M.S. 88 Peter Rouget

Grades 6-8
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Strong STEM instruction, lots of interesting programs, School of One math approach

The Downside

Large size may not appeal to everyone

Our Review

MS 88 is a large middle school with strong leadership, good instruction and a generous selection of activities and programs. Despite its size, its a welcoming and cheery place with dedicated teachers and staff. It offers many kinds of supports and class-settings to serve the wide-ranging needs of its diverse student body, including accelerated courses for strong students, classes for English language learners and plenty of extra help for children with disabilities.

Students are admitted to one of three programs or houses: School for Integrated Studies through the Arts (SISTA), the School for Medical & Health Careers (Medical), and School of Media Arts and Technology (SMART). Each house has its own floor of the building and selection of themed elective classes and activities. Students in SISTA may attend plays and choose from art-themed offerings like drama and visual arts. In the Medical house students have opportunities to conduct research with medical students, learn first aid, tour hospitals and volunteer in nursing homes.

SMART focuses on media and technology and is home to the School of One math program, which tailors instruction to each students skill level and learning style through a combination of computer-based and traditional, teacher-led lessons. Each day students are assigned to groups and complete work based on their skill sets and performance during the prior days lesson. I cant think of any other program that offers a 100 percent differentiation, said Ailene Altman-Mitchell, the schools longtime principal.

Throughout the school the vibe is calm, collaborative and friendly. Teachers meet daily in grade-level teams to plan lessons, coordinate projects and discuss their students progress. Even when theyre not leading a class or meeting with their team, many teachers open their rooms to colleagues and students seeking help, friendly conversation or a place to hangout. Many arrive early to offer extra help and stay late to run afterschool activities.

Teachers create many of their own lessons and dont rely heavily on worksheets or a scripted curriculum. We saw hands-on, creative projects in all subjects. For instance, art, social studies and math all intersected in a 6th-grade assignment asking students to calculate the area of their irregular shaped drawings of ancient Egyptian sarcophagi. Students in a 7th-grade Spanish class demonstrated their vocabulary and art skills by creating Wanted posters complete with detailed descriptions of their fugitives, written in Spanish.

Over the years the school has amassed an impressive roster of programs and partnerships with outside organizations that help support everything from arts, science and technology to social-emotional learning, teacher training and family engagement. Free, onsite medical and dental care for students is sponsored by The Lutheran Medical Center; and field trips to museums, zoos, science centers and botanical gardens are offered through a partnership with the Urban Advantage Program at the American Museum of Natural History.

The STEM offerings at MS 88 are unusually strong for a middle school. In addition to computer coding and robotics instruction, there is a design-thinking program where students brainstorm and design prototypes of useful products for kids, and a class in biomimicry (the study of natures designs to help solve complex human problems) led by doctoral candidates from the NYU Polytechnic Institute of Engineering.

Teachers train at the Earth Institute at Columbia University to develop an ecology-based science curriculum with interesting projects and lessons such as oyster bed farming and research in the schools onsite greenhouse. In 2013, MS 88 was one of five schools nationwide to win the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition for their submission: a plan developed by 7th-graders to decontaminate the Gowanus Canal.

The school offers Spanish and dual-language French instruction. High school-level courses in algebra, earth science and biology are offered to 8th-graders who excel in math and science.

After school activities include offerings such as LEGO robotics, vocal performance, school play, New York Road Runners, a rock band, visual arts, chess and sports.

Popular high schools for MS 88 graduates are High School of Telecommunications Arts and Technology, Midwood High School, Edward R. Murrow, Leon M. Goldstein and Sunset Park High School, all in the neighborhood. Some go on to specialized high schools.

English as a second language: English language learners are concentrated in SISTA so that they can take classes with extra language supports built into daily instruction. With the encouragement of math teacher Aaron Kaswell one ELL student expressed his math talents at school through KenKen puzzles and, before completing 8th grade, became the youngest person in the world to solve the hardest of KenKen puzzles, the Miyamoto Challenge.

Special education: The school has integrated co-teaching (ICT), SETSS and self-contained classes.

Admissions: District 15 residents and students. Applicants must be interviewed to be eligible for admission. (Laura Zingmond, May, 2014)

About the students

Enrollment
1308
Asian
18.1%
Black
9.9%
Hispanic
59.6%
White
11.4%
Other
0.9%
Free or reduced priced lunch
75%
Students with disabilities
27%
English language learners
11%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares a building with a District 75 program, K053
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
96%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
96%
93% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
12%
20% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
65%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
27%
28% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
83%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
41%
43% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
10.8
6.0 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
64%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
65%
88% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
59%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
80%
72% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
66%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
66%
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?
34%
30% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 3 dedicated spaces for Music, Visual arts, and an Auditorium
This school has 4 licensed arts teachers in Theater (part-time), Visual arts (part-time), and Music

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
79%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
60%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
71%
72% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Algebra I, Living Environment
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
22%
26% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
88%
84% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Sunset Park HS, HS of Telecommunication Arts and Technology, and New Utrecht HS
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?
18%
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
1.78
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.3
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.83
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.32
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.56
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.53
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
56%
67% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
81%
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?
83%
90% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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