P.S. 17 Henry David Thoreau

Grades Pre-K, K-5
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Location

28-37 29 Street
Queens NY 11102
Astoria (District 30)
Trains: N, W to 30 Ave-Grand Ave
Buses: M60-SBS, Q102, Q104, Q18, Q19, Q69

Contact

Phone
718-278-1220
Principal
Rebecca Heyward
Parent Coordinator
Constandina Pilios

Zone for the 2017-2018 school year. Call school to confirm.

What’s Special

Dual language and a well-liked principal

The Downside

Teachers spend lots of time improving behavior

Our Review

PS 17 is a well-maintained school in Queens that serves neighborhood children including many from the Astoria Houses public housing development. The school is enjoying newfound stability with strong leadership after a period of low teacher morale, student behavior problems and declining enrollment. "It's wonderful seeing a school go from zero to ten," said a longtime parent. One welcome addition is a Spanish-English dual language program that opened in 2013.

Principal Rebecca Heyward arrived in 2012 after working as a math teacher at nearby PS 122 Mamie Fay. She increased arts instruction, and improved attendance and test scores. During our visit parents approached her with smiles, hugs and homemade goodies. Several praised what they see as higher standards under her leadership. "I like how my child is using strong vocabulary," said 5th-grade parent Brenda Carrasco.

Students in dual language classes hear instruction in English one day and Spanish the next from the same teacher. Most children enter the program in kindergarten but a few spots open in 1st grade for children whose ability to learn in Spanish is considered high. We saw lively teaching in these classes, as children worked with objects to learn math concepts.

The school has an inviting pre-kindergarten program with experienced teachers in classrooms with dress-up corners, art supplies, blocks and cozy seating areas. By contrast, the kindergarten rooms verged on too static, with children writing at tables in rooms without blocks or play areas. Heyward said she wants to re-introduce blocks, which were stored in the basement during the previous administration.

PS 17 has adopted the PBIS (positive behavioral intervention and supports) system, in which teachers reinforce positive behaviors with tickets, prizes, bowling parties and other incentives. Improving instruction is part of this initiative, and although it will take several years until PBIS is fully realized at PS 17, test scores are beginning to inch up.

Enrollment has stabilized but has not grown fast enough to avoid the city siting another school in the building. In 2014 the staff cleared out classrooms on the fourth floor to make room for Q300, a citywide gifted and talented program. The congenial leaders of both schools have worked to ensure that the schools peacefully co-exist for the benefit of all the students. "The building flows," Heyward said.

Not surprisingly, family income disparities are now reflected within the building with the addition of the new school. The parents at Q300 raised $60,000 halfway through their first year with only three grades in place. PS 17 receives Title 1 money because it serves a high percentage of children from low-income families, but the funds have not been enough to replace the expensive SMART Board light bulbs. Parents at both schools said they hope to do some joint initiatives in the future.

Special education: The school offers ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes, in which two teachers, one trained in special education, work in classrooms that mix special needs and general education students. There are also "self-contained" classes that serve a maximum of 12 special needs students only.

Admissions: Neighborhood school. The dual language program had three times more applicants than space in 2014. These classes, said the principal, are close to the ideal 50-50 split of native-English and native-Spanish speakers. (Lydie Raschka, February 2015)

About the students

Enrollment
573
Pre-K seats
44
Asian
17.6%
Black
11.5%
Hispanic
51.3%
White
17.5%
Other
2.1%
Free or reduced priced lunch
100%
Students with disabilities
19%
English language learners
24%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with the 30th Avenue School
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
115%
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?
22%
21% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
62%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
96%
88% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
3.9
6.6 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
67%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
86%
90% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
67%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
74%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
95%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
72%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
72%
89% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
61%
65% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
82%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
86%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents say their child's teacher helped their child adjust to Pre-K?
100%
98% Citywide Average
How many parents say this Pre-K program helped them consider which elementary schools would meet their childrens' needs?
90%
92% Citywide Average
How many Pre-K parents say their child's teacher gave helpful ideas for how to support their child's learning?
100%
97% 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?
32%
43% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
25%
42% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 4 dedicated spaces for Music, Theater, Visual arts, and Media arts
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

This school offers Dual Language classes in Spanish.
How many English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
2%
9% Citywide Average
How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
36%
46% 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
1.81
2.0 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.04
2.4 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
2.04
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.26
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.86
2.8 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.12
2.2 Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
91%
86% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
94%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
95%
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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