P.S. 69 Journey Prep School

Grades Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
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Location

560 Thieriot Avenue
Bronx NY 10473
Clason Point (District 8)
Buses: Bx27, Bx36, Bx39, Bx5

Contact

Phone
718-378-4736
Principal
Sheila Durant
Parent Coordinator
Donna Salerno

Zone for the 2017-2018 school year. Call school to confirm.

What’s Special

Nurturing school gets kids excited about learning

The Downside

Classes spread across three buildings; no gym

Our Review

With its striking, sun-drenched library and flourishing vegetable garden, PS 69 Journey Prep is an inviting place to go to school. Together teachers and the principal work hard to devise strategies to energize and engage students who live in one of the city's poorest neighborhoods.

At a time when many schools use scripted lesson plans, Principal Sheila Durant says she values spontaneity and leaves many decisions to her teachers, who pick and choose from various programs. Teachers work with two coaches -- one in math and one in reading -- and advise one another on what works in the classroom. In the lower grades, teachers can opt for aspects of the Reggio Emilia method, which seeks to harness children's curiosity to help them learn.

PS 69 developed a reputation for being a high-quality school in a tough neighborhood under the previous principal, Alan Cohen. Cohen retired in 2010 but the school's energy and commitment to its students has continued under Durant, who had been the assistant principal. It is a school where the custodian builds a bridge for students to use in science experiments and where two teachers spent the previous evening putting together an engaging video for the next day's class.

Writing is key, even for kindergartners. Students are expected to read independently by the end of kindergarten. Those who don't may be held back, although efforts are made to bring the child along without that. "If any child isnt learning, we need to do something different," Durant says. The school also provides extra math for high-performing students.

Children read a lot of nonfiction, with social studies incorporated into the reading program. Many lessons are interdisciplinary,

On the day we visited, PS 69 was marking National Kale Day. For 4th graders, this involved a trip to the school's garden with the science teacher to record their observations of kale plants (and to discover how, when dried, the vegetable turned into tasty kale chips). Younger children read books about vegetables and wore silly kale hats. One class whipped up a batch of kale juice.

Durant strives to bring a range of experiences to children who might otherwise not have them. A chef comes in once a week to work with students. There is an archery program, and an etiquette class for 5th graders culminates with a sit-down dinner in the library.

The school also has counselors and other staff to help students who may come from troubled homes. It offers peer mediation, where 5th graders try to help students resolve conflicts. Students are repeatedly reminded to be kind to one another. "I want them to be smart but I also want them to be good citizens, good people," Durant said.

Along with the garden, the heart of the school is its vibrantly colored, well-equipped library, created with the help of a $2 million donation from the Robin Hood Foundation. But the school facility has limitations. While grades 2 through 5 are in the main building, 1st grade occupies an annex, and pre-K and kindergarten are in colorful trailers on school grounds. The school does not have a gym so has set up a fitness room.

Special education: PS 69 has team teaching classes that mix general and special education students and two self-contained classes. Durant, a former special education teacher, says she tries to move children out of the self-contained classes, even if they require help from a paraprofessional in the more mainstream classrooms.

Admissions: Neighborhood school. (Gail Robinson, October 2013; updated by phone, August 2016)

About the students

Enrollment
605
Pre-K seats
54
Asian
1.5%
Black
15.0%
Hispanic
81.0%
White
1.5%
Other
1.0%
Free or reduced priced lunch
88%
Students with disabilities
22%
English language learners
8%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
119%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
93%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
22%
21% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
100%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
100%
88% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
5.8
6.6 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
100%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
100%
90% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
95%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
80%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
95%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
98%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
100%
89% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
54%
65% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
77%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
89%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents say their child's teacher helped their child adjust to Pre-K?
100%
98% Citywide Average
How many parents say this Pre-K program helped them consider which elementary schools would meet their childrens' needs?
95%
92% Citywide Average
How many Pre-K parents say their child's teacher gave helpful ideas for how to support their child's learning?
100%
97% 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?
51%
43% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
56%
42% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 6 dedicated spaces for Music, Theater, Visual arts, and Media arts
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?
15%
9% Citywide Average
How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
78%
46% 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
1.9
2.0 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.43
2.4 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.99
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.41
2.2 Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
91%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
97%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
97%
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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