M.S. 258 Community Action School

Grades 6-8
Staff Pick Staff Pick for Special Ed
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What’s Special

Supportive teachers offer extra help and make lessons relevant.

The Downside

No music teacher.

Our Review

Students at MS 258 sit up a bit straighter in their chairs when a visitor enters the classroom, yet their attention does not waver from the task at hand - whether it's reading, computing percentages, or learning the tango before a trip to the New Victory Theater. Classrooms are tidy, and students are attentive and polite, wearing light blue polo shirts and dark blue slacks. "This is not a school to play with," said an 8th grader, who confessed he misbehaved at his previous school, but no one took notice, unlike at MS 258. "They take education seriously."

This well-run school displays a winning mix of structure and free expression and earns "A" ratings from the city year after year. Teachers and parents readily say, "I love this school," and a volunteer who meant to stay only a few months is still around four years later. Founding Principal John Curry is outside every day - at the bus stop, at the deli, even phoning a father to let him know his child is on his way home. "We are there for them," said Curry. [In 2017 Curry left the school for a position at Department of Education headquarters at Tweed. Andrew Sullivan, the longtime assistant principal, became principal.]

Indeed, staff members often stay late and volunteer to help with homework. "They help you walk through the system," said a father from west Africa, who mentioned the time the parent coordinator gave him the number to call to get his child's broken glasses replaced.

In classes, teachers lead relevant discussions that make students sit up and take notice - even if they are a bit passive when it comes to speaking up. One social studies teacher brings up current events, like the Trayvon Martin killing, to draw students out, and it works: "He makes connections with the world, so it's easier to figure it out," grinned a 7th grader.

While reading scores are not as high as math scores, many students say reading is their favorite subject. "[My English teacher] is the only teacher in all eight years of school who got me into reading," said an 8th grader, who got hooked on a book about basketball player LeBron James. Every child reads 20-30 minutes a day and each room has a range of books, including the Nancy Drew series, and graphic novels, along with harder books for mature readers. Children write multiple drafts on essays and reports and learn how to edit each other's papers.

According to the Learning Environment Survey, half of the students said there is some rowdy behavior, but we did not see any on our visit. Students say misbehavior is dealt with through "send outs" - a short time out in another classroom, or loss of privileges, like trips. Some said the school is light on actual community action. "We don't do a lot of service for it to be named that," said an 8th grader.

The building is shared with MS 256 and Manhattan School for Children, a laid-back K-8 school. Some parents grumble that staff members from MSC are not as visible after school as those from CAS, but otherwise they seem to get along fine. After-school clubs include chess, cross-country, soccer, drama, student government, photography and yoga.

Popular high schools include Young Women's Leadership Academy, Manhattan iSchool, East Side Community and Pace, while a handful go to Beacon.

Special education: The school has long been at the forefront of "inclusion," integrating disabled children in general education classes with two teachers. There is also a classroom for children who are cognitively impaired. On the day of our visit, these kids were going to the Special Olympics. All children are mixed together for recess, camping trips and field trips.

Admissions: Middle school choice process. Children are interviewed. Involved parents are a plus, as are children who have a history of working well with others, but the principal stressed that staff work indiscriminately with every child who is admitted. (Lydie Raschka, May 2012; updated with new principal August 2017)

About the students

Enrollment
223
Asian
1.4%
Black
45.7%
Hispanic
42.6%
White
9.9%
Other
0.5%
Free or reduced priced lunch
57%
Students with disabilities
27%
English language learners
2%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares a building with MS 256 and PS 333
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
88%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
94%
93% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
18%
20% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
100%
78% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
51%
50% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
93%
83% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
47%
43% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
16.8
6.0 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
87%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
86%
89% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
86%
83% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
70%
72% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
100%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
100%
87% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Test scores

How many students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
31%
27% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
45%
35% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 2 dedicated spaces for Theater and Visual arts
This school has 1 licensed art teacher in Visual arts (part-time)

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
86%
76% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
60%
61% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
80%
72% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Algebra I
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
10%
26% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
86%
84% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Essex Street Academy, Manhattan Business Academy, and NYC iSchool
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
9%
42% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
Average math score for self-contained students
2.32
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.4
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.37
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.61
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
79%
68% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
93%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
97%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
93%
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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Location

154 West 93 Street
Manhattan NY 10025
Upper West Side (District 3)
Trains: 1, 2, 3, B, C to 96th St
Buses: M10, M104, M106, M11, M5, M96

Contact

Phone
212-678-5888
Principal
Andrew Sullivan
Parent Coordinator
Karla Fittipaldi