orchestra program in Manhattan (more than 400 children participate). Classrooms are bright and colorful, and hallways are decorated with examples of student work. The campus has a large outdoor recreation yard where kids take physical education or hang out after lunch.

Rehn said teachers are working to infuse reading and writing into all classes, including gym and art. The 6th-grade curriculum is heavy on humanities (12 periods a week). Most of the faculty have at least five years of teaching experience, and turnover is low. Teachers post daily homework assignments on the school's web site, and parents can log on to check their children's grades.

Size has advantages, but some kids might be overwhelmed amid such a large student population. To help prevent kids getting lost in the crowd, Wagner has three assistant principals, one for each grade, and the APs travel with the students as they move from sixth through eighth grades. "They stick with them for three years," Rehn said. The school also has a strong no-harassment campaign, and students sign anti-bullying contracts that specifically define prohibited anti-social behaviors. Classrooms and hallways seemed orderly, and students we spoke to said the school was a generally friendly place with attentive, caring teachers.

Special education: Wagner has self-contained classes for kids with special needs. It also has two integrated co-teaching (ICT) classes per grade that feature two teachers, one of whom is certified to teach special education.

Admissions: A zoned neighborhood school, Wagner accepts students from within its District 2 zone who rate the school as their first choice. "We really want kids at Wagner who want to be here," Rehn said. Students from outside the zone are also admitted, but not from outside District 2. Tours are offered in the fall. Children applying for the "special progress" program must have reading and math scores at levels 3 or 4 on the 4th-grade standardized tests, have good grades, attendance and punctuality and a favorable teacher's recommendation.They must rank Wagner as a top choice. "If you don't think carefully about how you rank us, there might not be a seat in the SP program," Rehn said. (Skip Card, December 2011; updated admissions 2015)

About the students

Enrollment
1357
Asian
23.3%
Black
8.1%
Hispanic
17.3%
White
47.0%
Other
4.3%
Free or reduced priced lunch
33%
Students with disabilities
15%
English language learners
4%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares a building with a Pre-K Center
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
84%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
96%
93% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
10%
20% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
89%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
20%
28% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
85%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
52%
43% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
11.8
6.0 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
98%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
94%
88% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
92%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
74%
72% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
89%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
94%
86% 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?
70%
27% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
66%
30% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 6 dedicated spaces for Music, Theater, Visual arts, and an Auditorium
This school has 5 licensed arts teachers in Visual arts (part-time), Music, and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
86%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
47%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
78%
72% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Spanish, Algebra I, Earth Science
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
49%
26% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
95%
84% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Brooklyn Technical HS, Eleanor Roosevelt HS, and N.Y.C. Lab School for Collaborative Studies
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
10%
5% Citywide Average
How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
35%
14% 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
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.36
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
2.01
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.39
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
3.16
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.97
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
60%
67% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
90%
88% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
94%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
89%
90% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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