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Middle School High School

P.S. 242 The Young Diplomats Magnet Academy

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
134 West 122 Street
Manhattan NY 10027
Phone: 212-678-2908
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Our Insights

What’s Special

Small class size; embraces challenging children.

The Downside

Poor attendance; French no longer offered because of budget cuts.

In 2010, PS 242 changed its name to Young Diplomats Magnet Academy and began a three-year process to become certified by the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization, a nonprofit group that includes more than 3,158 schools in 140 countries. IBs rigorous program encourages international awareness and flexible teaching methods. Some teachers are embracing the new school name, mission statement, and direction, while others are reluctant. The sense of overwhelmingness has lessened now that training is under way, said Principal Denise Gomez.

Theschool received a federal magnet grant in June 2011 toprovide students with a global perspective for the 21st century by focusing on central principles identified by the curriculum board of the International Baccalaureate Organization based in Cardiff, Wales. Some of these principles include: Communication, Open-mindedness, Caring, Risk-taking, Balance and Reflection."

PS 242, formerly known as the Gwendolyn Powell Brown Computer School, shares a building with Future Leaders Institute Charter School. PS 242 is a small school, and most classes have fewer than 20 students. Because of the concentration of Haitian and African immigrants in the area, the school chose French to meet the IB programs requirement that all students study a second language.

A paraprofessional in a special education classroom for 10 years and a teacher of grades 3 and 6, Gomez later trained at the Leadership Academy, the citys training ground for principals. Given her background she is an advocate for children with special needs. The school has a cozy, informal feel with caring adults willing to work with kids with big challenges, some from nearby shelters. Go to class, you little chicken wing, the office secretary affectionately chided a morning straggler. A full-time counselor is available. The Harlem Childrens Zone provides peacemakers (an extra adult) for almost every class and offers a Saturday program from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Although PS 242 loses kids to the charter school upstairs, it also gains families who trickle down when things dont work out there. We embrace everyone here, said Assistant Principal Larisa Vail.

Gomez and Vail have promoted more individual and small-group instruction in recent years. In one room half the class worked on tiny laptops with headsets, and the other half sat on the rug for a lesson on triangles. The kids on laptops plugged into programs according to their needs: reading, vocabulary, math. One 5th-grade teacher led a brisk, focused dialogue on reducing fractions. In a 1st-grade Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) class, two teachers worked with separate math groups, while four children sat at desks with workbooks. The workbook questionsadding quarters, dimes, nickels, and penniesquickly became too difficult, however, and those four began to clamor for help.

Bright kids are encouraged to take the eligibility test for a gifted program, and staff escort kids to interviews and tours for middle school. About five kids went to the Delta honors program in 2010.

Special Education: One special education teacher pulls kids out or works in classrooms alongside teachers. There are four ICT (Integrated Co-Teaching) classes in grades K, 1, 2 and 5, with the goal of adding one on every grade level.

Admissions: Neighborhood-zoned school. (Lydie Raschka, March 2011; updated February 2012)

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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 2018-19 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
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
83% Citywide Average

From 2017-18 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 2018-19 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 2018 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 this school's most recent Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

Instruction: Teachers ask kids to explain their reasoning when they solve problems

From this school's most recent Early Childhood Environmental Rating System (ECERS-R)

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 2018-19 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
93% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
25% Citywide Average

From 2018 School Directories

Pre-K seats
This school offers Dual Language classes in Italian.

For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Contact & Location


Harlem (District 3)
Trains: B Line, C Line to 116th St; 2 Line, 3 Line, A Line, D Line to 125th St
Buses: Bx15, M1, M10, M100, M104, M116, M2, M3, M7, M98


Denise Gomez
Parent Coordinator
Celeste Ortega

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares a building with Future Leaders Institute Charter School
Metal detectors?

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

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