P.S. 163 Alfred E. Smith

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

Dance, science, dual language

The Downside

Integrating four tracks is a work in progress

Our Review

PS 163 has two lively pre-kindergarten classes, an impressive dance program, and teachers who know how to challenge top students while giving struggling kids the support they need.

Its gifted and talented program is open to children from across District 3. PS 163 has a popular dual language program designed to make children fluent in English and Spanish, as well as general education classes and team-taught classes for children with special needs. The Parents Association works hard to bring children in the school's different programs together with weekly clubs such as macram, cooking, running or filmmaking.

The attendance zone for PS 163 includes housing projects and luxury housing and, unfortunately, the school is somewhat divided by race and class. The G&T classes are mostly white and Asian, especially in the younger grades; the dual-language classes have a mix of mostly white and Latino; and the general education classes and the team-taught classes are mostly black and Latino.

The school faces a budget quandaryit's not quite poor enough for federal anti-poverty grants called Title I, but not rich enough to have the Parents Association raise a huge amount of money. There is some friction between the administration and staff: In his first years at the school, Principal Donny Lopez, who took over after longtime principal Virginia Pepe retired in 2013, got low marks from teachers on annual surveys.

Nonetheless, most parents seem satisfied. "Our girls are challenged without being stressed or overwhelmed," a mother with two children in the G&T program wrote on the InsideSchools website. "We like that the kindergarten is academic but also allows the kids center time so that they can enjoy being kids."

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Team-taught classes mix children with special needs and children in general education in one classroom.

ADMISSIONS: PS 163 is a neighborhood school. Admissions to gifted and talented classes are according to Department of Education guidelines. Dual language fills with zoned children. After a family shows interest, the school does an evaluation to establish language dominance. "We continue to go down the wait list until the end of October," said the parent coordinator. (Lydie Raschka, December 2015)

About the students

Enrollment
567
Pre-K seats
28
Asian
5.5%
Black
16.4%
Hispanic
45.0%
White
27.9%
Other
5.3%
Free or reduced priced lunch
49%
Students with disabilities
16%
English language learners
7%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
110%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
95%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
15%
21% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
60%
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
3.9
6.6 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
35%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
56%
87% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
33%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
89%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
98%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
72%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
64%
87% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
60%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
92%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
80%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents say their child's teacher helped their child adjust to Pre-K?
75%
97% Citywide Average
How many parents say this Pre-K program helped them consider which elementary schools would meet their childrens' needs?
71%
91% Citywide Average
How many Pre-K parents say their child's teacher gave helpful ideas for how to support their child's learning?
76%
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?
58%
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 Music and Visual arts
This school has 9 licensed arts teachers in Dance (part-time), Music (part-time), and Theater
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

This school offers Dual Language classes in Spanish.
How many English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
7%
10% Citywide Average
How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
8%
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 self-contained students
2.4
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.01
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
4.83
2.8 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.45
2.2 Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
78%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
85%
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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