P.S. 309 The George E. Wibecan Preparatory Academy

Grades Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
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Location

794 Monroe Street
Brooklyn NY 11221
Bedford-Stuyvesant (District 16)
Trains: J, Z to Gates Ave
Buses: B26, B38, B46, B47, B52, B7, Q24

Contact

Phone
718-574-2381
Principal
Tanya Bryant
Parent Coordinator
Farah Lespes

Zone for the 2017-2018 school year. Call school to confirm.

What’s Special

Warm, welcoming school; strong performing arts and small class size

The Downside

Declining enrollment, low test scores

Our Review

With active parents, a friendly tone and a forward-looking administration, PS 309 is a school to watch. The Bedford-Stuyvesant Parents Committee, a group of parents who are looking to re-invigorate local neighborhood schools, has picked PS 309 as a promising place to send their children and work together to improve.

Some staff members send their own children here, and some graduates of the school have come back to teach. The school has a nice science room, performing art classes for all grades, a free onsite health clinic, and a free after-school program that also operates during school breaks.

Like a lot of schools in District 16, PS 309 has seen its enrollment decline in recent years, the result of competition from charter schools (including one in the same building) and rapidly rising rents that have forced longtime residents out. The enrollment shrank from 500 in 2006 to fewer than 300 in 2016. Its hard for teachers to get traction when children are constantly coming and going: During the 2014-15 school year, 100 students left and 50 arrived, administrators told us. Test scores are low, and rates of chronic absenteeism are higher than the citywide average.

At the same time, the school has some things going for it. Principal Nicole Perry and Assistant Principal Katrina Liebst work well together as a team and are welcoming to parents. On our visit, children looked happy and engaged in most of the classes. Most classes have fewer than 20 children.

Large pre-kindergarten classrooms have their own bathrooms and open out to a small, inviting play yard for pre-k and kindergarten only. Pre-kindergarten has lots of space for dress-up and make-believe. We saw children play at a water table and at a sand table.

Fifth-graders used laptop computers to write research papers and then have them edited by their classmates. In the first drafts we witnessed, the quality of writing varied greatly: Some had lots of punctuation and spelling errors; others were more complete reports with photos.

All ages get performing arts lessons; learning songs or plays to perform in monthly Town Halls that are led by the Student Council. A year-end performance is more elaborate: in 2016 a take-off on the "Wizard of Oz," with songs from "Grease."

The science lab is inviting and inhabited by critters such as a snake and a gecko. The majority of children stay for a free after-school program run by the Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation.

Administrators say they would like to offer more hands-on projects but feel constrained by the emphasis on children meeting the new Common Core Standards and testing well. The school uses the scripted ReadyGen reading program, recommended by the city in 2013.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There is an ICT class on most grades, including pre-kindergarten. There are also two self-contained classrooms for special needs students only.

ADMISSIONS:This is a neighborhood school, but as PS 309 is under-enrolled, there is usually room for all comers. (Pamela Wheaton & Sharon Reid, January 2016)

About the students

Enrollment
204
Pre-K seats
24
Asian
3.9%
Black
63.2%
Hispanic
25.0%
White
4.4%
Other
3.4%
Free or reduced priced lunch
79%
Students with disabilities
31%
English language learners
10%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with Excellence Girls Uncommon Charter Elementary School
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
51%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
93%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
30%
21% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
95%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
92%
88% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
3.9
6.6 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
100%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
91%
90% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
100%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
89%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
86%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
100%
89% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
77%
65% 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?
90%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents say their child's teacher helped their child adjust to Pre-K?
82%
98% Citywide Average
How many parents say this Pre-K program helped them consider which elementary schools would meet their childrens' needs?
81%
92% Citywide Average
How many Pre-K parents say their child's teacher gave helpful ideas for how to support their child's learning?
72%
97% 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%
43% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
28%
42% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 1 dedicated space for 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
1.81
2.0 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.12
2.4 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.76
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
1.98
2.2 Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
85%
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?
85%
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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