Mott Hall II
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Welcoming school with diverse student body
Quirky building has a gym with padded pillars
Mott Hall II takes pride in being the most diverse middle school in District 3. “I was amazed by their ability to take children of different races, ethnic backgrounds and academic levels and make this into one school family,” one parent wrote InsideSchools. “Parents and staff work together for the betterment of all the children.”
Both teachers and kids seem happy to be here, and parents praise the kindness and enthusiasm of the staff. “My child is academically challenged but not to the point of being miserable,” a parent wrote. Marlon Lowe, who became principal in 2013, gets high marks from teachers on school surveys.
Academics are strong. All 8th graders take 9th grade Regents exams in Living Environment and algebra, giving them a head start on high school. All children study music; 7th and 8th graders have instruction in dance. Students take Latin, technology and visual art. They put on a musical-theater performance and two talent shows every year. Students may also audition for the school choir.
Housed on the 4th and 5th floors of a quirky historic building shared with PS 165, Mott Hall II has soaring ceilings and plenty of natural light—as well as narrow halls, ancient steam radiators and columns in the middle of the gym. Mott Hall II expanded its enrollment to more than 400 in 2018 when it absorbed the middle school students from PS 165, formerly a PK-8 school which now serves grades PK to 5.
Although admissions is screened, and students must take a test at the school to be considered, Mott Hall II serves a range of children with different academic abilities. It has top-performing students, as well students whose skills are below grade level. About one-quarter receive special education services, and handful are still learning English. Students with disabilities have test scores well above the citywide average.
The staff take pains to make children of different family incomes feel welcome and cared for. For example, the school offers extra clothing, laptop computers, and help with transportation to a handful of students in temporary housing, according to the Comprehensive Educational plan.
The guidance counselor is “fantastic,” one parent said. There is also a school counselor to assist students. Graduates attend a range of public and private high schools, with Beacon, Manhattan/Hunter, and Frank McCourt among the most popular.
Admissions: District 3 choice. The school looks at a child’s 4th grade report card, attendance and academic and personal behaviors; applicants take a reading assessment and fill out a learning preferences survey at the school in January. Mott Hall II is part of the District 3 “diversity in admissions” pilot and gives priority for 25 percent of its seats to applicants who are eligible for free or reduced price lunch or who are lower-performing. (Clara Hemphill, web reports, February 2019)Read more