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M.S. 255 Salk School of Science

Grades: 6-8
Staff Pick
319 East 19th Street
Manhattan NY 10003
Phone: 212-614-8785

Our Insights

What’s Special

Kids get a chance to learn with NYU research scientists

The Downside

The smaller classrooms feel crowded with over 30 students

The Salk School of Science was founded in 1995 as an unusual collaboration between District 2 and the NYU Medical Center. It was designed to expose city kids to science in a systematic, serious and engaging way. Although classrooms are crowded, and sharing space with PS 40 can be a juggling act, Salk's popularity with students, teachers and NYU undergrads who tutor through America Reads, helps lower the adult-student ratio.

Teachers feel like trusted partners at Salk. Any teacher who is really good is not doing a curriculum, said Principal Rhonda Perry. They're looking at who the kids are and adapting." Many teachers have been at Salk for over five years. All the science teachers have become lead teachers in the Urban Advantage Program at the American Museum of Natural History, a partner program, which promotes real world research and investigations.

Science is certainly a major focus of the school. Students may visit an anesthesiology lab or learn about cloning cows from an expert. Teachers can access a database with over seventy research scientists, professors and doctors willing to give a presentation or assist with lesson planning. NYU graduate students volunteer as "mentors," offering after-school homework help and social support for struggling students.

Reading and writing are emphasized in all subjects, and some of the humanities teachers are published writers themselves. Classrooms have extensive libraries, and students are encouraged to read fiction they enjoy in book clubs. In math, students may keep journals on problem-solving; in science, research and observations are balanced with persuasive essays, such as on the pros and cons of nuclear energy.

According to Perry, visiting alumni have said they felt best prepared for college in terms of the writing skills they acquired at Salk. Sixth-graders participate in Science, Expression and Exploration (S.E.E.), a weekly, two-hour class designed to boost writing and research skills. They "adopt" an animal at the Bronx Zoo for observation and create PowerPoint presentations using the data they collect. During our visit one girl said she and her partner had posed the question: What is the effect of sun, shade and water on a brown bear's behavior? "It was hard to decide on the question," the 6th-grader said, "but we saw them playing in the water and sitting in the sun, so we decided the environment was important."

The transition for incoming 6th-graders is gentle. Although all students are allowed to go out into the neighborhood for lunch, new students must wait until mid-October after they've gone out with a 7th- or 8th-grade "big buddy." The first few days of school are filled with community building activities. Parents are invited to a welcome tea at the medical center and "Passion in Science" day, when classes are cancelled and participants sign up for mini sessions taught by NYU staff.

Small supportive groups led by teachers, called "advisories," meet for half a year and students can pick a fun elective, such as sports, puzzles or creative writing, the other half of the year. The only language taught is Spanish.

About two-thirds of the 8th-graders are accepted into specialized high schools.

Special Education: Each grade has an ICT (integrated co-teaching) class that serves a mix of general and special needs children and is led by two teachers, including one certified in special education. The school also has a flexible, multigrade self-contained class for students with special needs. Students in that class start the year spending most of their day in the self-contained classroom. By mid-year, students spend most of their day in general education classes and return to the self-contained room for extra support and instruction in select subjects as needed.

Admissions: By lottery. Open to District 2 students and residents. See NYC MySchools for the most up-to-date admissions priorities. (Laura Zingmond, February 2014; admissions updated, October 2019)

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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 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?
58% 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?
0% 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?
79% 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 2023 End-of-year Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism Report

How many 8th-graders earn high school credit?
39% 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 2023 End-of-year Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism Report

Average daily attendance
90% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
38% Citywide Average

From the 2020 School Directories

Uniforms required?

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


Gramercy (District 2)
Trains: L Line to 1st Ave; 6 Line to 23rd St; 4 Line, 5 Line, N Line, Q Line, R Line to 14th St-Union Square
Buses: BM1, BM2, BM3, BM4, BxM7, M1, M101, M102, M103, M14A, M14D, M15, M15-SBS, M2, M23, M3, M34A-SBS, M9, QM21, X1, X10, X10B, X12, X14, X17, X2, X27, X28, X37, X38, X42, X5, X63, X64, X68, X7, X9


Rhonda Perry
Parent Coordinator
Patti Burr

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares the building with PS 40
Uniforms required?
Metal detectors?

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