P.S. 206 Jose Celso Barbosa

Grades 3-8
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What’s Special

ASD Nest program for children with autism spectrum disorders

The Downside

Teachers must focus on many children with low literacy skills

Our Review

PS/MS 206 is a safe school with a mix of freedom and structure. Children wear uniforms and work in small groups; they use textbooks and do hands-on activities. The school has a dual language Spanish-English program and hosts an ASD Nest Program for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Students with ASD learn in a classroom alongside typically developing children, taught by two teachers who have been trained in the programs specialized curriculum and teaching strategies.

Housed in a building shared with two progressive schools (PS 112, an early childhood center for grades PK-2; and River East, a K-5 school), PS/MS 206 begins with third grade and goes through middle school. The three schools peaceably share an auditorium, an occupational therapy room, a gym and a large outdoor play yard.

We saw children working calmly on a range of activities. Sixth graders were reading pages from a textbook about natural disasters and an article about Hurricane Sandy. They listed facts from the readings onto worksheets. In another class, a group worked on a hands-on measurement activity. Teachers display timers while children are working to foster independence, particularly for literacy. With the timers and points for good behavior, the school is more structured than its feeder school, PS 112a vibrant, progressive school where lessons stem from childrens questions about a topic.

Like PS 112, about half the classrooms have 4 or 5 children with Aspergers who learn alongside 12 to 16 typically developing children, depending on the grade. These classrooms have two teachers, one of whom is trained to teach special education. All children are exposed to the same lessons. Counselors, coaches and therapists are on-hand to provide support.

According to Principal Camille Forbes, formerly the literacy coach and assistant principal, the training her staff has received on how to work with the ASD students has transformed the way teachers approach every child. When we look at behavior, we dont focus on the action alone, she said. We look at underlying issues in order to change the action.

ASD Nest children appreciate distinct boundaries. To promote good behavior, staff reward children with points for positive behavior culminating in a special responsibility, a treat or lunch with a teacher. There is a room for conflict resolution. Two social workers work side-by-side with teachers in classrooms to help children learn about cooperation and responsibility. They also provide one-on-one counseling.

Teachers receive coaching from the staff at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Despite coaching and a lot of in-class reading time, students have below average test scores in reading and in math. To improve reading, struggling readers participate in very structured reading programs such as Achieve3000 or Wilson.

The school uses the Everyday Math program and has three science teachers on staff. Teachers have worked to raise test scores and skills of children with special needs, and while this has resulted in a better progress report, it has meant less attention for high-achievers in the classroom. Top students may participate in morning enrichment classes and a Saturday Academy.

To mark the transition to middle school, students receive different colored uniforms (burgundy and khaki), lockers and new desks. One advantage of the middle school is that every classroom has two teachers, whether it has children with special needs or not. "We really see how it benefits the children," said Forbes. Eighth graders can take Algebra. 

Every Friday there are mixed-age enrichment clubs, based on teachers passions, such as knitting, drama and sports. Lunch clubs are run by enthusiastic 18- to 24-year-old Americorp volunteers, who also run an after-school program and support literacy work in the classroom.

Space is somewhat limited. Ballroom dancing is held in the large library while a movement class takes place on the auditorium stage. The middle school will start with a basketball team and add sports as it grows.

Special education: There are many options; self-contained classes, team-teaching classes, ASD Nest classrooms and seven general education classrooms. 

Admissions: Almost all the incoming third graders come from PS 112, and some from PS 178 in Washington Heights. ASD Nest students are referred from the DOE. A social worker and cluster teachers evaluate these students to decide who is a good match for the program. (Lydie Raschka, November 2012; updated, school data, 2017))

About the students

Enrollment
479
Asian
2.9%
Black
26.7%
Hispanic
63.5%
White
4.4%
Other
2.5%
Free or reduced priced lunch
100%
Students with disabilities
40%
English language learners
13%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with River East Elementary
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
104%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
94%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
22%
19% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
71%
75% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
34%
25% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
88%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
79%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
36%
46% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
4.8
6.4 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
88%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
96%
86% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
91%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
61%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
76%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
89%
85% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
78%
59% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
76%
79% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
87%
84% 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?
28%
39% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
27%
40% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 3 dedicated spaces for Music, Visual arts, and an Auditorium
This school has 4 licensed arts teachers in Dance (part-time), 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?
58%
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
48%
55% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
63%
70% 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?
26%
28% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
79%
87% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Renaissance Charter HS for Innovation, The HS of Fashion Industries, and Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics
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 former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
18%
18% 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
1.72
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.5
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.76
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.36
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.1
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.17
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
68%
69% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
87%
84% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
89%
89% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
89%
87% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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