P.S./I.S. 217 Roosevelt Island

Grades: Pre-K, K-8
Staff Pick
645 Main Street
Manhattan NY 10044
Phone: 212-980-0294

Our Insights

What’s Special

Thoughtful curriculum and excellent teaching

The Downside

Many children dont stay for middle school

Roosevelt Island, a long, narrow strip of land in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, has the feel of a small town. It's connected to the Upper East Side by an aerial tramway; the F train connects the island to Manhattan and Queens. Housing prices, while rising, are still affordable compared to other parts of District 2.

PS 217, the only public school on the island, is housed in a modern building with large windows, glass bricks, wide hallways, an airy lobby and a cafeteria with a commanding view of Manhattan. Many employees of the United Nations live on Roosevelt Island, and the school has children from 60 different countries.

Under the able leadership of Principal Mandana Beckman, PS 217 has developed an imaginative curriculum that combines various approaches to math, reading and writing. Teachers draws on the best elements of three different math programs, Investigations, Everyday Math and Singapore Math. They use the Teachers College approach to writingwhich emphasizes multiple drafts and revisions. The reading program focuses on small group instruction called "guided reading." Children learn at a young age to work independently and to move from one activity to the next without a lot of wasted time.

The gifted and talented program draws children from both Manhattan and Queens. Happily, the quality of teaching is strong in both the gifted and the general education classes.

Cornell Tech, the technology-focused campus of Cornell University under construction on the Island, has an unusual collaboration with PS 217. The university is training the school's teachers in computer science. Children take class trips to places like Google's Manhattan offices and may study digital media and game design as part of a program sponsored by the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens.

One mother said she loves the "community vibe." Another said her son's teachers "inspire him every day to be respectful, to be curious, to work hard and to love school." The Department of Education's 2015 Quality Review called the school "well developed" in all five categories, the highest ranking.

PS 217 serves children in pre-k through 8th grade. Many children opt for middle schools off the island, and grades 6-8 are quite small, with just one class in each grade. There are interdisciplinary lessons. For example, 6th graders read Jack London's adventure story "The Call of the Wild" along with non-fiction articles about animal-human communication.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers self-contained classes as well as part-time team taught classes. Although some schools integrate all children with disabilities into team-taught classes, Beckman believes some children need the structure and small size of a self-contained class.

ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. Children from District 2 in Manhattan may apply to the school's gifted and talented program. In recent years, children from District 30 in Queens have been admitted as well. A private bus brings about 50 children from Queens. (Clara Hemphill, October 2016)

Read more

School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey

How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
91% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
32% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
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 the 2020-21 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
83% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From the 2019 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
54% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
50% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
45% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
50% Citywide Average

From the 2020-21 School Quality Guide

How many 8th-graders earn high school credit?
35% Citywide Average

What is the Pre-K like?

From the NYC Program Assessment (CLASS and ECERS-R) Database through 2018-2019

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 2021-22 Demographic Snapshot

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

From the 2020-21 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
91% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
27% Citywide Average

From the 2020 School Directories

Uniforms required?

How does this school serve special populations?

From the 2019 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
25% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
22% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
24% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
16% Citywide Average

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

Contact & Location


Roosevelt Island (District 2)
Trains: F Line to Roosevelt Island
Buses: M15, M31, M66, M72, M79, Q102, Q103, Q104


Mandana Beckman
Parent Coordinator
Lauraine Rademaker

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
Metal detectors?

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


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