P.S. 166 The Richard Rodgers School of the Arts and Technology

Grades: K-5
Staff Pick
132 West 89th Street
Manhattan NY 10024
Phone: 212-678-2829

Our Insights

What’s Special

Terrific arts and writing programs

The Downside

No pre-kindergarten program

PS 166 has the most popular district gifted program on the Upper West Side, big song and dance performances, and an active Parents Association that raises a ton of money. Fine examples of children's art and writing are posted on bulletin boards throughout the school. One example: a 10-page guide to the school for prospective parents, written by a 1st-grader.

The beautifully renovated building, constructed in 1897, has high ceilings and bright and sunny classrooms that are lavishly equipped with books and supplies. Children go outside even on cold days, and recess takes place before lunch to encourage children to eat more slowly and to create a calmer transition back to the classroom. The lunchroom is one of the more civilized ones we've seen.

The rich arts programs can be heard and seen throughout the building. On one of our visits, we watched 3rd-grade girls twirl in red skirts as they practiced a Mexican folk dance. In the science lab, children plucked kalimbas, African thumb pianos, to explore pitch and amplification. In the music room children sang a lively spiritual. On another visit, we saw dance and music teachers collaborate to put on a musical production. Children made paintings in the style of Frida Kahloone of a series of lessons designed to teach art history as well as studio art.

Children were engaged in every class we saw. During "center time," kindergartners may choose to play with blocks, write, read or put together plastic cubes that build math skills.

The quality of writing is particularly high and Teachers College Reading and Writing Project works closely with teachers at PS 166. Kindergartners write "personal narratives" that may include New Year's resolutions. ("My resolution is to clean up my toys.") Older children write persuasive essays on topics such as "Should chocolate milk be banned in school?"

Debra Mastriano, who became principal in 2012, has won high marks from district administrators for the rigor of the curriculum. The annual teacher survey, however, gives her mixed reviews for her leadership, and we heard some grumbling that she can be abrupt. She told us that some pushback from staff is inevitable as she steps up demands.

The school was once starkly segregated, with mostly Black and Latino children in general education classes and mostly Whites in gifted and talented. But on our visit, we couldn't easily tell the difference between the classes. That's because more White families from the zone are opting for general education classes, which offer smaller class size than the G&T and the same wonderful art, music and drama that everyone enjoys. The quality of instruction is high throughout the school.

We did speak with one mother who said that Black and Hispanic parents sometimes feel marginalized. Another mother said working-class parents sometimes feel left out. The PTA, which raises nearly $300,000 a year, can be cliquish, this mother said. The parent coordinator, Deborah Markewich, told us the school organizes events that everyone can take part in, such as an international dinner and family fitness night for parents. She said parents whose children qualify for free lunch may receive free tickets to the annual auction, which raises much of the PTA budget.

SPECIAL EDUCATION:  PS 166 has ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes, which have two teachers, one of whom is certified in special education.

ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. Children are admitted to the district-wide gifted program based on the results of an exam administered by the Department of Education; to be considered, parents must submit a "request for testing" in November. (Clara Hemphill & Mahalia Watson, February 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 the principal is an effective manager?
86% 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?
86% 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?
50% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
92% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
26% Citywide Average

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

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: 2 Line, 3 Line to 96th St; 1 Line, B Line, C Line to 86th St
Buses: M10, M104, M106, M11, M5, M79-SBS, M86-SBS, M96


Debra Mastriano
Parent Coordinator
Deborah Markewich

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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