P.S. 212 Midtown West

Grades Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
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Location

328 West 48 Street
Manhattan NY 10036
Hell's Kitchen (District 2)
Trains: N, R, W to 49th St; F, M to 47-50th Sts Rockefeller Center; B, D to 7th Ave; A to 42nd St-Port Authority Bus Terminal; 2, 3, 7, Q, S to Times Square-42nd St; 1, C, E to 50th St
Buses: M10, M104, M11, M12, M20, M31, M34A-SBS, M42, M5, M50, M57

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What’s Special

Exciting connections in science, math and social studies

The Downside

Cramped rooms, large classes

Our Review

Located on the edge of the theater district, Midtown West is a small and welcoming school that attracts students from across District 2. It has a neighborhood feel, even though fewer than half of the children live within walking distance. The school has a significant number of male teachers and teachers of color. In addition to moms, large numbers of dads drop their kids off in the morning. Gay parents, interracial families and families formed through adoption feel comfortable here.

Parents are welcomed in the classrooms and at the cozy Family Center, where the busy PTA has its headquarters. Every child receives a full set of school supplies each fall as well as five free books for summer reading courtesy of the PTA. Many parents participate in a Book Club, reading current and classic children's literature, followed by workshops on what to do at home to foster a love of reading. Families are strongly encouraged to volunteer a few hours a month.

The curriculum remains progressive, with continued close ties to Bank Street College of Education. Projects are nicely interconnected, weaving writing and reading into science, social studies and math. The school uses the standard TERC Investigations for math, but supplements with Contexts for Learning, a series of practical, child-friendly math problems that take days to complete. Kids may determine, say, how many truffles fit into different sized boxes, a unit introducing patterns (arrays) to help kids visualize multiplication and division in 3rd grade. These rich problems require kids to apply skills, not just memorize facts.

Ryan Bourke, formerly an assistant principal at popular PS 321 in Park Slope, became principal in 2013. Bourke, who has a master's degree in literacy from Columbia University, has been working to strengthen math and science, a perceived area of growth among parents and staff, he said, despite strong test scores.

A grant writing committee secured funds to update an old science room. A science consultant works with the 2nd-grade teachers to bring more science concepts, such as suspension and force, into their social studies unit on bridges. Third grade classes and up receive science twice a week from a part-time science teacher shared with PS 51, but teachers of the younger grades do a good job of helping kids make science connections in the classroom. When kindergartners study fairy tales, for example, it leads into a study of forests, trees and seeds, supplemented by trips to Bear Mountain and Harriman State Park.

Midtown West classrooms are filled with plants and animals, and while some verge on cluttered, and feel cramped with 28 kids, most are exciting places to be. It is also an advantage that the kids get outside a lot. First-graders peek behind the scenes at area theaters as they become set and costume designers in preparation for their own class play. They also learn about electricity and the simple machines they find backstage such as pulleys, wedges and levers.

Classes are "looped," so that children spend two years with the same teacher. Teachers adjust for faster and slower learners with varying degrees of success: Sometimes faster kids are asked to help classmates, but in a 3rd-grade class we saw near the end of the school year, a group of four advanced math students were taking a test so the teacher could evaluate their skills and better prepare to challenge them right away in the fall.

Studio in a School art workshops are provided by funds raised by parents, and a well-equipped, modern music room features rows of keyboards. First- through fifth-graders have mixed-age clubs every Wednesday (such as chess and cooking), and everyone looks forward to Popcorn Fridays. There is an afterschool program in the building until 6 pm. One pre-kindergarten class is opening September 2014.

Special Education: Occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy are offered, as well as Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS).

Admissions: Children who live in District 2 are eligible to apply. There are far more applicants than seats available. Prospective parents are encouraged to come on a tour in the fall. (Lydie Raschka, May 2014)

About the students

Enrollment
375
Pre-K seats
36
Asian
12.3%
Black
5.6%
Hispanic
24.0%
White
48.3%
Other
9.9%
Free or reduced priced lunch
21%
Students with disabilities
13%
English language learners
3%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with the Professional Performing Arts HS
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
115%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
97%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
3%
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?
100%
85% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
0.3
6.6 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
100%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
100%
87% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
100%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
87%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
100%
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?
94%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
87%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
96%
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?
83%
91% Citywide Average
How many Pre-K parents say their child's teacher gave helpful ideas for how to support their child's learning?
97%
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?
73%
40% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
76%
39% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 4 dedicated spaces for Music, Theater, Visual arts, and an Auditorium
This school has 1 licensed arts teacher in 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
2.6
2.0 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.42
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
2.41
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.61
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
4.99
2.8 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.67
2.2 Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
85%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
96%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
93%
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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