Queens NY 11368
Zone for the 2017-2018 school year. Call school to confirm.
Bright new building and improving math scores
Crowding and enrollment problems could undermine sense of community
With a top-notch gymnasium, a cafeteria that opens onto a play space and stunning views across the borough, PS 330 offers a bright and welcoming space for its pupils, almost all of whom walk to school in the largely Latino neighborhood. Opened in 2010 to relieve overcrowding in nearby schools, PS 330 has quickly filled to capacity and had a waitlist for kindergarten in 2016.
The schools leaders and staff have worked hard to make PS 330 a vibrant part of the community and childrens lives. Indeed, the popularity of the schools Saturday program speaks to success in this area. More than 200 3rd-5th graders show up on Saturday mornings for an offering of clubs and academic support. Founding principal LaShawnna Harris said she wants the school to be a happy draw for the children and the community.
The school is busy and some classrooms are crowded, but the buildings open design helps keep it from feeling cramped or cluttered. There have been some sacrifices: A science classroom has been transformed into a kindergarten classroom, and the small, district-wide gifted program is being phased out to create room for zoned students.
In addition to the Saturday program, the school is trying to reach out to its parent community with monthly breakfasts and a plan to welcome parents into the classrooms on a more regular basis. The school also has a family engagement team that includes the principal, guidance counselor, parent coordinator and community associateallof whom speak Spanish, except the principal.
Most classrooms have a traditional structure, with teachers leading much of the work, and the classes are large. But every classroom has at least two adults. Additionally, the five specialized teachers for ELLs (English language learners) and three academic intervention teachers push into classrooms and work with small groups outside the classroom. It's not unusual to see small groups of focused instruction occupying office spaces, library tables and even hallways. This buzz of activity lends the school as a whole a dynamic atmosphere.
Our tour took place just a month before the state tests, and in several classrooms, students bent over papers on their desks, taking practice tests. Classes in the testing grades (3rd, 4th and 5th) dedicate one period a day to test preparation, starting in January.
Last year, the school showed significant gains in its test scores and was listed by Chalkbeat NY as one of the top ten schools in the city for improved math scores in 2015. And, according to Department of Education data, it outperforms its peer schools on the tests in English language arts and math, although it lags behind the district.
In a few classrooms, students appeared restless as they completed worksheets or watched teachers deliver information from a white board. Yet, in most classes students were engaged and appeared happy to be in the classroom. In a self-contained classroom, the teacher led her 4th- and 5th-graders in a dynamic discussion of race and prejudice based on the lives of Puerto Rican baseball great Roberto Clemente and African American tennis star Althea Gibson. These students were covering the same material as that being taught in the general education classes, and when the students turned to discuss the topics with a partner, they were able to work collaboratively.
There is free a free after-school program, Monday through Friday.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: Each grade has at least one class ICT (integrated co-teaching) class, which has two teachers and a mix a general education and special education students. There are also four self-contained classrooms for students who need more individualized support.
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. In 2016, there was a waitlist for kindergarten. (Elizabeth Daniel, March 2016)