P.S. 180 Hugo Newman
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Involved parents and a warm sense of community
A few behavior problems
Ask parents what they like about PS 180 and they'll tell you about the warm sense of community, the pleasure of making friends with other parents, sharing babysitting and after-school pickups, and even having holiday meals together.
It's a place where parents of different races and ethnic groups seem to get along, where families of mixed races feel at home. The PTA organizes events to encourage parents to come to the school regularly—such as an early morning exercise class with a disco ball.
"I feel like I'm part of a community in a way I never expected," one mother said.
"You're greeted with a smile," said a father. "The teachers are accessible."
"We are traditional. We believe in homework, we have tests, a spelling bee," said another mother. "But we also have rugs and desks in groups."
PS 180 has three classes in most grades: general education, dual language (in which children study in English in the morning and Spanish in the afternoon) and team-taught (with two teachers, one of whom is certified in special education).
Class size is small: about 20 in the elementary school and 22 in the middle school. The quality of children's written work we saw posted on bulletin boards was good. Music and art instruction are strong. Second-graders swim at Asphalt Green.
Although the school was orderly the day of our visit, Principal Lana Fleming acknowledged that a few children with behavior problems had been assigned to PS 180 after having been asked to leave nearby charter schools. To help these children, the school has a full-time social worker and 12 psychology graduate interns from Columbia University to help these children.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers ICT classes. Physical and occupational therapists are contracted as needed.
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood, zoned school for grades k-5. PS 180 interviews students interested in the dual language program to ensure proper balance of Spanish- and English-dominant speakers. For grades 6-8, the school looks at students' 4th-grade report cards, state test scores and record of attendance and lateness. Top priority goes to continuing 5th-grade students, then to students living in the school's zone, and then to students and residents of District 3. There are frequent tours for prospective parents. (Clara Hemphill, December 2015; updated August 2016)Read more