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P.S. 199 Jessie Isador Straus

Grades: K-5
Staff Pick
270 West 70 Street
Manhattan NY 10023
Phone: 212-799-1033

Our Insights

What’s Special

Exciting lessons in every class

The Downside

No pre-kindergarten; waitlists for kindergarten

A unified staff with a shared vision of education; an active parent organization; and a long history of stable, effective leadership make PS 199 one of the most sought-after schools in the city. Walk into the school at any time, and you're likely to see lively instruction and happy, engaged kids in every class.

The school leadership and staff are self-confident enough to resist the latest education fads. Instead, they rely on their long experience to offer a sophisticated approach to teaching writing and math. Student teachers from Teachers College perfect their craft and some are hired as regular teachers when they finish their graduate work.

Children learn to read from picture books and children's literature--not textbooks. The Everyday Math curriculum incorporates math games and paper-and-pencil work. Science involves hands-on projects and exploration. In one class we visited, 3rd-graders learned about adaptation by stroking a live rabbit and pondering why it had eyes on the sides of its head (to better spot predators) and strong back legs (to better escape).

The depth and volume of student writing is impressive. Posted on the walls were thoughtful essays on topics such as Columbus: Hero or Villain and lesser known explorers like Amazing John Cabot and Jacques Cartier.

The school boasts big, bright classrooms, a gym with soaring windows, a music room, a wheelchair-accessible playground, two art rooms and a well-equipped library. All classrooms are well-equipped and kid-friendly. Kindergarten classrooms have blocks and play areas; one 5th-grade classroom has comfy sofas. The PTA, which raises more than $800,000 a year, pays for teaching assistants in the lower grades.

"The reason we are able to fill the classrooms with all of these wonderful materials is the PTA," said longtime parent coordinator Allison Sansoucie, who gave us our tour.

The school has partnerships with several arts organizations, including the New York Philharmonic, Vital Theatre, Lincoln Center Institute and National Dance Institute, whose teaching artists work with each of the 4th-grade classes once a week. A "Special Forces" class combines general education pupils with special needs students, including some in wheelchairs, in a dance collaboration.

New construction in the area caused overcrowding at the school, and the attendance zone for the school was made smaller in 2017. Although the new zone includes a sliver of the Amsterdam Houses public housing development, most of the housing in the attendance zone is very expensive. Despite the rezoning, the school is still filled to capacity and there is no pre-kindergarten. There was a waitlist for kindergarten in 2018.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: One of the city's first barrier-free schools, PS 199 has a legacy of serving students with physical challenges. The playground is wheelchair accessible.

ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. In recent years, there has been a waitlist for kindergarten. (Clara Hemphill, November 2015, updated October 2018 to reflect zone change.)

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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 teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
84% 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?
85% 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

Who does this school serve?

From the 2022-23 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From the 2022-23 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
91% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
36% Citywide Average

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?
30% 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?
21% 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


Upper West Side (District 3)
Trains: 1 Line, 2 Line, 3 Line, B Line, C Line to 72nd St
Buses: BxM2, M10, M104, M11, M20, M5, M57, M66, M72, M79


Louise Xerri
Parent Coordinator
Allison Sansoucie

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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