The Urban Assembly Unison School

Grades 6-8

Location

170 Gates Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11238
Clinton Hill (District 13)
Trains: C to Clinton-Washington ; G to Classon Ave ; S to Franklin Ave
Buses: B25, B26, B38, B44, B44-SBS, B45, B48, B49, B52, B65, B69

Contact

Phone
718-399-1061
Principal
Emily Jarrell
Parent Coordinator
Arlette Barton Williams

What’s Special

Commitment to parent involvement; school day ends at 6 pm

The Downside

Low enrollment.

Our Review

The Urban Assembly Unison School is a new middle school District 13 that offers a school day which ends at 6 p.m and a commitment to parent involvement. Teachers make home visits and invite parents on field trips such as an overnight trip to an outdoor education center. Unison, opened with a 6th grade in fall 2012, shares space with PS 56.

The Urban Assembly, a nonprofit organization, has a track record for opening small, innovative, theme-based middle and secondary schools.

The inspiration for the Urban Assembly Unison School came from the work of New York University Professor Cynthia McCallister, who pioneered a practice called unison reading. Working closely with a successful Manhattan school, PS/MS 126, McAllister introduced this structured, yet hands-on method of teaching reading. "Her instructional model is the best one I have seen," said Jennifer Ostrow, Unison's founding principal. Ostrow left the school for personal reasons after the 2012-2013 school year but was replaced by Emily Marie Paige (formerly known as Emily Jarrell), a "learning cultures coach" in the unison reading instructional model. 

In unison reading, students of different levels read aloud in synch but stop when they have a "Huh?" or an "Ah-ha!" moment, said Ostrow. The slower readers do better when reading with a social group and the more proficient readers improve their skills when they stop to explain to others. In class, students alternate between group activities (such as unison reading), working independently on projects or one to one conferences with the teacher.

The school day at Unison ends at 6 pm. Extended day activities are provided by Citizen Schools, an organization which works with middle schools in low income neighborhoods. Students connect with adults from different professions, get academic support and take part in teamwork activities.

Enrollment in the first few years has been low, making it difficult to offer as many courses and activities as the school would like, according to Sharon Jacker, Unison's business manager.

Special education: Integrated co-teaching classes are offered.

Admissions: Priority goes to District 13 students who attend a fair or information session or otherwise express interest in the school. (Pamela Wheaton, interviews, July 2013)

About the students

Enrollment
143
Asian
10.5%
Black
72.7%
Hispanic
13.3%
White
2.8%
Other
0.7%
Free or reduced priced lunch
86%
Students with disabilities
29%
English language learners
10%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares a building with PS 56
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
49%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
90%
93% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
39%
20% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
80%
78% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
56%
50% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
80%
83% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
45%
43% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
2.9
6.0 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
67%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
93%
89% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
80%
83% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
43%
72% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
67%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
93%
87% 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?
6%
27% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
15%
35% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 2 dedicated spaces for Dance and Theater
This school has 2 licensed arts teacher in Dance (part-time) and Visual arts

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
81%
76% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
63%
61% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
80%
72% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
0%
26% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
85%
84% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women
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
1.74
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.83
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
1.8
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
1.85
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
83%
68% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
75%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
89%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
89%
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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