P.S. 35 Franz Siegel
Strong teaching, stable staff, excellent student writing.
Tiny, overcrowded building.
A few blocks from Yankee Stadium, PS 35 is a neighborhood elementary school with stable leadership, experienced teachers, and engaged students. The instructional style is on the traditional side, with a strong focus on reading, writing, and math. Although it is located in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city, PS 35 provides high quality instruction and a welcoming learning environment for its students.
The school has an academic tone, with departmentalized classes in grades 3-5, meaning that students take math and science with one teacher and ELA and social studies with another. This approach allows teachers to specialize in the subjects that they teach. It also eases the transition to middle school for the students, according to Principal Graciela Navarro, who has led the school since 2000. Students in 4th and 5th grade have majors too. At the beginning of the year, they may choose to study music, dance, robotics, or technology for one double period each week.
Were very big on writing here, said Navarro. Students do lots of writing in every subject. Student work displayed throughout the school ranges from book reports about E. B. Whites Stuart Little to explanations of an experiment about swinging pendulums. In a 5th grade English Language Arts class we visited, students worked on short essays independently, some on laptops and some with pen and paper, referencing thesauruses and dictionaries as they worked.
PS 35 also has a strong focus on math. The school works with two math education consultants, who work with students and also provide professional development for teachers. Teachers use a mix of workbooks and more conceptual word problems in their classes. In a 3rd grade math class, students worked in small groups, some creating their own problem and solving it and others working on problems from the workbook.
The schools science teacher leads interesting classes for all grades. His classroom is packed with interesting objects for students to study, from plants to bark to seashells. In science class students do fun projects, like making balloon rockets to learn about how air is compressed inside of a balloon and how air pressure can power a rocket.
The school struggles with overcrowding. Space in classrooms is tight, and the library might be used for classes in English as a Second Language (ESL), special education services, and teacher meetings all at the same time.
Students may participate in a variety of afterschool clubs, including step team, art, and technology club. Students in grades 2 through 5 may participate in chorus. There is also a Saturday Academy for students needing extra help with their schoolwork. Students continue on to a variety of middle schools, including Mott Hall III, Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice, The Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science, and JHS 22.
English language learners: There are no self-contained classes for English language learners. Students who are learning English receive support from the schools ESL teacher, who works with them in and out of their regular classes.
Special education: In kindergarten, 2nd, and 3rd grades there are team-taught classes (with two teachers) where students with special needs are taught alongside their non-disabled peers. There are also five self-contained classes where about 12 students with special needs are taught by one teacher.
Admissions: Zoned neighborhood school. (Pauline Zaldonis, November 2013)
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Bronx NY 10451