P.S. 163 Alfred E. Smith

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
163 West 97 Street
Manhattan NY 10025
Phone: 212-678-2854

Our Insights

What’s Special

Dance, science, dual language

The Downside

Integrating four tracks is a work in progress

PS 163 has two lively pre-kindergarten classes, an impressive dance program, and teachers who know how to challenge top students while giving struggling kids the support they need.

Its gifted and talented program is open to children from across District 3. PS 163 has a popular dual language program designed to make children fluent in English and Spanish, as well as general education classes and team-taught classes for children with special needs. The Parents Association works hard to bring children in the school's different programs together with weekly clubs such as macramé, cooking, running or filmmaking.

The attendance zone for PS 163 includes housing projects and luxury housing and, unfortunately, the school is somewhat divided by race and class. The G&T classes are mostly white and Asian, especially in the younger grades; the dual-language classes have a mix of mostly white and Latino; and the general education classes and the team-taught classes are mostly black and Latino.

The school faces a budget quandary—it's not quite poor enough for federal anti-poverty grants called Title I, but not rich enough to have the Parents Association raise a huge amount of money. There is some friction between the administration and staff: In his first years at the school, Principal Donny Lopez, who took over after longtime principal Virginia Pepe retired in 2013, got low marks from teachers on annual surveys.

Nonetheless, most parents seem satisfied. "Our girls are challenged without being stressed or overwhelmed," a mother with two children in the G&T program wrote on the InsideSchools website. "We like that the kindergarten is academic but also allows the kids center time so that they can enjoy being kids."

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Team-taught classes mix children with special needs and children in general education in one classroom.

ADMISSIONS: PS 163 is a neighborhood school. Admissions to gifted and talented classes are according to Department of Education guidelines. Dual language fills with zoned children. After a family shows interest, the school does an evaluation to establish language dominance. "We continue to go down the wait list until the end of October," said the parent coordinator. (Lydie Raschka, December 2015)

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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?
1% 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 West Side (District 3)
Trains: 1 Line, 2 Line, 3 Line, B Line, C Line to 96th St
Buses: M10, M104, M106, M11, M116, M5, M60-SBS, M96


Donny Lopez
Parent Coordinator
Emily Little

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.

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

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