P.S. 111 Adolph S. Ochs
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Children speak 17 different languages
School working to have kids speak in class more
As Hell's Kitchen gentrifies, PS 111, long a school that served mostly poor and working class children, is beginning to attract middle class families—particularly to the gifted and talented program started in 2013. PS 111 serves children who live in luxury high rises as well as those who live in housing projects.
"We have one mom who is a surgeon and one who is a waitress at the local diner," said Principal Ed Gilligan, who took over in 2015.
Some 17 languages are spoken here, including Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, Urdu and French.
The school was calmer on our recent visit than it had been a few years before. The school once had a reputation for rowdiness, but the suspension rate has declined significantly. The middle school grades have been phased out, and now that the school only serves children in pre-k-5, it is more orderly. We heard no raised voices the day of our visit and teachers all had control of their classes.
The school has a beautiful playground, but the inside could use some sprucing up. A few of the classes seemed messy and disorganized, with piles of teacher's papers, books and notebooks askew.
Gilligan, formerly assistant principal at PS 184 in Brooklyn, wants to strengthen the writing program and encourage more class discussions—with more active learning, and less passive listening to the teacher.
"We want to see children, even in pre-k and k, talking more," Gilligan said.
There are three classes on each grade: one gifted, one general education, and one ICT (integrated co-teaching) class with two teachers and a mix of general education and special education students.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT classes with two teachers, and SETSS.
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. The school has room to spare and the administration is working to increase enrollment. Pre-kindergarten classes were under-enrolled at the time of our visit. (Clara Hemphill, October 2015)Read more