West Prep Academy

Grades 6-8

What’s Special

Lots of laptops, iPads and digital cameras

The Downside

A new school often needs time to improve test scores

Our Review

West Prep Academy, a magnet school housed in a sunny wing of PS 145, has a curriculum designed to make students media-savvy as well as community savvy. Students make their own documentary films and quickly learn to express themselves using digital devices. Classrooms are well-equipped with laptops, SmartBoards, iPads, and digital cameras. The climate of the school is both creative and orderly. Students, called scholars, wear purple and gray uniforms. They were happy and engaged as they worked in small groups the day of our visit. Teachers, all of whom have iPads, are experienced and have good control of their classes.

The gym and cafeteria are shared with PS 145. West Prep students have gym every day and the cafeteria, often an indicator of how well a school is functioning, was peaceful and orderly. The schools sunny atrium is also a community garden.

The school has benefitted from a federal magnet grant to integrate art and technology into the curriculum.Former principal Robert Padilla used the funds to purchase new equipment and to forge strong partnerships with Columbia Teachers College, Parsons School of Design, and other organizations to enrich the students learning experiences.

Students sometimes use the community as their classroom. For example, children made an inventory of food resources in the neighborhood and put together a multi-media presentation called Healthy Harvest which highlighted the importance of eating well.

Parents are trained to work closely with teachers in the classroom in a program called Titan Guardians. West Preps dean has developed a fathers support group to work with students. A summer bridge program for new students and their parents is planned.

[Former assistant principal Carland Washington has replaced Padilla, who left in 2014 to become superintendant of schools in Newburgh, New York. In anarticle in DNAinfoWashington said the transition has been smooth because students already saw him as one of the school's co-leaders.]

Founded in 2009 in shared space at MS 44, West Prep had a rocky start. In 2011 the school lost its founding principal and moved to its current quarters. The next principal, Padilla, was a charismatic recruiter who assembled an almost entirely new faculty from around the country to implement the schools technology-infused and community-oriented curriculum. They made a fine start in turning the school around. While test scores have a way to go, attendance has improved and the atmosphere is both warm and serious.

An after school program operates five days a week and its offerings are a rich mix of media, sports, arts, traditional curriculum as well as homework help.

Special education: About one quarter of the student body receives special education services.

Admissions: Call the school to arrange a tour. Children in District 3 get preference, although there may be room for out-of-district children. (Marian Cross, February 2012; Lydie Raschka, principal update December 2014)

About the students

Enrollment
201
Asian
1.5%
Black
57.7%
Hispanic
35.3%
White
3.5%
Other
2.0%
Free or reduced priced lunch
68%
Students with disabilities
30%
English language learners
7%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares a building with PS 145
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
77%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
91%
93% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
32%
20% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
84%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
26%
28% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
91%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
34%
43% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
2.2
6.0 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
95%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
100%
88% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
100%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
53%
72% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
99%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
90%
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?
13%
27% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
22%
30% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 4 dedicated spaces for Dance, Music, an Auditorium, and a Film Studio
This school has 1 licensed arts teacher in Music

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?
70%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
84%
72% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Algebra I
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
7%
26% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
82%
84% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Landmark HS
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
0%
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
1.84
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.06
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.91
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.15
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.32
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.42
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
79%
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?
93%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
93%
90% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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