P.S. 215 Morris H. Weiss

Grades Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Strong music and science programs

The Downside

Large class size in upper grades

Our Review

PS 215 is a warm and inviting school with strong programs in science and music. Both children and teachers seem happy to be here, and there is low staff turnover.

The schools century-old building is surrounded by suburban-looking, single family homes with manicured lawns in Gravesend. Inside, the school reflects all the diversity of New York City--a melting pot with children of different backgrounds learning together.

Principal Antonella Bove says its important for teachers not to feel isolated, and so she makes sure they have plenty of time to plan lessons together. The joint planning pays off: Children get exposed to the same kinds of lessons whether they are in gifted classes (which draw children from across the district), general education classes, or team-taught classes that mix general education and special education pupils. There is a logical progression from one grade to the next, particularly in sciencean area that many elementary schools all but ignore.

Some schools look at_science as secondary but not here, says Bove. It really is a highlight of our curriculum.

During our visit, 1st graders were studying animal diversity, 2nd graders volcanoes, 3rd graders taking an in-depth look at matter and 4th graders discovering how to measure types of matter. For 5th grade, a study of rocks had students molding their own sedimentary rocks (pressing together bits of sand or glitter and glue) in ice cube trays and then, with the help of architectural blue prints, using their homemade rocks and other household items to craft miniature stone monuments. They also translated the architectural blueprints to game design, creating virtual rooms with laptops for 3-d video games. Rocks even played central roles in fiction stories the kids wrote, some as long as 10 pages.

Another highlight is the schools music program. The school has two full-time music teachers and, beginning in kindergarten, children learn to play instruments and read music. They may join the school orchestra, chorus or rock band in the higher grades.

Students said they have about 30 minutes to an hour of homework each night. While in-class work is very hands-on, often with material created by the teachers, math and science homework relies more textbooks, especially in the older grades.

PS 215 shares space with a District 75 special education program. The building is old but hallways and rooms are tidy and brightly painted. One downside is large class size, about 30 in the upper grades.

Middle school: Most kids go to IS 228 David A. Boody, which Bove called PS 215s sister school. Some go on to Mark Twain and Bay Academy.

Special education: PS 215 offers a range of services for special needs children, including co-taught classes in each grade that mix general and special education students. The school also has self-contained special education classes and English as a Second Language services. The school is barrier-free and fully accessible by wheelchair. PS 215 has a social worker and school psychologist to deal with social and emotional needs of the students.

Admissions: Neighborhood school; district-wide gifted and talented program for District 21. (Anna Schneider, October 2013)

About the students

Enrollment
894
Pre-K seats
54
Asian
22.8%
Black
2.6%
Hispanic
27.0%
White
46.5%
Other
1.1%
Free or reduced priced lunch
72%
Students with disabilities
13%
English language learners
18%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
148%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
94%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
17%
21% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
94%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
100%
85% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
8.0
6.6 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
87%
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
99%
87% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
83%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
74%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
96%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
98%
87% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
78%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
80%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
91%
87% 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?
97%
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?
65%
40% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
59%
39% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 0 dedicated spaces for the arts.
This school has 3 licensed arts teachers in Music and Theater
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?
50%
22% 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
1.92
2.0 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.42
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.72
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
1.99
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.54
2.2 Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
93%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
91%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
91%
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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