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Sun Yat Sen Middle School (M.S. 131)

Grades: 6-8
100 Hester Street
Manhattan NY 10002
Phone: 212-219-1204

Our Insights

What’s Special

Effective program in English for new immigrants; dual language Mandarin classes

The Downside

Odd layout in strangely configured building

MS 131 has long been known for its strength in teaching English to new immigrants, particularly to children from China. In addition, the school offers English speakers the chance to learn Mandarin and bilingual children the chance to perfect both languages. Computers are equipped with Chinese software that allows students to read, write and print in Chinese.

There is a focus on writing, class discussions and debates, an effective way to improve students’ written and spoken English. In a history class, children might defend or refute the notion that America is the land of opportunity; in science, they might argue the relative benefits of bottled or tap water, according to the school's Quality Review Report. Some lessons demonstrate the practical applications of math. For example, 8th-graders use their knowledge of algebra to research the best telephone plan for a family.

In addition to core academics, children are exposed to art, music, dance, foreign language. Students are required to perform 20 hours a year of community service. Teachers strive to offer emotional support, to spark children’s curiosity, and to encourage them to be independent thinkers and socially responsible adults, according to the school’s yearly Comprehensive Educational Plan.

Benjamin Geballe, a former assistant principal at the Lower Manhanttan Community Middle School, took the helm in 2018 after the departure of long-time principal Phyllis Tam.

The school earned high marks in its most recent Quality Review and is the subject of a book, An Island of English, about effective instruction for immigrants.

High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies, University Neighborhood High School, and Brooklyn Tech are popular high school choices. 

MS 131 has a strangely configured building shared with Pace High School and the Emma Lazarus High School. The layout of the rounded building is confusing, with curved hallways and not much natural light.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers ICT (integrated collaborative teaching) and self-contained classes.

ADMISSIONS: Zoned school. Students from anywhere in Manhattan are eligible for the dual-language program, which gives preference to Mandarin speakers. (Clara Hemphill, web reports, October 2018)



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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 the 2022-2023 NYC School Survey

How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
78% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
59% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
84% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
82% Citywide Average

From the 2019-20 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
4% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2023 End-of-year Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism Report

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
80% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From the New York State 2022-2023 Assessment Database

How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
46% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
51% Citywide Average

From the 2022-23 School Quality Guide

How many 8th-graders earn high school credit?
89% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From the 2022-23 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From the 2022-23 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
91% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
34% Citywide Average

From the 2020 School Directories

Uniforms required?
This school offers Dual Language classes in Chinese.

How does this school serve special populations?

From the New York State 2022-2023 Assessment Database

How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
15% Citywide Average

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

Contact & Location


Chinatown (District 2)
Trains: M Line to Delancey St-Essex St; J Line, Z Line to Bowery; F Line to East Broadway; B Line, D Line to Grand St; 6 Line, N Line, Q Line, R Line to Canal St
Buses: B39, BxM18, M103, M14A, M15, M15-SBS, M22, M5, M9, X1, X10, X12, X17, X27, X28


Benjamin Geballe
Parent Coordinator
Yulan Wu

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares a building with Pace HS and Emma Lazarus HS
Uniforms required?
Metal detectors?

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

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