P.S. 235 Lenox School

Grades Pre-K, K-8
Staff Pick

What’s Special

High performing school attracts children from across Brooklyn

The Downside

One principal oversees three far-flung locations

Our Review

PS 235 is a gigantic neighborhood school with a long history of high academic standards and a well-regarded dance program. Children from across Brooklyn apply to SOAR, as the schools enrichment program for academically gifted students is known, and to its selective middle school, Lenox Academy.

SOAR, which stands for Stimulating Outstanding Achievement through Reading, is no longer officially a gifted program since the Department of Education centralized admission to gifted and talented programs. However, out-of-zone children may take a test at the school in January or February to be admitted to the SOAR program, a school official said. More than half of the classes at PS 235 are designated as SOAR classes, according to the school website. PS 235 consistently posts high test scores.

The sprawling school occupies three buildings, each several miles from the others. The main building houses pre-kindergarten classes and grades 3-5. Some children in grades K-2 attend classes in the main building and some travel by bus to the Early Childhood Center at 5811 Ditmas Ave. at 58th Street (718 629-6875). The Lenox Academy, serves about 300 students in grades 6-8 at 100-01 Flatlands Avenue (718-927-5228), a building it shares with () Olympus Academy, a small alternative high school. One principal, Laurence Lord, oversees all three buildings, as well as an annex called a minischool and portable classrooms next to the main building.

The middle school offers an accelerated program and all students are expected to take a math and Living Environment Regents exam, as well as the Spanish proficiency test, at the end of 8th grade. Over 90 percent of 8th graders leave the school with six high school credits. English and social studies classes are combined, with students getting a total of 12 periods a week. Sixth and 7th graders also take art, while 8th graders concentrate on the core academic subjects. Students are expected to push themselves. "We never praise students for being smart," assistant principal Joseph Giamportone says, "instead we tell them, 'You must have worked really hard.'"

Middle school students we spoke with said teachers make an effort to help students when the work became difficult. Several told us they liked Lenox Academy's small size and friendliness. "It's like a big sisterhood, a big brotherhood here," one said.

The school has stable leadership. Lord, formerly assistant principal, replaced Lisa Solitario in 2012. Solitario had been principal since the 2007 death of long-time principal Janice Knight, for whom the school is named. Teachers and parents agree the school has high expectations, according to the Learning Environment Survey. Teachers agree the school is orderly, and middle school students responding to the survey reported few problems with gangs or fighting, although more than a third said they did not feel safe outside the school building.

Dancers and artists from National Dance Institute (NDI), a program founded by Jacques d'Amboise, offers dance instruction to all 4th graders at the school. [See photo on this page] Some go on to dance in NDIs citywide childrens dance troupe.

Special education: Only a small percentage of students receive special education services, although the school does have self-contained classes.

Admissions: Zoned neighborhood school. Out-of-district children may take an exam for the SOAR program in January and February. Students interested in the middle school must apply by February. Those with sufficiently high test scores and good 4th grade records are invited to take a test in March. Admission then is offered to students on the basis of the test scores alone. Call the school for the date of the middle school open house.(Clara Hemphill, interviews, February 2013; Gail Robinson, middle school open house, November 2013)

About the students

Enrollment
1262
Pre-K seats
34
Asian
1.2%
Black
93.6%
Hispanic
1.7%
White
1.7%
Other
1.8%
Free or reduced priced lunch
71%
Students with disabilities
8%
English language learners
2%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
Yes
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
75%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
96%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
11%
19% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
92%
75% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
17%
25% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
91%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
86%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
58%
46% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
3.6
6.4 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
92%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
92%
86% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
94%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
90%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
97%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
92%
85% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
42%
59% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
67%
79% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
76%
84% Citywide Average
How many parents say their child's teacher helped their child adjust to Pre-K?
100%
97% Citywide Average
How many parents say this Pre-K program helped them consider which elementary schools would meet their childrens' needs?
100%
88% Citywide Average
How many Pre-K parents say their child's teacher gave helpful ideas for how to support their child's learning?
100%
95% 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?
57%
39% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
62%
40% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 5 dedicated spaces for Dance, Music and Visual arts
This school has 2 licensed arts teachers in Music

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
68%
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
65%
55% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
64%
70% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
English, Spanish, Algebra I, Living Environment
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
95%
28% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
95%
87% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Brooklyn College Academy, Brooklyn Technical HS, and Midwood HS
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
14%
7% Citywide Average
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
1.87
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.17
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.86
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
1.94
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.01
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.03
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
62%
69% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
65%
84% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
85%
89% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
85%
87% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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