PS 397 Spruce Street School

Grades Pre-K, K-8
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Strong science and math instruction

The Downside

Located in a congested busy traffic area

Our Review

Spruce Street School opened in 2009 to serve East Tribecas growing family community. Housed in the first five floors of a dazzling skyscraper designed by architect Frank Gehry, it has a cafeteria that could be mistaken for a trendy Tribeca eatery, a padded roof-top playground and a state-of-the-art auditorium. The school will span pre-kindergarten through 8th grade by the 2017-2018 school year.

Teachers use effective techniques to promote student independence. In a pre-k class, the teacher asked a child to dismiss his classmates to clay, blocks, dress-up and watercolor activities. Students take turns leading assemblies, and teach their peers how to stay safe in cold weather, or how to compost, among other topics.

Children's ability to work independently and purposefully frees the teachers up to work with individuals and small groups. Social studies is a centerpiece, and some students said it was their favorite subject; a child said his class visited a synagogue in Chinatown as part of a unit on immigration.

Math and science are particularly strong. The core math session is 45-60 minutes, but math is taught across the day, according to founding principal Nancy Harris. Morning tabletop math games build problem-solving speed and help kids understand concepts that need work. Number talk, often after lunch, is geared toward helping children strengthen their ability to do mental mathcomputing in their heads.

Every child visits the science lab weekly to participate in studies of the teachers own design, such as a 1st-grade bird study and a 3rd-grade paleontology unit. Reports on classroom walls are refreshing for the fact that they were handwritten, had voice and highlighted ideas rather than gimmicky computer fonts.

As a group, the staff seems to place a high priority on generating meaningful discussion. A lower grade teacher sparked dialogue by teaching children to inject phrases like, I agree _ or Like Josh said _." During a discussion of the novel The Little Prince, a 5th grade teacher asked, Can you thirst for things other than water? A child answered, You can thirst for invisible things, like friendship or love. Another said, You can thirst for power and money.

Parents pay for dance lessons from the National Dance Institute and for a full-time librarian. They say that they appreciate the fact that they are invited into classrooms on a regular basis.

One downside: The school is in a congested, busy traffic area across from a hospital and a new parking garage.

Special education: Team-taught classes in some grades, mixing general education and special needs children with two teachers, one of whom has a degree in special education.

Admissions: Neighborhood school. There is one full-day pre-k that fills up with siblings of children who already attend the school. (Lydie Raschka, October 2014; updated August 2016)

About the students

Enrollment
508
Pre-K seats
36
Asian
15.6%
Black
3.4%
Hispanic
12.6%
White
55.1%
Other
13.4%
Free or reduced priced lunch
12%
Students with disabilities
15%
English language learners
3%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
99%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
96%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
7%
19% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
85%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
41%
50% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
85%
84% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
94%
88% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
44%
45% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
7.0
6.4 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
100%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
90%
87% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
91%
81% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
69%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
100%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
95%
86% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
62%
60% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
95%
78% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
86%
82% Citywide Average
How many parents say their child's teacher helped their child adjust to Pre-K?
100%
97% Citywide Average
How many parents say this Pre-K program helped them consider which elementary schools would meet their childrens' needs?
100%
91% Citywide Average
How many Pre-K parents say their child's teacher gave helpful ideas for how to support their child's learning?
100%
96% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Test scores

How many students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
75%
39% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
76%
42% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 4 dedicated spaces for Music, Theater, and Visual arts

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
76%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
58%
59% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
50%
68% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

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

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
29%
6% Citywide Average
How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
50%
42% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
Average math score for self-contained students
3.1
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.94
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
4.99
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
3.01
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
62%
69% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
72%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
83%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
87%
88% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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Location

12 Spruce Street
Manhattan NY 10038
Financial District (District 2)
Trains: R, W to City Hall; E to Park Place; 4, 5, 6, J, Z to Brooklyn Bridge - City Hall; 2, 3, A, C to Fulton St-Broadway-Nassau; 1 to Chambers St
Buses: M103, M15, M15-SBS, M20, M22, M5, M9

Contact

Phone
212-266-4800
Principal
Nancy Harris
Parent Coordinator
Valerie Salitan

Zone for the 2017-2018 school year. Call school to confirm.

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