Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School

Grades K-5
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

A good balance of art and academics in a long day, small classes, morning meditation

The Downside

Few bathrooms, no gymnasium

Our Review

At Thurgood Marshall Academy, students wear crisp white shirts and red ties and raise their hands respectfully to speak in class. Kids visit museums and study dance, violin and jazz. They start each day with a few minutes of silent, calming mindfulness.

A grandmother of two chose it over TAG (Talented and Gifted) Young Scholars because she told us it was exceptionally nurturing of the "whole child," particularly "black and Latino kids."

The 15 or so staff members wear several hatsthe nurse sings opera to the kids, the secretary doubles as the step-team coach. Children are in school until 5:30 p.m., allowing them time for sports, drumming, dance and more, which helps balance the serious academics that start in kindergarten. Kids meditate, and track their emotions with "mood meters." Children visit lots of museums and study dance, violin, and jazz.

The school was opened in 2005 in collaboration with the Abyssinian Development Corporation, the housing and social service arm of Harlem's biggest church, Abyssinian Baptist Church.

Principal Dawn Brooks DeCosta won a Cahn Fellowship in 2015, a reflection of her strong leadership. An educator for more than 23 years, she has watched the rise of middle-class parents in Harlem, and she and her staff hope to learn from PS 125, where parents have demanded more progressive practices such as hands-on "centers" in kindergarten. She wants to ensure her teachers have the tools to reach faster learners, too: "We've had such a focus on the struggler," she said. "We also need to focus on the advanced."

A few downsides: The old building has only two bathrooms on the third floor with one stall in each. There is no gymnasium, but kids play in a small yard or in the cafeteria. Some children miss many days of school because of long commutes or for health reasons such as asthma.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Physical therapy takes place at another location but a special education tutor and a speech therapist are available on-site. There are also mental health services.

ADMISSIONS: There are up to 20 spots for kindergarten and 1st-graders depending on how many siblings are admitted. Applications for grades 1 to 5 may be picked up at the school. There are twice as many seats in 1st grade as in kindergarten, a boon to families set adrift from area charter schools, but very few spaces open in the upper grades.The application is not an evaluation of the child, DeCosta said. (Lydie Raschka, October 2015; updated August 2016)

About the students

Enrollment
223
Asian
1.8%
Black
77.6%
Hispanic
16.1%
White
0.9%
Other
3.6%
Free or reduced priced lunch
87%
Students with disabilities
15%
English language learners
1%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
138%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
92%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
30%
21% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
85%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
93%
85% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
5.0
6.6 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
64%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
65%
87% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
77%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
79%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
99%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
80%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
80%
87% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
84%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
88%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
93%
87% 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?
39%
40% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
35%
39% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 0 dedicated spaces for the arts.
This school has 0 licensed arts teachers in Dance, Music, Theater or Visual arts
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 self-contained students
1.86
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
1.87
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.18
2.8 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.25
2.2 Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
83%
86% 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%
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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