P.S. 307 Luisa Pineiro Fuentes School of Science and Discovery

Grades K-5
Staff Pick
Marquee homepage

What’s Special

Lots of science helps new immigrants learn English

The Downside

Cramped facilities, no playground

Our Review

With two full-time science teachers, PS 307 offers a much richer science curriculum than most elementary schools. Children do experiments in class three times a week and go on regular trips to the American Museum of Natural History, the Bronx Botanic Garden, or Green Meadow Farm in Queens.

The school does a particularly good job teaching English to new immigrants, and teachers and administrators say science is the secret to their success. Even if they are not English-speaking, they can do the experiments, said science teacher Christine Dieckmann. It helps them learn the language.

Children may study the life cycle of butterflies, or learn about gravity by rolling marbles down ramps, or find out about heat transfer by warming pennies in their hands (and comparing them to cold pennies they havent touched). They make electrical circuits with wires and batteries, scratch different minerals to find out which is the hardest, and study live ants in housed in classroom ant farms.

Children pick up academic vocabulary by talking to one another about the experiments. For example, a child who doesnt speak English may use a balance in class, and learn the word balance in the process.

Having the experiments in groups helps a great deal, because they have conversations, they use vocabulary, said assistant principal Debra Springsteen. A struggling reader may be withdrawn in most classes, but come alive in science. A child who cant readyoull see a different version of that child in science class, she said.

Arthur Horan, who teaches science to the younger children, was a museum educator at the American Museum of Natural History. Dieckman, who teaches the older children, was a middle school science teacher.

Classroom teachers and science specialists work together to help make sure children learn to read well. Were not just teaching science, were teaching literacy, said Principal Yolanda Valez. Its not just about experiments, its about reading non-fiction.

PS 307 has solid programs in reading, social studies and math as well as science. While some schools have spelling bees, PS 307 has a multiplication bee to see how well children can do word problems quickly. A theater class teaches children different versions of the Cinderella storyChinese, Mexican and American. There are some traditional touches: children recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day. They also learn ballroom dancing.

The school has better than average test scores, despite the fact that most child are poor enough to qualify for free lunch, the vast majority speak Spanish at home, and several dozen are homeless. Valez says attendance is better than average because she warns parents against taking their children to their home countries for extended vacationsa common practice among some immigrants.

I come down on them pretty hard, she says. When you have a job, you dont tell your boss you cant come. Its the same with school. Sometimes if parents have to go, she helps arrange for the children to stay with another family and continue school. Office staffers call parents individually when kids miss schooland dont use the automatic robo-calls that some schools employ.

Another reason the school is successful: most children start in pre-kindergarten, rather than kindergarten or first grade, as is common in many low-income neighborhoods where parents prefer to keep their children in full-day child care until school is obligatory.

Housed in a former synagogue, the building has cramped, windowless classrooms, narrow hallways and no playground. Instead of going out to play for recess, children watch videos in the cafeteria. Despite the limited facilities, the school is popular among parents and usually has a waiting list. The schools is named for the founding principal who died in March 2012.

Middle school choices include Eagle Academy, Jonas Bronck Academy and MS 244. Some children attend Summer on the Hill, a year-round enrichment program for disadvantaged youth at Horace Mann, a private school in Riverdale.

Special education: The school offers self-contained classes, team teaching, and special education teacher support services (SETSS). Rather than take children out of class, SETSS teachers offer extra help in childrens ordinary classroom.

Admissions: Neighborhood school. Register early. There is always a waiting list for kindergarten. In recent years, children who registered late were assigned to other schools in the neighborhood. There are occasionally open seats in the upper grades. (Clara Hemphill, December 2013)

About the students

Enrollment
400
Asian
6.3%
Black
7.0%
Hispanic
85.3%
White
1.3%
Other
0.3%
Free or reduced priced lunch
100%
Students with disabilities
21%
English language learners
32%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
216%
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?
14%
21% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
60%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
87%
85% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
4.3
6.6 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
68%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
84%
87% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
76%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
71%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96%
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?
88%
87% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
100%
64% 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?
85%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents say their child's teacher helped their child adjust to Pre-K?
100%
97% Citywide Average
How many parents say this Pre-K program helped them consider which elementary schools would meet their childrens' needs?
100%
91% Citywide Average
How many Pre-K parents say their child's teacher gave helpful ideas for how to support their child's learning?
100%
96% 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?
22%
40% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
23%
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 English Language Learners?

How many English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
3%
10% Citywide Average
How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
13%
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 ICT students
1.8
2.0 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
1.82
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.66
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
1.86
2.2 Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
95%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
96%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
96%
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
  • Give specific examples. Tell us why this school rocks (or doesn't).
  • Criticism is fine, but no profanity, racist or ethnic slurs, or personal attacks.
  • All users must comply with our Terms of Use.