Muscota New School, PS 314

Grades K-5
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Very involved parent body

The Downside

Small, cramped space with no room to grow

Our Review

Founded by a group of parents and teachers in 1993, Muscota New School offers a cheerful, progressive learning environment with an emphasis on the arts. Parents are involved to an unusual degree: On our visit, we saw parents lead a visual art class, facilitate a group in drama class and read to students.

Kids develop a strong foundation in what it means to be a member of a community, a common thread throughout the school. Teachers use morning meeting, closing circle and school-wide meeting times to openly discuss how to build the community, solve conflicts and create shared expectations.

Children are taught, as early as kindergarten to speak up and express themselves, because how their voice is used is a part of learning, said Camille Wallin, principal since 2010. Discipline is not punitive, and rewards and punishments are not used. Each class spends the first six weeks of the school year outlining their hopes and dreams for the coming year. Kids help to create their own rules and come up with concrete ways to take responsibility for their actions.

Field trips augment the four big social studies themes children tackle each year. Second graders study transportation and visit the NY Museum of Transportation, for instance. Fourth graders visit Ellis Island during their immigration unit. "They go out into the real world for authentic experience," said Wallin.

Arts are integral to the overall school philosophy. Art class challenges you as a creative thinker so your artistic ability is going to be nurtured here, said Wallin. All students participate in dance, music, visual arts and drama with performance opportunities in each. The school has partnerships with Carnegie Hall, the NYC Student Shakespeare Festival and the mini, school-based Museum of Modern Art event, where each year kids create an original piece of artwork, which is then exhibited at the school and sold.

Under Wallins leadership, the school has boosted its test scores while retaining the qualities it has long been known for: creative hands-on projects, a progressive philosophy and focus on social and emotional development. This small school has two classes on every grade.

The school is housed in a four-story brick building, which it shares with Amistad. Space is tight, and classrooms feel small and cramped. The two schools work well together to improve shared use of the building, including the outdoor play area and library.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: All children with special needs are integrated into regular classrooms.

ADMISSIONS: Muscota is open to all District 6 families. Students are chosen by lottery and preference is given to siblings of students enrolled at the school. Parents are encouraged to tour the school. (Mahalia Watson, November 2015; updated August 2016 by phone)

About the students

Enrollment
281
Asian
5.7%
Black
2.1%
Hispanic
42.4%
White
43.8%
Other
6.1%
Free or reduced priced lunch
25%
Students with disabilities
14%
English language learners
5%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with Amistad Dual Language School
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
168%
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?
9%
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
6.0
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?
75%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
94%
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?
66%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
78%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
92%
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?
61%
40% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
70%
39% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 6 dedicated spaces for Dance, Music, Theater, Visual arts, an Auditorium, and a Film Studio
This school has 4 licensed arts teachers in Dance (part-time), Music (part-time), Theater (part-time), and Visual arts (part-time)
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
8%
10% Citywide Average
How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
0%
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
2.39
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.15
2.2 Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
62%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
81%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
69%
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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