P.S. 333 Manhattan School for Children

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

Unusual level of parent involvement, beautiful science lab

The Downside

No music classes in upper grades

Our Review

Manhattan School for Children, housed in the former Joan of Arc Junior High School building, is a warm and happy place where kids call teachers by their first names and parents are welcome throughout the day. Parents come right to the classroom to drop off their children, and many stay for a few minutes to read a book or chat. A wide corridor serves as an informal meeting place for parents, kids, and teachers during the day.

Manhattan School for Children is a pioneer in including children with special needs (particularly physical challenges) in regular classrooms, and the children are accepting of one another, whether they use a wheelchair or a walker or have difficulty speaking clearly. Classrooms are sunny and cheerful, and there are plenty of books and supplies. A stunning rooftop greenhouse serves as a science lab. The school has a nice wheelchair-accessible playground surrounded by red oak trees and shrubs.

The school places as much emphasis on childrens social and emotional development as it does on academics, and children seem to be unusually kind to one another. The school encourages friendships across the grades and its common to see older children helping younger children. Firmly in the progressive camp, the administration favors learning by doing. For example, kindergartners watch duck eggs hatch in classroom incubatorshooked up to a webcam so they can also watch them at home. Children may build a terrarium in the greenhouse or draw a timeline representing the history of the subway. They also may spend several days on a math problem, learning fractions by imagining they have to divide sandwiches among their classmates.

Some of the classrooms are a bit messy, but Principal Claire Lowenstein says thats part of the plan. Through messiness can come genius, she said.

Lowenstein, a former assistant principal and long-time teacher at the school, was named principal in February 2014, replacing the founding principal, Susan Rappaport, who retired. Lowensteinis working to improve communication with teachers and parents by writing weekly letters and having monthly meetings. She greets children at the entrance in the morning and seems to know every child by name.

The administration believes in the importance of recess, not just as a time to run around but also a time to develop social skills. Recess times are staggered; some children go out to play as early as 9:15 am and others go out after lunch.

The arts offerings are rich, and Manhattan School for Children has full-time teachersfor visual art, dance, drama and storytelling. The school launched a music program in the lower grades in 2015, with the hope of expanding it to upper grades in coming years. Children put on an annual musical with singing and dancing.

For years, some parents have complained that the atmosphere may be too relaxed, but many others defend the school with a passion and are thrilled with the experience their children are getting. While many children once left after 5th grade, students are increasingly staying for middle school. Top students are admitted to some of the citys most selective and demanding high schools, including LaGuardia High School for Music and Art and Performing Arts.

Special education: The school, which is wheelchair-accessible, is at the forefront of "inclusion," integrating disabled children in general education classes. The school goes to great lengths to help disabled children take part in regular classes. For example, a keyboard with pictures allows a child who cannot speak to express himself. Most classes have at least two teachers. The school does not admit severely disabled children from District 75 and does not have segregated or self-contained classes.

Admissions: Admissions are by lottery, limited to District 3. For details, see the school's website. (Clara Hemphill, May 2014, updated with music program in January 2016)

About the students

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

About the school

Shared campus?
This school shares a building with MS 256 and MS 258
Uniforms required?
Metal detectors?
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average


Average daily attendance
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
19% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
50% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
84% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
88% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
45% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
6.4 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
87% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
81% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
86% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
60% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
78% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
82% 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?
39% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
42% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 4 dedicated spaces for Dance, Music, Theater, and Visual arts
This school has 1 licensed art teacher in Music

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
59% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
68% 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?
28% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
86% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Beacon HS and School of the Future HS
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the 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
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
69% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
85% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
88% Citywide Average
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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


Claire Lowenstein
Parent Coordinator
Caren Austen

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