Music and dance in almost every grade
No pre-kindergarten, some large classes
Opened in 2010 to ease overcrowding on the Upper West Side, PS 452 has quickly become one of the best schools in the district. Principal David Scott Parker, former assistant principal at nearby PS 199, has built a school with a thoughtful approach to writing, math, social studies, science and the arts.
The National Dance Institute, a nonprofit organization, offers weekly classes to every student in grades k-4. Music is woven into history and geography lessons; children learn why one part of the country gave birth to bluegrass, another to jazz and blues. Children not only sing in the chorus and learn to play instruments, but they also learn about the physics of sound.
In every class we visited, children seemed happy and engaged in interesting projects. Children move efficiently and quietly from one activity to another, with little wasted time. Theres a tolerance for quirky kids: A child who has trouble sitting on the floor may sit on a wiggle seat (an inflated cushion that allows him to wobble without distracting others) or be assigned active tasks such as wiping down tables or taking the attendance sheet to the office.
Like PS 199, PS 452 has a very active PTA that raises a substantial budget to pay for teaching assistants in some classrooms, periodically, as well as extra arts programs. Almost everything we have that sparkles comes from the PTA, Parker said. Almost every classroom has two adults, including teachers, teaching assistants, teachers aides and student teachers from Teachers College.
Also like PS 199, PS 452 has a well-developed writing program as part of Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Childrens work we saw posted was quite sophisticated, including persuasive essays (with topics such as Trains are the best form of transportation, and Dogs are better than cats) and literary essays analyzing character development in picture books. The Everyday Math Program, developed by the University of Chicago, encourages children to understand the conceptual foundations of math.
Social studies and science are integrated in thematic units such as the bridge study in which children learn the history of how the Brooklyn Bridge was built and the science of what makes bridges stand up. Children make paper models of skyscrapers with the help of Salvadori, a nonprofit group, that offers lessons in architecture and engineering.
In fifth grade, children have one teacher for math and science and another for English and social studies. The arrangement allows teachers to specialize in their subjects and has the effect of putting more emphasis on math and science than many elementary schools manage.
The school shares the William OShea Complex, a former junior high school, with The Anderson School and MS 245 The Computer School. PS 452s spacious, sunny rooms are well-equipped with colorful rugs, classroom libraries, blocks and book bags. There are no pre-kindergarten classes.
In 2016, the administration proposd moving the school to the building that houses PS 191 at 210 West 61st Street, if that school moves, as some have proposed, to a new building nearby. Parker said the plan would allow PS 452 to expand and serve more children, but some parents objected, saying their children could no longer walk to school.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: A SETSS teacher on each grade may work with individual kids and serve as one of two teachers in an ICT (integrated co-teaching) class part of the day. There are no self-contained special education classes, but there is a commitment to ICT on each grade level, and there are OT, PT and speech services.
ADMISSIONS: PS 452 is a zoned school. (Clara Hemphill and Aimee Sabo, January 2016)
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Manhattan NY 10023
Zone for the 2017-2018 school year. Call school to confirm.
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Manhattan, NY 10023