P.S. 226 Alfred De B.Mason

Grades Pre-K, K-8
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Lots of individual student attention in small groups

The Downside

No art teacher in the early grades

Our Review

PS/IS 226 is a massive neighborhood school, serving students from pre-kindergarten through the middle school grades. It sits squarely on an entire block along a leafy residential street in Bensonhurst. Children of Italian, Asian and Hispanic heritage, including new immigrants and many children with special needs, find common ground as they salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning.

While the school's essential character has remained the same over the years, teachers have made smart changes to keep up with demanding new Common Core standards, and enrollment continues to rise. The school has a large population of new immigrants learning English and teachers now instruct some hard-to-serve autistic children. Principal Sherry Tannenbaum makes sure teachers and kids get the support they need by promoting small group instruction, even though classes are large, and sending teachers to workshops to learn new skills.

A native of Brooklyn, Tannenbaum says that, "I love this building because you have 4-year-olds to 14-year-olds." She was the assistant principal for the middle school grades before becoming the principal in 2008 and has worked as a special education teacher. This upbeat leader is regarded as a good manager on school surveys, and during a tour of the building she raved about her teaching staff.

The school has four half-day pre-kindergarten classrooms that serve more than 70 students. These classrooms appeared more skill-oriented than play-oriented and the principal said pre-k students are well-prepared for the next grade because of the high academic bar in the program. We saw pre-k classrooms packed with books, papers, small counters and shapes for learning numbers, art materials, and writing activities, plus Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations. One downside at the school is that there is no art teacher in pre-k through 5th grade.

Children are screened prior to kindergarten and the top 25 are placed in an advanced "excel" class, which then continues through the grades.All children in the lower grades learn the same material but in slightly different ways. On the day of our visit every 2nd-grade class was studyingCharlotte's Web, a 4th-grade book.ESL students practiced reading aloud from the book using an expressive voice; excel kids used the dictionary to find words to describe a character; four new English speakers met in the hallway to work with a teacher on a chart comparing Charlotte's Web with an easy-to-read version ofLittle Red Hen.

Advanced 4th-graders participate in a reading program called LightSafe, described by Tannenbaum as a "Kindle on steroids." As they read along on iPads, children predict what concealed words mean by picking from four word choices. The teacher tracks their progress on her own iPad.

After 5th grade the school loses some students to Mark Twain School for the Gifted and Talented. For those who stay, there are plenty of options. High-achieving students may take high school-level science, math and Spanish classes; out of approximately 90 students, about 30 are in these advanced classes. There is also an advanced social studies course.

Middle school students may learn a musical instrument, play in a band and participate in soccer, volleyball or basketball. Students in grades 5 through 8 may perform in an annual musical.

After 8th grade, about 10 students are accepted to the city's specialized high schools while others attend a variety of high schools in the district including Edward Murrow and Expeditionary Learning.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS: English language learners are mixed in classrooms with native English speakers. ESL (English as a second language) teachers work outside the classroom with small groups until those children can keep up with the English spoken in their regular classrooms. "Kids get so much [English-language instruction] in those younger grades that by 4th grade they don't need ESL services anymore," Tannenbaum said.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has a wide-range of classroom settings and services for children with special needs on all grades. On our visit, children using wheelchairs or canes threaded their way peacefully through busy hallways. In addition to general education classrooms, some kids learn in team-taught classes that mix children with special needs and their general education peers; others work in a small class only for children with more serious special needs. Most classes are led by two or more adults, which may include teaching assistants or student teachers.

ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. (Lydie Raschka, November 2014)

About the students

Enrollment
1022
Pre-K seats
53
Asian
30.2%
Black
2.3%
Hispanic
29.0%
White
37.9%
Other
0.7%
Free or reduced priced lunch
84%
Students with disabilities
16%
English language learners
23%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
98%
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?
97%
75% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
11%
25% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
92%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
98%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
72%
46% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
8.0
6.4 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
100%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
100%
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?
80%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
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?
96%
85% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
49%
59% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
77%
79% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
87%
84% Citywide Average
How many parents say their child's teacher helped their child adjust to Pre-K?
95%
97% Citywide Average
How many parents say this Pre-K program helped them consider which elementary schools would meet their childrens' needs?
79%
88% Citywide Average
How many Pre-K parents say their child's teacher gave helpful ideas for how to support their child's learning?
94%
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?
49%
39% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
43%
40% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 6 dedicated spaces for Music, Visual arts, an Auditorium, and a Film Studio
This school has 3 licensed arts teachers in Music and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
87%
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
70%
55% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
87%
70% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Spanish, Algebra I, Living Environment
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
100%
28% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
91%
87% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
James Madison HS, Midwood HS, 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 English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
5%
7% Citywide Average
How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
26%
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
2.11
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.6
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.89
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.39
2.2 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
92%
69% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
91%
84% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
91%
89% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
91%
87% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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