PS/IS 89 Cypress Hills

Grades Pre-K, K-8
Noteworthy
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What’s Special

Unzoned dual language program

The Downside

Low test scores

Our Review

PS/IS 89 has the only school-wide dual language program in District 19 and it accepts students from all five boroughs beginning in pre-kindergarten. Almost all students stay through the 8th grade. The school moved into a brand new building in 2010, allowing for some much-needed space but not enough to expand the popular pre-kindergarten program, which has a long waitlist. The building includes a greenhouse where students learn about hydroponics, aquaponics and composting with worms.

Students are instructed for five days in one language, switching to the other for the next five days. Textbooks come in both English and Spanish, as do the many fun-to-read books in classrooms and in the well-stocked library. Most teachers have more than ten years' experience and almost all speak Spanish.

The tone of the school is supportive, respectful and caring, and we were impressed that both children and staffers laughed a lot, while staying focused on their work. Class sizes are small, between 18 and 20, ensuring individual attention.

The students at PS 89 boast a terrific attendance record, perhaps because of the school's unusually high level of parent involvement. A group of activist parents founded the school in 1997 in collaboration with Cypress Hills Local Development Corp, a community housing program, and with the help of the Manhattan education group, New Visions for Public Schools, which is led by a parent and an educator.

Parents accompany children on field trips to the Bronx Zoo, the New York Hall of Science and join them for family arts nights and other events. "It's really important for our parents to experience what the students experience firsthand," said longtime principal Irene Leon, a former teacher at the school and a lead designer of its dual language program.

When parents and other groups founded the school, they hoped it would be an alternative to the other low-performing district schools. Unfortunately, so far the school's reading and math scores have been disappointing. One contributing factor to the low scores may be the school's primarily English Language Learner population.

The principal said it takes 6-10 years to master another language and that the Common Core tests don't reflect their understanding and thinking as a whole. To add to the challenge, the middle school absorbs some new immigrants who have had interrupted education, she said.

She prefers to mark progress on the New York State Language Aptitude Test (NYSLAT), and has been pleased to see that many students jump a level as they move from 7th to 8th grade.

The school uses Expeditionary Learning, which immerses children in learning new words, and an ESL (English as a second language) teacher is paired with a humanities teacher to address special language needs. Students learn through class discussions and activities, not lectures. We saw engaging teachers act things out and use expressive voices to help children understand. Kindergartners vocalized words as they formed letters: "I am in the park," said a boy, quietly, as he put down letters that sounded right.

In a middle school class, teachers expertly moved their students from a short whole class lesson into a small group mix-it-up activity on Vietnam, where they had to sequence a series of statements about the war and draw inferences from historic photos.

The few children whose first language is English seem to do fine here; we saw strong Spanish writing samples by a 3rd-grader who spoke only English when she entered in kindergarten. Unfortunately, rising rents have resulted in some families moving further out to areas like Howard Beach.

One downside: The tiny outdoor play yard is reserved for the youngest children. The older ones must play in the gymnasium.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: For students with special needs, the school provides both self-contained classes and co-taught classes, in which one of two teachers is certified in special education.

ADMISSIONS: Unzoned with preference for families from district 19. Students living outside the neighborhood must provide their own transportation. About 15 spots open in 6th grade because of larger class size in middle school and roughly three spots open in other grades each year. (Lydie Raschka, October 2015)

About the students

Enrollment
462
Pre-K seats
18
Asian
0.9%
Black
3.5%
Hispanic
94.4%
White
0.0%
Other
1.3%
Free or reduced priced lunch
95%
Students with disabilities
22%
English language learners
42%

About the school

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

Attendance

Average daily attendance
95%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
13%
19% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
86%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
36%
50% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
89%
84% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
52%
88% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
62%
45% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
11.9
6.4 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
86%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
84%
87% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
74%
81% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
64%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
93%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
93%
86% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
78%
60% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
88%
78% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
93%
82% 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%
91% Citywide Average
How many Pre-K parents say their child's teacher gave helpful ideas for how to support their child's learning?
100%
96% 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?
13%
39% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
19%
42% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 4 dedicated spaces for Music and Visual arts
This school has 2 licensed arts teacher in Music and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
76%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
57%
59% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
68%
68% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
0%
28% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
93%
86% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Academy of Innovative Technology, Hillcrest HS, and The Urban Assembly School for Collaborative Healthcare
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

This school offers Dual Language classes in Spanish.
How many English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
4%
6% Citywide Average
How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
23%
42% 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
1.72
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
1.95
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.77
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
1.88
2.2 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
68%
69% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
96%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
97%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
97%
88% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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Location

265 Warwick Street
Brooklyn NY 11207
Cypress Hills (District 19)
Trains: J to Cleveland St; C, Z to Van Siclen Ave
Buses: B14, Q24, Q56

Contact

Phone
718-964-1180
Principal
Irene Leon
Parent Coordinator
Maria Jaya

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