The Gordon Parks School
Queens NY 11422
A districtwide k-8 school in a beautiful facility that values the arts
Math scores have room for improvement
The Gordon Parks School is a districtwide k-8 school that values art, dance, music and theaterand has the space to make them happen in a new, modern building. Children wear uniforms and there has been an emphasis on character building since the school's founding.
Visitors are met by a startling piece of arta cascade of spheres resembling bowling ballsand a dramatic vertical building that takes up a corner of busy, commercial Merrick Boulevard just off the Belt Parkway.
PS/IS 270 opened as an elementary school in 2003. Following some parent lobbying, the school was quickly transformed into one serving kids from kindergarten through 8th grade. A downside is that the building lacks the lockers that middle school kids crave. In addition, classrooms were built to fit children, not large adolescents.Whatever its shortcomings, the building is beautiful, with a common area on each floor featuring attractive benches where kids can gather and work. Kindergarten classrooms have lofts with tables where kids may work together.
Each year the art department collaborates on a special gala at the school to showcase student work. Around 100 students in grades 1-8 contribute visual artwork and another 80 show off their musical, dramatic and dance skills, according to a newsletter published by the United Federation of Teachers. Just like in a real gallery, middle school students work as docents and serve refreshments to over 300 parents, students and community members who attend the event.
Principal Chayvonne Harper replaced founding principal Eleanor Andrews in 2012. Harper was formerly principal of PS 127 in Queens. She also taught children and mentored teachers at PS 28 in northern Manhattan and has a master's degree in elementary education from Long Island University and an undergraduate degree in political science from Johnson C. Smith University. It is too early to say how her leadership will impact the school long-term but school surveys indicate she has struggled to follow such a longtime and well-respected principal. Teachers grumble that she is not a good manager, and students say there are issues with respect among students.
Math scores could be better, but data from the Department of Education shows that children in the self-contained special education classrooms do better academically than the citywide average for children in self-contained rooms. Students may receive extra help after school or in small groups. A girls' group called "Soiree" provides girls with social support.The school sponsors an enrichment program including drama, visual arts, dance, music and sports for which kids may audition or try out. There are two outdoor play yards.
Special education: Self-contained classes are combined as follows: grades 2/3, 4/5 and 6/7. One kindergarten is self-contained as well. There are also team-taught classes that mix children with special needs with their general education peers. A District 75 program for severely disabled children has its own wing in the building.
Admissions:Open to District 29 students only.(Lydie Raschka, web reports and school data, August 2014)