I.S. 181 Pablo Casals

Grades 6-8
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Location

800 Baychester Avenue
Bronx NY 10475
Co-op City (District 11)
Trains: 5 to Baychester Ave
Buses: Bx12-SBS, Bx23, Bx28, Bx30, Bx38, BxM7, Q50

Contact

Phone
718-904-5600
Principal
Christophe Warnock

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

What’s Special

Constantly updated website lets parents track grades and assignments online.

The Downside

Special education students are not making sufficient gains.

Our Review

MS 181, the Pablo Casals School, is a well-functioning middle school in the north Bronx that has a track record of preserving the forward momentum of motivated students. Since he became principal in 2006, Chris Warnock has been refining the school's structure in an effort to reward academic success, meet students' individual needs and connect parents to the classroom through online technology.

Most classrooms have a no-nonsense atmosphere, and teachers seemed serious about maintaining classroom discipline. Students who arrive at Pablo Casals by way of a gifted and talented curriculum in elementary school will find a middle school ready to maintain an accelerated pace toward early Regents exams. MS 181 students who did not take early G&T courses but who blossom academically in middle school can shift onto this advanced track. Warnock admits his school struggles to fully serve students who need remedial help, but in 2011, the school received a $210,000 technology grant from the city designed to improve the special education courses.

MS 181 is one of several schools built in the 1970s within a collective campus dominated by Harry S Truman High School. The schools sit on the edge of Co-op City, a 15,372-unit development of co-operative housing built where Interstate 95 cuts through the Baychester neighborhood of the Bronx. MS 181 connects to Truman via a tunnel, and the middle school students use the high school's auditorium, gym and outdoor athletic fields. The middle school building's third floor is largely taken up by PS 176, a District 75 school serving children with severe autism and related disabilities.

MS 181 is proud of its online communication system. Using the city Department of Education web portal, parents can get access to teachers' individual websites, which are updated almost daily. On these sites, parents and students can find homework assignments, take practice quizzes, watch helpful tutorial videos and even download textbooks. "So going home and saying, 'Mommy, I have no homework' can't be done," Warnock said. Parents also can track the grades their child earn on class assignments. The set-up offers a current snapshot of a student's progress and eliminates end-of-the-year surprises when final grades are issued. " 'Why wasn't I informed?' is out the window," Warnock said. "I don't get that anymore."

Warnock also is proud of his school's "zero period," a flexible portion of the school day that allows students to rotate to the classrooms of specific instructors for specialized instruction, ranging from remedial intervention to Regents prep. He said the school also makes special efforts to celebrate and reward successes such as perfect attendance, excellent citizenship and good grades. Students who reach these benchmarks get invited to monthly after-school parties. The parties appear to be good motivators: 422 students qualified for such a party in autumn 2011, up from just 45 at the first party in 2008. In past years, the school's top 20 students have been invited to the White House Easter egg roll.

Special education: MS 181 students who qualify for special education are often taught in self-contained classrooms where the tone is noticeably less enthusiastic than elsewhere in the school. Special ed students also get individual help through SETSS or are mixed with the general student population in ICT classes that feature two teachers, one of whom is certified to teach special education. Warnock admits his special education students are not making the types of advances he would like to see. "We have not really been bridging that gap," he said.

Admissions: MS 181 is a neighborhood zoned school. The G&T program is open to students in District 11 who score a minimum combined 1,408 on the 4th-grade state math and literacy tests and who have a minimum 90 percent attendance. Qualified applicants typically exceed available seats, and the final admissions decisions are made by the Department of Education, not the school. (Skip Card, November, 2011.)

About the students

Enrollment
850
Asian
4.5%
Black
61.7%
Hispanic
28.6%
White
3.5%
Other
1.8%
Free or reduced priced lunch
78%
Students with disabilities
26%
English language learners
2%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
101%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
94%
93% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
21%
20% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
63%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
36%
28% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
77%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
29%
43% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
10.0
6.0 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
87%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
95%
88% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
87%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
77%
72% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
82%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
87%
86% 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?
38%
27% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
39%
30% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 2 dedicated spaces for Music and Visual arts
This school has 2 licensed arts teachers in Music and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
58%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
58%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
52%
72% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
US History, Living Environment
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
44%
26% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
90%
84% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
DeWitt Clinton HS, Harry S Truman HS, and Collegiate Institute for Math and Science
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
30%
14% 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
1.94
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.16
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.88
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.2
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.08
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.25
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
69%
67% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
79%
88% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
83%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
81%
90% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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