P.S. 290 Manhattan New School

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
311 East 82 Street
Manhattan NY 10028
Phone: 212-734-7127

Our Insights

What’s Special

Writing program that is a national model, commitment to collaboration and integrated learning

The Downside

Some space constraints, no full gym or auditorium

At Manhattan New School, the best ideals of progressive education meet structure, experience and a true love of the craft of teaching. Tour the school, and you may see kindergartners squish blueberries as part of a study on pigment before moving seamlessly into a lesson on phonics; 4th-graders may study the Greek myth of the fallen hero Icarus and then design and build their own parachutes.

Kids are happy and engaged and staffers seem eager to go the extra mile, whether that means a weekly walk to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to supplement a social studies unit or working together on detailed plans to reach kids with different levels of skills in the same class. The quality of teaching is superb throughout, and teachers share an intellectual excitement about their work. Many staffers have written books that are used in university education courses.

MNS has long been known for its strong writing program and has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best schools in the city. Doreen Esposito, who became principal in 2014 after working at the school for 15 years as a teacher and assistant principal, is well-qualified to carry on its legacy. While she maintains a clear sense of continuity, she has also brought in fresh ideasa practice that in and of itself is highly valued at MNS. Reflection is a huge part of what we do here, she said.

Under Espositos watch, the school has introduced Mindfulness Mondays, where 4th-graders lead 2nd-graders in meditation to ease the transition from the weekend. Another addition is a special "maker" room, filled with natural materials and recycled household products such as toilet paper tubes and yarn, where kids can tackle hands-on projects and learn teamwork. During our visit, a group of 4th-grade boys eagerly showed off their latest creation: a recycled robot that sprays seeds from its feet and water from its nose, tied to their study of sustainability in social studies.

In response to parents requests for more rigor in math instruction, the school has worked hard to make sure students have strong arithmetic skills as well as an understanding of underlying mathematical concepts. Posters about math strategies abound, as do small counters in all shapes and sizes across grades. We saw a class of 5th-graders get down on the floor with their teacher to tackle a particularly tricky fraction problem with small shapes, while another group converted milliliters to liters in their heads. A coach worked with teachers to hone instruction and supplement the math programsa combination of the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Investigations curriculum and a City College program called Math in the City. Kids who excel may join Math Olympiad.

The parent body is extremely active both off and on campus. Last year, parents successfully petitioned to have a CitiBike station that was located next to the school moved, arguing that it was a safety hazard. On the day of our visit, we saw moms in the main office cutting out labels for the school auction, a fundraiser that supports extra programs like chess, the National Dance Institute and the Wingspan Theater. We also saw several part-time staffers who were former parents, including a choral and band instructor leading a group of vivacious 4th-graders and a dance teacher helping kindergartners get their wiggles out in the makeshift auditorium.

While the old building is charming and very well-kept, space is tight. Staffers make it work: The cafeteria doubles as a gym complete with brand new fold away tables and a basketball hoop, and 5th-graders have recess on a closed-off side street, while younger kids play in one of two enclosed side yards. Plans are in the works for a green roof, which will serve as both as an extra play space and a science center.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes at every grade level, and a range of service providers work with children both in and out of the classroom.

ADMISSIONS: Zoned school. The school suffered from overcrowding for a number of years, but it has not had waitlists since the attendance zone was reduced a few years ago. Parent Coordinator Sally Mason encourages new families to move into the school's zone.(Aimee Sabo, March 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 2019-20 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
81% Citywide Average

From 2019-20 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
0% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

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 2019 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
51% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
49% 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 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

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

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
93% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
25% Citywide Average

From 2020 School Directories

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2019 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
28% 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?
28% 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: 4 Line, 5 Line, 6 Line to 86th St
Buses: BxM1, BxM10, BxM4, BxM8, BxM9, M102, M15, M15-SBS, M2, M31, M79, M98


Doreen Esposito
Parent Coordinator
Nancy Dolinsky

Other Details

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

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

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