P.S. 234 Independence School
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One of city's most popular schools; recess twice a day for youngest students
A few teachers would like better communication with the principal
Just a 10-minute walk from the Hudson River, PS 234 has long been a magnet for families living in Tribeca. Children explore the rich waterways, bridges, and parks outside the school door, and enjoy sparkly city views from one of the prettiest playgrounds in the city.
Children explore the city with trips to Central Park, local restaurants, or the Brooklyn Bridge—and have opportunities through reading, writing, and the arts to reflect on their experiences. Science lessons focus on discovery and include a study of snails, watching eggs hatch, or learning about birds. Older students examine the theme of "revolution," through women's suffrage, civil rights and other historic events. In 5th grade, they pick and research an on-going revolution, such as the American Gay Rights Movement. "It's all part of being in a Democracy, Principal Susan Ripperger said. "The idea that unrest never ends."
Recess is sacrosanct—kindergartners and 1st-graders go outside twice a day; 2nd through 5th-graders go out once or twice a day. The Parents' Association raises money for the well-regarded music program. Children study dance with instructors from the National Dance Institute. Studio in a School provides art lessons.
PS 234's three-story, beige brick building, built in 1988, has large, sunny rooms, light oak tables and chairs, brightly lit corridors and floors with shiny beige tiles.
Some teachers grumble that communication with the principal could be better. Ripperger said she has had to make some "tough" staffing decisions that she believes benefits students. The vast majority of parents are satisfied and most teachers would recommend the school to other parents, according to school surveys.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: Ripperger is committed to serving children with special needs in regular classes. The school offers team-teaching classes with two teachers, one of whom is certified in special education. Forty percent of the children in these classes have special needs. Ripperger does not believe in separating children; even those who would be assigned to a "self-contained" class are integrated successfully here, she said.
ADMISSIONS: Zoned, neighborhood school (Lydie Raschka, interview and DOE data, August 2016)Read more