I.S. 211 John Wilson

Grades 6-8

What’s Special

Traditionally-structured school that offers lots of extra help

The Downside

Some students complain of disrespect among students

Our Review

There are many bright spots at IS 211. Unusual student artwork decorates the lobby, kids update Shakespeare under the guidance of theater professionals, and the school\'s award-winning math team appeared on a public-access cable TV show produced in the school\'s own television studio. But discipline problems and class cutting are routine, and the school garnered headlines in a local newspaper, Brooklyn Skyline, for an alleged student assault on a teacher and the firing of a parent coordinator who had criticized the school leadership and held off-site meetings with parents. Though stung by the negative publicity, which she characterized as unfair, Principal Iris Crystal invited us to tour the school. We came on a day when several students were sent home for behavior problems, but others listened attentively to teachers or filed into the lunchroom without much commotion. As the 2003-04 school year drew to a close, IS 211 was planning to restructure into three smaller academies beginning in fall 2004 to give students more personal attention.

Housed in a dingy brick building, IS 211 has litter-strewn hallways with worn linoleum floors and old classroom furniture. But there\'s a multimillion dollar digital television studio for the school\'s telecommunications program, less robust than a decade ago, when IS 211 was a magnet school, but still used by some students who produce public-service spots and programs for local networks. Every 6th grader gets a taste of the program in an introductory course.

There is one honors class in each grade for students who qualify for the Region 6 gifted program, called Astral; other classes combine students of various abilities. Teachers have decorated and made cheerful an \"academic intervention room,\" where students struggling with reading get extra help. In one of the school\'s 14 \"self-contained\" special education classes, students followed along as a teacher read the Newbery-medal winning Maniac Magee. Elsewhere two teachers trained to work as a team seamlessly instructed an \"inclusion\" class blending general education and special education students. Not all went smoothly. In a crowded science class taught by an apparently knowledgeable teacher, many heads were on desks, and some students ignored the lesson to chat.

During the two hours we visited, staff members phoned the parents of two students asking that they remove their children for infractions of school rules. A third girl, also ejected, sobbed as she awaited her parents. And a staff member typed an incident report regarding a boy who\'d broken a light fixture, causing fragments to rain down and injure someone\'s eye.

We saw some students walking the halls unsupervised. Interviewed outside the building, two staff members described the school as \"out of control.\" But a guidance counselor noted that IS 211 regularly sends graduates to selective city high schools, and a telecommunications teacher said several former students have careers in television.

Crystal attributed many of the problems to lack of parental involvement and poverty. Many children at the school are in foster care, so \"we\'ll say, we\'ll call your home,\' and it could be their third home in a year,\" she added. She said the former parent coordinator, whom she has replaced, had acted as a \"divisive force.\" (According to the Brooklyn Skyline, the coordinator said his successful efforts to organize parents angered the administration.) As we toured, flyers invited parents to join a new school leadership team.

In addition to breaking the large school into academies, Crystal said that she hoped to revive a lapsed school uniform policy and that she was seeking funds to reduce class size and institute the America\'s Choice program, which provides teacher training and instructional methods.

Admissions: Applicants for the school\'s gifted program, Astral, must apply through Region 6. (Marcia Biederman, May 2004)

About the students

Enrollment
539
Asian
0.9%
Black
86.1%
Hispanic
10.2%
White
1.9%
Other
0.9%
Free or reduced priced lunch
81%
Students with disabilities
24%
English language learners
4%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares a building with Leadership Prep Canarsie Charter Uncommon Elementary School.
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
93%
93% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
23%
20% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
79%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
36%
28% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
71%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
24%
43% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
4.7
6.0 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
87%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
97%
88% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
87%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
86%
72% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
87%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
92%
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?
21%
27% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
31%
30% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 6 dedicated spaces for Dance, Music, Theater, Visual arts, an Auditorium, and a Film Studio
This school has 0 licensed arts teachers in Dance, Music, Theater or Visual arts

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
64%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
51%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
63%
72% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Living Environment
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
21%
26% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
92%
84% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Clara Barton HS, HS for Innovation in Advertising and Media, and Edward R. Murrow 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%
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
1.79
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
1.96
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.9
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.16
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.13
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.27
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
74%
67% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
61%
88% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
67%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
72%
90% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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