P.S. 110 Florence Nightingale
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Diverse student body; lots of enrichment and after-school activities
PS 110 is a school offering solid instruction, a nice array of enrichment activities and good parent involvement. It draws a diverse group of students from across District 1 and is home to a district-wide gifted and talented (G&T) program. With only two classes on most grades, the school is small and has room to increase enrollment.
The tone throughout the school is calm and cheery. Theres a lot of student art, writing and math on display in classrooms and hallways. Teachers speak to children in conversational tones and find ways to keep students engaged and relaxed. In a couple of classes we visited soft music played as students worked on assignments; in few others we found children sprawled out on the rug or sitting on a couch quietly reading or writing.
For grades k-2, teachers developed their own English and social studies curriculum, which balances both fundamental skills, such as phonics, with more complex work. In the upper grades, teachers use Expeditionary Learning, where students study topics across subjects. For instance, when students study Native American culture in social studies, they tackle books about the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (a league of Native American nations) during reading and writing instruction. Writing is emphasized in all grades and students are taught to organize their thoughts and write multiple drafts to achieve a final polished piece.
On most grades there is one G&T and one ICT (integrated co-teaching) class, which has two teachers and serves a mix of general education and special needs students. Parents sometimes worry children might feel segregated by ability and there are some distinctions between the classes though all follow the same curriculum at roughly the same pace and have access to similar resources.
In G&T classes we visited, we saw a lot of discussions where where students flesh out what they learned with their classmates and challenge each others assertions, citing facts and references with ease. In other classes we saw teachers striking more of balance between tasks that reinforce fundamental skills with more in-depth projects and discussions. In all classes we visited group work was a staple of instruction and children seemed happy and engaged.
PS 110 is housed within a five-story building constructed in 1903, the same year the nearby Williamsburg Bridge was completed. The building has no gym, so physical education classes take place in an open area on the ground floor or in a multipurpose room that also serves as an auditorium. In addition to a small, nicely maintained yard, theres a public park adjacent to school that classes, including gym may use for outdoor activities.
Arts education is supplemented through partnerships with Third Street Settlement, the National Dance Institute, and Paul Taylor Dance Studio. Additional partnerships support programs in theater, creative writing, chess, cooking and tutoring on Saturday.
A free after-school program is offered onsite by Henry Street Settlement. There are also several fee-based programs in the neighborhood that pick up PS 110 students at the end of the school day and escort them to off-site activities. There is an option for late pick-up at 5:30 pm for pre-k student
SPECIAL EDUCATION: In addition to SETSS, there are ICT and self-contained classes for special needs students only.
ADMISSIONS: Open to students in District 1. Admission to the G&T program is determined through the citywide G&T assessment process. (Laura Zingmond, October 2016)