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P.S. 198 Isador E. Ida Straus

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
1700 3 Avenue
Manhattan NY 10128
Phone: 212-289-3702

Our Insights

What’s Special

Creative lessons help children develop independence

The Downside

Limited afterschool for pre-k and kindergarten

PS 198 has an approach to learning that combines challenging academics with techniques designed to help children develop independence and self-control. An able principal and strong staff work together to serve a wide range of children, some from public housing developments, others from posh apartments on Fifth Avenue.

The tone is gentle and calm throughout. Children seemed happy and engaged in every class we visited. In pre-kindergarten, some children painted with poster paint, molded clay or built with blocks on their own while others worked with teachers learning colors and shapes. Second graders learned about magnetism and made their own magnetic goop with iron filings, cornstarch and water. Fourth graders discussed symbolism in The Tiger Rising, the story of a Kentucky boy who finds a tiger in a cage behind the motel where he lives with his dad. Kindergartners have choice time every daya time to pick an activity and work independently. Children go outside to play not just at recess but also at other times during the day.

"Our teachers work very hard to build independence from a very young age," said Katherine MacManus, who became principal in 2016.

Teachers pay particular attention to helping children recognize and manage their emotions and to develop skills that will help them make friends. Children who might feel restless or angry are encouraged to select an activity to calm themselves: do 10 jumping jacks, or count to 10, take a yoga pose called downward dog, or sit in a calm corner on a squishy chair and clutch a small rubber ball.

Children learn to gauge their own state of mind and energy level by saying their engine is running too slow, too fast or just right. Children learn words like aggressive, passive and assertiveand and learn that the best way to deal with others is to be assertive. These techniques, teachers say, work better than the prizes for good behavior that many schools offer.

"It's not enough to just reward children, we also need to teach them the social skills that help them make meaningful connections," says MacManus, who taught special education at the well-regarded PS 59 and served as assistant principal at PS 198. "We want them to have the intrinsic reward of positive interactions with others."

The school shares a building with PS 77, Lower Lab School, a district-wide gifted program. Within PS 198, each grade from K-5 has three classes: general education, gifted and talented (G&T), and Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT), which have two teachers and a mix of special needs and general education pupils. Macmanus says the relations between Lab and PS 198 are good, with many shared activities and a joint student council.

The demographics have changed rapidly in recent years. Once a school serving mostly Black and Latino children, PS 198 has increasing numbers of White and Asian children. More than three-quarters of the children qualified for free lunch in 2006; by 2016 barely one-third did. A gifted and talented program, opened in 2010, draws children from across the district; around the same time the PS 198 attendance zone was made smaller, and fewer children from public housing were assigned to the school.

Stanley Issacs Community Center offers a Beacon afterschool program untli 6 pm for grades 1-5. The school's website also describes chess classes and science programs afterschool for kindergarten through 5th grade, but pick up times range from 2:45 pm to 3:45 pm and classes are not held every day that school is open.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has ICT, SETSS and self-contained classes. English-as-a-second-language teachers work with students in their classrooms and on a pull-out basis.

ADMISSIONS: Zoned elementary school. Admission to districtwide G&T program is determined through the citywide G&T assessment process. (Clara Hemphill, November 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 the 2022-2023 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
84% Citywide Average

From the 2019-20 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 2023 End-of-year Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism Report

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
85% 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 elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
53% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
50% Citywide Average

What is the Pre-K like?

From the NYC Program Assessment (CLASS and ECERS-R) Database through 2019-2020

Instruction: Teachers ask kids to explain their reasoning when they solve problems
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 the 2022-23 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners
Pre-K seats

From the 2022-23 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
91% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
36% Citywide Average

From the 2020 School Directories

How does this school serve special populations?

From the New York State 2022-2023 Assessment Database

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
30% 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?
21% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
12% Citywide Average

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

Contact & Location


Upper East Side (District 2)
Trains: 6 Line, Q Line to 96th St; 4 Line, 5 Line to 86th St
Buses: M101, M102, M106, M15, M15-SBS, M2, M31, M96


Katharine Debenedictis
Parent Coordinator
Danielle Santana

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares a building with PS 77
Metal detectors?

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

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