P.S. 307 Daniel Hale Williams

Grades Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Welcoming tone and great program for students on the autism spectrum

The Downside

Needy students provide challenges with academics and attendance

Our Review

Good things are happening at PS 307. Classrooms are calm and welcoming, with high levels of student engagement. Class size is small and most classes have at least two adults. Particularly in the lower grades, the writing and art work posted on bulletin boards is rich and creative, showing attentive teaching editing the students work. In one pre-k class, children sang Hello, hello, how do you do? In another, they measured their heights with yarn.

Principal Stephanie Carroll, whose own children attended the progressive Midtown West School in Manhattan, encourages teachers to create imaginative lessons with plenty of time for play and exploration. Student teachers and volunteers ensure children get plenty of attention.

The school boasts two well-stocked music classrooms. Each has keyboards where all students learn some keyboarding, and fifth graders learn guitar. The school has a rock band and jazz group, which are part of an afterschool program. Classes in Mandarin are offered. A $1.8 million magnet grant for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education provides hands-on science and math at least three hours per week. Although the grant formally ended in 2016, the school continues to offer the STEM classes and welcomes children from outside the school attendance zone.

Located in Vinegar Hill, a gentrifying neighborhood between the Brooklyn Navy Yard and DUMBO, PS 307 has long served children who live in the Farragut public housing development across the street. Students with special needs from throughout the district come for the school's excellent ASD Horizon program for students on the autism spectrum.

In 2016, to ease overcrowding at nearby PS 8, The Department of Education expanded the zone for PS 307 to include DUMBO. The change was controversial: Some PS 307 parents worried that a community institution that has long nurtured black and Latino families would be "taken over" by outsiders from the gentrifying neighborhood of DUMBO, while some DUMBO families worried that the school's low test scores mean their children might not be challenged.

Those fears did not seem to materialize, at least in the first year after the rezoning. Carroll, whose mother is from France and whose father is from Senegal, says my perspective is not black and white and has reassured parents of all races that they are welcome. Kindergarten enrollments increased significantly, from just 18 children in 2015-16 to 56 in 2016-17.

Despite the school's many strengths, daunting challenges remain. While most children were engaged in their classes on our visit, a few were squirming or not paying attention. Test scores are below the citywide average. There are high rates of chronic absenteeism. Some teachers complain of discipline problems, according to 2015-16 school survey. However, on our visit in fall 2016, the school appeared calm and orderly.

With effective leadership and strong teaching, PS 307 is a school to watch.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes on every grade, several self-contained classes for special education students, and several special small classes for students on the autism spectrum in the ASD Horizon program. Teachers provide personal attention and a gentle atmosphere. One general education student even studies in the ASD classroom because he works better in a smaller, quieter group. The 1st-grade classroom with cozy corners, was dimly lit with music softly playing and all students focused.

ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school but students from outside of the zone are also admitted. The school welcomes prospective parents who wish to visit or tour. (Elizabeth Daniels, November 2015, Clara Hemphill, November 2016)

About the students

Enrollment
383
Pre-K seats
47
Asian
2.9%
Black
54.6%
Hispanic
31.1%
White
7.6%
Other
3.9%
Free or reduced priced lunch
73%
Students with disabilities
34%
English language learners
2%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
122%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
90%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
33%
21% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
50%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
64%
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?
73%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
77%
87% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
73%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
69%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
77%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
77%
87% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
39%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
79%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
87%
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?
16%
40% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
22%
39% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 3 dedicated spaces for Music and an Auditorium
This school has 2 licensed arts teachers in Theater
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the 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
1.95
2.0 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
1.86
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.97
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.12
2.2 Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
94%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
94%
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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