PS/MS 394 Mary McLeod Bethune Academy

Grades Pre-K, K-8

What’s Special

Warm environment where kids feel safe

The Downside

Space tight in shared building

Our Review

SEPTEMBER 2010 UPDATE: The building is shared with the Explore Empower Charter School.

2003 REVIEW: Clad in a white shirt with a tie around her neck, Principal Claudette Murray welcomes students in an outfit similar to the tidy uniforms the kids wear at the Mary Mcleod Bethune Academy, PS/MS 394. Her demeanor is warm and her voice is mellow, two reasons why she gets a lot of greetings from kids in the cream colored hallways throughout the day. Younger children approach and, without warning, wrap their arms around her middle as if hugging a teddy bear, while older students wave hello.

MS 394 began as a middle school, grades 6-8, but it is also a thriving elementary school now. Murray added pre-kindergarten classes after the middle school was established, because such programs were scarce in the neighborhood. Since then, she continues to add on a grade every year transforming the school into a seamless pre-K 8th grade program. There have been obstacles in the past with building renovations and lack of classroom space that halted this expansion and resulted in having to transfer some of the children to another elementary school in order to be promoted to the next grade. Murray is confident though that the current crop of 3rd graders will enter a new, on-site 4th grade class and then graduate to a new 5th grade the following year.

In the pre-kindergarten and elementary school classes we saw, students were attentive and eager. Math teachers used \"manipulatives,\" objects such as fake coins, to teach arithmetic, and this method seemed to get the kids excited. Wooden lofts with cushions stood out in pre-k and kindergarten classrooms. Rules for writing were taped to every desk for easy reference; they also were on signs decorating many classrooms. First graders displayed a strong grasp of basics as they wrote about their experiences at Christmas.

In the middle school, students seemed as engaged as their young counterparts. Eighth graders discussed articles from the Tuesday science section of The New York Times or prepared to take the biology Regents exam, and 6th graders worked in groups studying famous authors and their writing styles. Seventh graders take a twice-weekly \"career\" class where they learn about professions, sometimes through guests such as the visiting bankers who discussed the business world. Middle school students may volunteer to help younger children, offering a helping hand during lunch periods or in classrooms.

Like all teenagers, however, the middle schoolers have moments when they stray. Some of the older kids allow themselves a fairly loose interpretation of the dress code, for example, and during our visit noise exploded in the 8th grade corridor after lunch. Some kids seemed out of control, and nearby lower-grade youngsters who filed in and out of rooms in orderly fashion stared at the commotion. The normally soft voice of the principal, who attributed the unruliness to the absence of a dean that day, changed into a bellow that scattered the crowd, along with help from teachers there.

Admissions: The elementary school is unzoned and open to all District 17; the middle school is selective. For the gifted and talented academy, students must score a level 3 or 4 on state tests and also take the OLSAT exam. See the middle school directory online (pdf) for more information. (This school is featured in New York City\'s Best Public Middle Schools.(Catherine Man, December 2003; updated admissons 2013)

About the students

Enrollment
552
Pre-K seats
60
Asian
8.0%
Black
75.2%
Hispanic
15.9%
White
0.7%
Other
0.2%
Free or reduced priced lunch
93%
Students with disabilities
16%
English language learners
6%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares a building with Explore Empower Charter School
Uniforms required?
Yes
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
93%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
92%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
25%
19% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
51%
75% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
30%
25% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
75%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
89%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
26%
46% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
3.0
6.4 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
40%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
86%
86% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
48%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
93%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
71%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
83%
85% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
19%
59% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
70%
79% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
81%
84% 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?
14%
39% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
23%
40% 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 Visual arts (part-time), Music, and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
54%
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
52%
55% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
40%
70% 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?
34%
28% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
90%
87% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education HS and John Dewey HS
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
0%
18% 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
1.66
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
1.89
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.8
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
1.91
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
1.72
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
1.9
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
60%
69% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
54%
84% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
69%
89% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
77%
87% Citywide Average
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