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PS 126 Jacob August Riis/Manhattan Academy of Technology

Grades: Pre-K, K-8
Staff Pick
80 Catherine Street
Manhattan NY 10038
Phone: 212-962-2188
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Our Insights

What’s Special

Strong academics and a wide array of sports

The Downside

PTA isn't as well-funded as some other District 2 schools

A sweet, engaging place, PS 126/Manhattan Academy of Technology (MAT) is a combined elementary and middle school with strong academics, an impressive sports program and a dynamic community spirit.

The elementary school serves neighborhood children from Chinatown and the Lower East Side, representing a range of races and ethnicitiesincluding children from nearby housing projects and those from a homeless shelter that's just on the other side of the school's playground. It does a wonderful job teaching English to kids who speak Spanish or Chinese at home and works with two language consultants from CUNY. Kids were happy and well-behaved in every class we visited.

PS 126 is a place where teachers can perfect their craft, and in doing so they offer children of different backgrounds thoughtful, rigorous, progressive education. The level of teacher collaboration and planning is impressive. Reading, writing and science come together in an investigation of birds in 2nd grade, for example, and 5th-graders spend two months studying prairie ecosystems to support their Westward Expansion unit. The school uses Math in Focus, a Singapore-based math program, and a math consultant works with teachers, who also visit each other during math lessons to offer feedback.

The middle school, called MAT, is open to children from across District 2 and middle class parents from neighborhoods like Tribeca clamor for admission. Teachers excitement for their students progress is palpable and they do a good job giving extra help to the children who need it while offering a challenge to the top students, even though students arent grouped by ability. For example, a strong reader may be assigned a complex book about World War II, while a struggling reader may be assigned an easy onebut all can take part in the same class discussion. Eighth-graders may take the algebra and Earth science Regents exams. Most classes have two teachers. Teachers may work with a small group of students, or even one-on-one.

In a middle school history class, teachers and students brought the Jazz Age to life by creating their very own speakeasy with costumes, readings from Langston Hughes and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and even a bar serving root beer. Students are encouraged to engage in the city around them, starting the year off with a study of their own neighborhoods gentrification. After studying the history of nearby Catherine Street (the area was first a boat slip and then a popular public market), students petitioned local officials and worked with the Parks Department to have plaques installed in spring of 2016. Kids have even started their own website, LESyounghistorians.com.

PS 126 prizes the arts and has two art teachers and two music teachers that serve all grades. The music program is very strong and kids seemed to clearly enjoy the change of pace. On the day of our visit, we saw a music student from NYU leading 8th-graders in a lively warm up, using their own bodies as percussion instruments to work on rhythm and beat. In 6th grade, children choose to major either in visual art or band.

The physical education teacher, John DeMatteo, has assembled 51 teams in 27 sports to create the largest middle school sports program in the countryincluding exotic sports like surfing and more traditional ones like soccer and basketball. The fitness room has exercise bikes attached to video gamesmaking exercise fun even for kids who might otherwise prefer to be couch potatoes. Students are not cut from teams; instead, there is a range of levels for each sport and most middle schoolers participate. (DeMatteo also helped create the citys CHAMPS Middle School Sport and Fitness League and continues to oversee its management.)

The building, constructed in the 1970s, has wide, shiny corridors, clean white walls and doors trimmed in yellow, red, blue, lavender, green and purple. Large windows let in plenty of sunlight, and there are views of the Brooklyn Bridge just a few blocks away. A climbing wall (with fake rocks) on the back of the stage in the auditorium gives kids a fun way to build strength.

One possible downside: The PTA isnt as rich as at most District 2 schools, and cannot raise as much money for extras. Still, that hasnt stopped administration and teachers from securing an impressive array of programs and specialized equipment through grants and personal appeals to donors. In addition to a gazillion field trips, extras include chess and swimming.

A large proportion of graduates attend specialized high schools, including LaGuardia, and District 2 schools, such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Millennium. Beacon High School is also popular.

In fall 2016, Carlos Romero is set to head PS 126/MAT after having served as assistant principal of the middle school since 2004. He replaces seasoned administrator Jacqueline Getz, who called Romero's promotion "well-deserved." Getz announced she will spend the year planning a new District 2 Middle School on Morton Street opening in 2017.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has long served children with a range of special education needs. The school offers ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes with two teachers, one of whom is certified in special education.

ADMISSIONS: Zoned elementary school. Fifth-graders from PS 126 get first priority to the middle school, but students from anywhere in District 2 may apply. (Clara Hemphill, October 2012 & Aimee Sabo, June 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 2017-18 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
95%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
89%
84% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
36%
51% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
98%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
98%
80% Citywide Average

From 2015-16 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
0%
3% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
90%
77% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school
1.1

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?
62%
49% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
47%
48% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
80%
42% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
78%
50% Citywide Average

From 2018 Middle School Directory

What high schools do most graduates attend?
Brooklyn Technical High School, Baruch College Campus High School, and Millennium High School
Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Algebra I, Earth Science

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many 8th-graders earn high school credit?
79%
29% 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 2017-18 Demographic Snapshot

Enrollment
784
Asian
62%
Black
9%
Hispanic
18%
White
8%
Other
3%
Free or reduced priced lunch
80%
Students with disabilities
18%
English language learners
17%

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
97%
94% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
10%
21% Citywide Average

From 2018 School Directories

Uniforms required?
No
Pre-K seats
54
This school offers Transitional Bilingual Education in Chinese.

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?
22%
21% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
25%
21% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
47%
24% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
12%
15% Citywide Average


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

Contact & Location

Location

Chinatown (District 2)
Trains: F Line to East Broadway; 4 Line, 5 Line, 6 Line, J Line, Z Line to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall
Buses: M103, M15, M15-SBS, M22, M9

Contact

Principal
Carlos Romero
Parent Coordinator
REBECCA JOHNSON

Other Details

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No

Zone for the 2017-2018 school year. Call school to confirm.

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