P.S. 51 Elias Howe

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
525 West 44th Street
Manhattan NY 10036
Phone: 212-315-7160

Our Insights

What’s Special

Strong arts programs

The Downside

Chronic attendance a work-in-progress

PS 51 has an unusually rich arts program with full-time music, visual arts and dance teachers. The school manages to make parents of different ethnicities and income levels feel welcome by holding events such as family basketball games, movie nights and international potluck suppers. 

The modern seven-story school building, opened in 2013, is bright and well-equipped, with two science labs, two outdoor play yards, two gyms, an art studio, a library, a music room and a health clinic. The school is expanding into the building's extra space, from two classrooms per grade to three. 

Principal Stephanie Lukas took the helm in 2017. A native New Yorker and former assistant principal of PS 40, she has set out to strengthen and bring cohesion to academics and improve attendance. 

Children were happy and engaged in the classes we visited. Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students enjoy daily “choice time” in block building, dramatic play and more. First through 5th-graders participate in choice time once a week with a different focus for each grade: block building, LEGOS and puzzles in the younger grades; board games, arts and crafts and more in the upper grades.

The school uses the Teachers College Reading and Writing Program, which offers children choice in the topics they read. They write multiple drafts and learn to edit their own work. Interest in reading and writing has gone up, the principal said, even if it had not yet been reflected in state test scores at the time of our visit.

In math, each child makes use of a math “tool kit” containing small counters, dice and geometric shapes. Eureka Math builds strong “mental math,” Lukas said, the ability to visualize numbers and solve problems in your head. 

Like the city as a whole, the school has begun to de-emphasize the school’s long thematic social studies units, like a long-standing one about the Hudson River here. Teachers still take children on field trips to local cultural spots including the Hudson River, museums and Broadway shows but now they follow social studies guidelines for each grade from the city, such as a study of the neighborhood in 2nd grade.

Younger students visit the science lab once a week and also study science in the classroom. Third through 5th grade classes get science lab twice a week.  A new rooftop garden has become a focal point of the science curriculum. 

However, the arts programming is what really sets PS 51 apart. The tidy music room is filled with intriguing instruments from around the world. In addition to learning to read music in classes, the music teacher leads an Orff ensemble, as well as recorder, drum, Ukulele/violin ensembles and chorus during and after school. The art teacher incorporates themes from academic units into student work in her bright top floor art studio, and we observed a patient dance teacher at work with young children. 

Families are embraced at PS 51 and active in the life of the school. They lead prospective parent tours and help out in the garden. Parents who speak different languages—such as Arabic, Korean, Spanish or Bengali—serve as cultural ambassadors at PTA meetings; there is live translation for anyone who needs it. Parents share their skills, knowledge or customs: a bus driver may talk about his work during a study of transportation; another may educate kids about Ukrainian Christmas. 

Attendance is a work-in-progress; almost one-third of the children miss at least a month of school. Some kids are absent because they travel to home countries far away or may be dealing with the struggles of living in temporary housing, among other factors, the principal said.  

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes on every grade level that mix up to twelve children into general education classrooms. Speech and occupational therapists work with children in their regular classrooms, rather than removing them from class. A small cluster of classrooms that make up a separate District 75 program for children with severe disabilities shares playground space and the lunchroom with grades k-2. 

ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. Out-of-zone children are sometimes admitted after the school year begins but it is rare. (Lydie Raschka, December 2019)


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School Stats

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

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2019-20 NYC School Survey

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

From 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 2019-20 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 2019 State ELA+Math Results Summary

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 2018-2019

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 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

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

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

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

From 2020 School Directories

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2019 State ELA+Math Results Summary

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


Hell's Kitchen (District 2)
Trains: A Line, C Line, E Line to 42nd St-Port Authority Bus Terminal
Buses: M104, M11, M12, M20, M31, M34A-SBS, M42, M50


Stephanie Lukas
Parent Coordinator
Giselle Leon

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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