P.S. 208 Alain L. Locke
Hydroponic lab; parents praise high expectations and good communication with teachers
A tiny school with a shrinking enrollment, PS 208 serves children in grades 3-5 in a building shared with Harlem Link Charter; PS 185, a neighborhood school for children in PK-2; and a school for children with severe disabilities. PS 208 has a hydroponic garden, where children grow vegetables without soil as part of a partnership with the non-profit organization New York Sun Works.
PS 208 received a federal magnet grant in 2010 designed to increase enrollment and make the school more racially and economically diverse. As part of the grant, the school adopted an environmental theme; children received laptops and took regular trips to Central Park. However, enrollment continued to decline: The school had 284 pupils in 2006; a decade later, faced with competition from charter schools and other schools of choice in the neighborhood, just 125 children were enrolled.
Parents gives the school high marks, according to school surveys. Parents were all in agreement that the school sets high expectations and there is open communication with the teachers, Superintendent Ilene Altschul wrote in the 2015 Quality Review. However, Altschul added, Across classrooms there were uneven levels of student participation and thinking. Nearly half the teachers who responded to the survey complained of problems with order and discipline.
Insideschools visited PS 208 in 2012, but Principal Susan Green has refused our requests for visits since then.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers team-teaching and self-contained classes.
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. (Clara Hemphill, update based on DOE data, March 2017)
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Manhattan NY 10026