P.S. 201 The Discovery School for Inquiry and Research
Queens NY 11367
Zone for the 2017-2018 school year. Call school to confirm.
Hands-on learning and lots of activities keep children engaged.
Below average attendance
PS 201, The Discovery School for Inquiry and Research, is a sweet school humming with activity. On a typical day you may find students learning tae kwon do, ballroom dancing or even some Mandarin. Its a place where parents feel welcome and supported, and students are encouraged to ask questions and explore ideas. The school, which has long served families from the nearby Pomonok Houses and surrounding community in Flushing, also accepts students from outside its zone.
The school received a three-year magnet grant in 2016 designed to boost enrollment and foster greater socio-economic diversity among its student body. The grant will expand the schools STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) offerings through the construction of a lab space equipped with additional resources such as LEGO Robotics and K'NEX. During their weekly STEM classes students already tackle hands-on work such as 2nd-graders designing solutions to soil erosion which they head outside to test and then revise; 3rd-graders design Rube Goldberg machines that can serve as mouse traps.
The school does a good job of engaging students with lots of activities. The longtime principal, Rebecca Lozada, has sought out grants and partnerships to support a variety of programs including swimming lessons at a local YMCA, general music and keyboard instruction, Tae Kwon Do, ballroom dancing, and Mandarin. Children learn to code, research on the Internet, and proper keyboarding technique in the technology lab. Through a partnership with nearby Queens College, professors work with teachers to weave in science instruction into classrooms, on top of students weekly lessons with the fulltime science teacher.
The vibe throughout the school is cheery and calm. Theres a lot of student art, writing and math on display. Children move around for various activities, rather than sit at desks for long stretches of time. We walked into one classroom where students were taking a brain breakjumping and wiggling to music before settling into the next lesson. One nice touch: fresh fruit is delivered daily to every class through a grant from NYC SchoolFood.
Subjects are not taught in isolation. Classes pay weekly visits to the schools modern library, constructed by the Robin Hood Foundation, for social studies lessons that teachers expand on in their classrooms. For instance, as part of the 4th grade study of Native American cultures, students research, read and write about the Lenape Tribe culture; in STEM class they design and construct miniature canoes; in the technology lab they create miniature replicas of totem poles with a 3D printer; in music they learn Native America songs and dances; in gym class, the play traditional Lenape games.
One downside: below average attendance. Some teachers reported in the annual NYC School Survey that classroom discipline is not consistently maintainedalthough the school seemed orderly on our visit.
Parents, however, give the school high marks on the NYC School Survey. During our visit we encountered several helping out, while others lingered after drop-off to chat with each other and school staff.
The school serves a low-income community, and many children live in singe-parent households. A mental health consultant funded by ThriveNYC connects families in need with outside services and works with teachers to help them tackle issues such as bullying and stress reduction in the classroom.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: In addition to SETSS there are ICT (Integrated Co-Teaching) and self-contained classes. The school is also home to program for visually impaired students (overseen by District 75, the citywide district for special education) equipped with computers and special typewriters that translate documents into Braille as well as assistive technology to help blind and low vision students take notes.
ADMISSIONS: Zoned, neighborhood school with space for students living outside the zone. (Laura Zingmond, November 2016)