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Spruce Street School

Grades: Pre-K, K-8
Staff Pick
12 Spruce Street
Manhattan NY 10038
Phone: 212-266-4800

Our Insights

What’s Special

Strong science and math instruction

The Downside

Located in a congested busy traffic area

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)

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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 the 2022-2023 NYC School Survey

How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
80% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
56% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
78% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
79% 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 2023 End-of-year Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism Report

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 New York State 2022-2023 Assessment Database

How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
53% 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?
52% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
57% Citywide Average

From the 2022-23 School Quality Guide

How many 8th-graders earn high school credit?
91% Citywide Average

What is the Pre-K like?

From the NYC Program Assessment (CLASS and ECERS-R) Database through 2019-2020

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 2022-23 Demographic Snapshot

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

From the 2022-23 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
91% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
35% 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 students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
27% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
21% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
17% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
12% Citywide Average

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

Contact & Location


Financial District (District 2)
Trains: R Line to City Hall; E Line to Park Place; 4 Line, 5 Line, 6 Line, J Line, Z Line to Brooklyn Bridge - City Hall; 2 Line, 3 Line, A Line, C Line to Fulton St-Broadway-Nassau; 1 Line to Chambers St
Buses: BM1, BM2, BM3, BM4, BxM18, M103, M15, M15-SBS, M20, M22, M5, M9, QM11, QM25, QM7, QM8, X1, X10, X10B, X11, X12, X14, X15, X17, X17A, X19, X2, X27, X28, X3, X4, X42, X5, X7, X8, X9


Nancy Harris
Parent Coordinator
Kimberly Mulvey

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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