P.S. 54 Samuel C. Barnes

Grades Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
Marquee homepage

What’s Special

STEM magnet program, lots of outdoor space for play and green projects

The Downside

Population shrinking due to demographic shifts in neighborhood, low test scores

Our Review

Students at PS 54 figure out how to make water filters, plant outdoor gardens and explore science in an inviting science lab and around the city as part of the schools Environmental Science, Technology & Community Wellness magnet grant. Fitness is also a focus at this small school which has been cited by the city for its healthy school environment. Children enjoy playing in the indoor gym and planting trees in the expansive playgrounds outside the building.

Partnerships with community and environmental organizations bring in much-needed resources to this Bedford-Stuyvesant school where most students qualify for free lunch. Children go on trips with the Hudson River Stoop-Clearwater and to the Alley Pond Environmental Center, and Brooklyn Botanic Gardens where they learn to compost. Several classrooms have tanks with fish and turtles.

PS 54 students benefit from small classes; there are only about 20 students on average in each of two classrooms on every grade. The downside is that the schools population has been shrinking as the neighborhood changes. Many Hasidic families have moved into the neighborhood who dont send their children to public school. PS 54 uses both its magnet program and a Spanish dual language program to attract families from outside the zone.

Principal Anthony Pirro came to the school in 2015, replacing a longtime principal and bringing in fresh ideas. A scientist in his former career, he became somewhat of a data expert but decided he didnt like spending so much time in the lab. He changed careers and became an elementary school teacher in nearby District 16, then was assistant principal for eight years at PS 503 in District 20. His goal is to bring to PS 54 some of the same diversity and vibrant arts that are a hallmark in that school.

Id like this to become a microcosm of New York City diversity, he said.

He faces some challenges and a very different population at PS 54. In addition to low enrollment, student test scores are way below city average and, as a newcomer to the school, Pirro must convince longtime staffers of the need for change. He uses dataon the test scores and some safety concerns that predated his arrivalto bolster his case for the need to lift the rigor. What we were doing wasnt working, he said.

Pirro is instituting a restorative discipline process which is more supportive than punitive of students who misbehave. He is actively seeking arts partners and working on building a strong home-school connection. Parents are invited to walk their children into the pre-k, kindergarten and 1st-grade classrooms now located on the first floor and stay for awhile. There are monthly coffees with him and publishing parties where students read their work. The school technology lab, gym and art room are open to family use every Tuesday afternoon.

In the classroom, staff developers from Teachers College Reading and Writing Project work with teachers. Children go on field trips related to their units of study: pre-k students tour the Fairway market and Green Meadows Farm; 2nd-graders studying the Earth go to the Museum of Natural History; 3rd-graders learn to compost at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and 4th-graders devised a water catchment system for the schoolyard.

Children get a chance to shine during Friday enrichment clubs, based on the Joseph Renzulli models belief that everybody is good at something. Options include gardening, soccer, arts and more.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: About 18 percent of the students have IEPs (individual educational programs). There are ICT classes and SETSS.

ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. There are openings for students from outside the zone and the school offers tours. (Pamela Wheaton, December 2015)

About the students

Enrollment
242
Pre-K seats
31
Asian
3.3%
Black
58.3%
Hispanic
32.6%
White
2.5%
Other
3.3%
Free or reduced priced lunch
97%
Students with disabilities
23%
English language learners
12%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
49%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
92%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
31%
21% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
54%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
83%
85% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
1.0
6.6 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
69%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
91%
87% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
68%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
85%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
98%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
83%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
91%
87% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
36%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
94%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
96%
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?
76%
91% Citywide Average
How many Pre-K parents say their child's teacher gave helpful ideas for how to support their child's learning?
89%
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?
5%
40% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
9%
39% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 3 dedicated spaces for Dance, Visual arts, and an Auditorium
This school has 1 licensed arts teacher in 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?

This school offers Dual Language classes in Spanish.
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
1.72
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
1.91
2.2 Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
80%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
80%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
90%
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.