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Middle School High School

P.S. 51 Elias Howe

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

What’s Special

Tap-dancing, music, art and theater classes

The Downside

Part-time physical education teacher

PS 51 has a joyful atmosphere, a strong focus on the arts, and an experienced staff that works together as a team. The administration manages to make parents of different races, income levels and nationalities feel welcome with events like family basketball games, movie nights and international potluck suppers. They also offer English classes for parents. The student body includes children whose parents work at the nearby Chinese consulate, as well as children who speak Arabic, Korean, Spanish or Bengali at home.

The seven-story building, opened in 2013, is unusually 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.

Children were happy and engaged in the classes we visited. Longtime principal Nancy Sing-Bock believes young children learn through exploration and play. Every pre-K-2 classroom has blocks in addition to books and objects for learning math. She received her masters degree in administration from Bank Street College and has visited Reggio Emilia, Italya mecca for teachers interested in cutting-edge ideas in education. Sing-Bock has brought some of those ideas to PS 51.

The younger grades pick two big themes each year such as architecture or transportation, and within these themes children explore their questions. One class became interested in blueprints brought in by an architect and so kids drew their own blueprints; another became fascinated by the pipes running below ground when they visited the 2nd Avenue subway construction. Older children may study topics such as the history of the Freedom Riders and the Civil Rights movement and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Kids said they like their twice-a-week science classes, where they get to dissolve M&M'S in water and vinegar, and learn about paper chromatography. The school has long uses the Engage NY math curriculum, a discovery approach emphasizing different ways to solve problems. It includes old-fashioned math drills, called "sprints."

But its the arts programming that really sets PS 51 apart. Teaching artists from Rosie's Theater Kids lead children in song and dance at the school, and everyone takes tap-dancing lessons at nearby Maravel Arts Center. Fifth graders attend Broadway shows like Matilda.During lunch and after school, a music teacher leads an Orff ensemble, recorder, drum, ukele/violin ensembles and chorus.An art teacher incorporates themes from academic units into childrens work; for example, children studying trees in science and social studies made drawings of trees.

Families are embraced at PS 51 and increasingly active. Every month they are invited to watch their children at work in school. This way the school has been able to educate and alleviate worries parents may have about unfamiliar-looking math homework or other aspects of the school's creative curriculum.

Sing-Bock and the staff have worked hard to build a community among parents and children of different backgrounds, by, for example, asking parents who speak different languages to serve as cultural ambassadors at PTA meetings and including both newcomers and old-timers on the School Leadership Team. Parents are invited to share their skills and knowledge with their childrens classmates: a bus driver talks about his work when children study transportation; a bus boy talks about his work when children study restaurants. The school offers parent workshops on topics such as how to deal with sibling rivalry.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes on every grade level. English language learners are assisted in smaller groups as needed. Speech and occupational therapists work with children in their regular classrooms, rather than removing them from class. A separate District 75 program also shares the playground space and lunchroom with grades k-2. "We believe in mainstreaming and having all schools in the building work and collaborate together," said Sing-Bock.

ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. Out-of-zone children are sometimes admitted in the late summer or early fall. The school also houses a pre-k center, administered separately, whose seats are open to children regardless of where they live. (Clara Hemphill, October 2015; updated by phone, August 2016)

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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 2018-19 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
83% Citywide Average

From 2017-18 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
1% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
78% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From 2018 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?
49% Citywide Average

What is the Pre-K like?

From this school's most recent Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

Instruction: Teachers ask kids to explain their reasoning when they solve problems

From this school's most recent Early Childhood Environmental Rating System (ECERS-R)

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 2018-19 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
93% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
25% Citywide Average

From 2018 School Directories

Pre-K seats

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2018 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

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares a building with a Pre-K Center
Metal detectors?

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

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