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P.S. 11 William T. Harris

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
320 West 21 Street
Manhattan NY 10011
Phone: 212-929-1743

Our Insights

What’s Special

Successfully serves a wide-ranging population

The Downside

Very small gym, building getting crowded

PS 11 knits together a wide-ranging population that includes children who live in the Fulton Houses public housing development and those growing up in Chelsea's lofts, condos and brownstones. The G&T (gifted and talented) program draws students from Battery Park City to the Upper East Side. Parents raise money to pay for specialists on every grade who work with struggling students and high-achievers, and help fund the arts.

The school has grown by more than 350 students since Principal Robert Bender arrived in 2005, and is now barely able to accommodate all the kindergartners in its zone. Bender has earned one (almost two) master's degree, taught in an elementary school, and run a theater company and a family restaurant. When he took the helm at PS 11 he found it to be starkly segregated, with mostly Black and Latino kids in general education classes, and White and Asian students in G&T. The division was "so glaring," he recalls. "We started with the arts and food to get families to talk to each other more."

The school has had unusual success in forging one big happy family. Now students with special needs, those in general education classes, and children in G&T mingle in a variety of ways. They perform in musicals together, go camping and travel to Washington D.C. On Thursday afternoon children join together and take part in fun classes they choose, such as ballet, photography, tap dancing or airplane-making. The ballroom dance team and the chess team mix children from different classes. The science teacher shares his passion for bird-watching in an after-school program open to all. Parents told us there is little academic or social division between children in G&T and those in the regular classes.

Parents turn out in large numbers to visit classrooms on Family Fridays, and attend an evening where they pick workshops of interest to them, and then the kids share a meal. Potluck dances, attended by 600-700 people, are held in September and June on the playground with a DJ.

The school has tried to balance academics with exploration and directed play in kindergarten and 1st-grade classes. Children choose topics, which they explore two or three times a week during a 50-minute period. For example, a small group of children explored space and made planets out of papier-mch; another group made a castle and dressed up as kings and queens.

The faculty receives regular training in literacy instruction and visits from a math coach. There is one reading specialist who works with struggling 1st-graders. On our previous visit the parent coordinator said graduates "are brighter and more prepared for middle school," due to increased consistency in instruction.

In place of report cards, portfolios are sent home with children's work samples, teacher and student reflections, goals and a variety of assessments.

The school has a big yard, a small yard, a rooftop play space and a dance room but no real gym; two classrooms with a wall removed serve the purpose.

On cold days kids dance, play soccer, enjoy arts and crafts or watch a movie inside. Second- through 5th-graders have swim lessons in the pool once a week.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes on every grade mix children with special needs and their general education peers. Kids with strong verbal skills are often placed in ICT classes as role models for children with verbal delays, the principal said.

ADMISSSIONS: Neighborhood school. Admission to G&T is according to Department of Education standards. Typically, the pre-k does not have enough room for all the children with older siblings at PS 11. Nearby PS 340 has a pre-k center with five classrooms.(Lydie Raschka, December 2015)

Read more

School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
86% Citywide Average

From the 2019-20 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
0% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From the 2020-21 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
86% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From the New York State 2021 -22 Assessment Database

How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
51% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
50% Citywide Average

What is the Pre-K like?

From the NYC Program Assessment (CLASS and ECERS-R) Database through 2019-2020

Instruction: Teachers ask kids to explain their reasoning when they solve problems
Activities: Children explore art, music, sand/water, dramatic play and more
Language: Teachers talk and listen to kids in a supportive way
Interaction: Teachers ask kids good questions and invite back-and-forth conversation

Who does this school serve?

From the 2021-22 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners
Pre-K seats

From the 2020-21 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
92% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
26% Citywide Average

From the 2020 School Directories

How does this school serve special populations?

From the New York State 2021 -22 Assessment Database

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
28% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
23% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
28% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
17% Citywide Average

For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Contact & Location


Chelsea (District 2)
Trains: C Line, E Line to 23rd St; A Line, L Line to 14th St-8th Ave; 2 Line, 3 Line, F Line, M Line to 14th St; 1 Line to 18th St
Buses: M11, M12, M14A, M14D, M20, M23, M5


Robert Bender
Parent Coordinator
Stephen Mcgill

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.
Metal detectors?

Zone for the 2019-2020 school year. Call school to confirm.

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