MS 136 Charles O. Dewey
Brooklyn NY 11232
Welcoming atmosphere in neighborhood school;lots of extra-curriculars & trips
Academic achievement remains low
Charles O. Dewey, MS 136 is a calm and orderly school which has a largely Latino population that comes from surrounding blocks in Sunset Park. It shares a large, well-kept century-old brick building with Sunset Park Prep.Dewey counts on many community organizations for support and it offers students opportunities to explore the world beyond their neighborhood, even as it is striving to boost academic achievement among its students, most of whom come in performing below grade level.
The number of non-English-speaking students has nearly doubled since 2006 with more than 40 percent of the students needing extra instruction in English. A bilingual parent coordinator reaches out to Spanish-speaking parents; all notices are sent home in two languages and translation is available at all meetings and parent conferences, according to the Quality Review.
MS 136 has had somewhat of a bumpy ride over the past decade. Marked for closure by the city in 2012 because of low test scores, it was given a reprieve when the Department of Education assigned an outside organization, CEI-PEA to helpimplement programs aimed at increasing student achievement.
Erick Sackler, principal since 2007, receives high marks from the school community of students, parents and teachers on an annual school survey. "I treat them [students] like I treat my kids at home," Sackler told Insideschools on a 2008 visit to the school. "You show them respect and love and they show it back."
District superintendent Anita Skop praised Dewey's inclusive "familial tone," in which all staff knows virtually all the children. She noted its high attendance, renewed focus on writing and improvements in teaching special education students in a review of the school.Dewey adopted a program called The Leader in Me, adding an instructional period each week devoted to lessons aimed at giving kids more self-confidence and better academic skills, according to the school's website.
However, academics still have a ways to go. Teaching is inconsistent from class to class with some advanced students not being sufficiently challenged, according to the superintendent's report. State test scores remain well below the city average.
On the plus side, 10-15 percent of 8th graders pass Regents math and science exams for high school credit.There are a wide array of enrichment programs during and after school, including sports teams, a math club, a dance troupe and a Student Council. There are annual camping trips and some children have even taken research trips to Costa Rica and South Dakota, according to the website.
The building's Beacon program runs daily from 3-9 pm and the local Center for Family Life operates an afterschool program. Other community organizations work closely with the school.
Special education: A fifth of the students have special needs. They are served in both team-teaching and self-contained classrooms.
Admissions: Open to District 15. The school reviews attendance, report cards and teacher recommendations. (Pamela Wheaton, December 2013, web reports).