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P.S. 89 Liberty School
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High-performing neighborhood school in a comfortable, modern building
Some instruction is one-size-fits-all
At the heart of PS 89, The Liberty School, are the big social studies and science investigations that take place in the fall and spring. These explorations of urban farm markets, the five boroughs of New York City, or the Revolutionary War, help "even the playing field for all kids," according to experienced principal Veronica Najjar. "It brings kids together in a way just having a strong reading program does not. Learning, wondering, inquiring, asking questionsit gives everyone that equal chance."
First-graders make about eight trips to urban farm markets in Union Square and Tribeca. There they spot honey, leading them to a conversation with beekeepers, and taste ramps and goat cheese. They notice wool, meat products and root vegetables. They pickle asparagus and cucumbers, and preserve carrots and fruit. At the end of the unit they hold a busy farm market in the schoolyard. Second-graders study birds in the same rich, all-encompassing way; 3rd-graders delve into the history of New Amsterdam, dressing up as tradesmen of old, and visiting Wyckoff House in Flatbush. Fourth-graders study the American Revolution. Fifth-graders explore Westward expansion.
A 2015 Quality Review by the Department of Education pointed out that the school could do more to consistently challenge all children to their full potential, especially high-achieving students. "In most cases, all students worked on the same tasks with no visible modifications for the most struggling or accelerated learners," the reviewer wrote. Najjar, principal since 1998, says a goal for staff is to find ways for kids to "make their learning a little bit deeper." Nonetheless, test scores are high, and parents and teachers almost unanimously recommend the school, according to school surveys.
The school is housed in a modern, comfortable building in Battery Park City with a beautiful cafeteria, gym, library, dance studio, art studio, and science room. It shares the building with IS 289, which takes up the top floors. Classrooms are large, and each has a sink and ample storage.
SPECIAL EDUCATION:The school serves children with speech, language and developmental delays in ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes. In these classes, children with special needs are taught in the same class as general education pupils, with two teachers, one of whom is certified in special education.
ADMISSIONS:Zoned neighborhood school.(Lydie Raschka, interview and DOE data,August 2016)Read more