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River East Elementary

Grades: 3-K, Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
2351 First Avenue
Manhattan NY 10035
Phone: 212-348-2208

Our Insights

What’s Special

Small cheery school with engaging curriculum including computer programming

The Downside

Far from the nearest subway

River East is a tiny school with a progressive bent and a warm sense of community. Teachers encourage children to explore their interests and be independent; parents are invited to weekly school-wide assemblies and get regular updates on their childrens progress. The school offers a nice range of activities such as ceramics, swimming, dance, violin and computer coding.

Founded in 1982 as a progressive school modelled after Central Park East I, River East remains true to its roots, but has long since settled into its own identity. Test prep is minimal and teachers weave lots of hands-on activities into lessons, but students are taught and expected to master foundation skills too. For instance teachers send home weekly, personalized updates for each child in their class, identifying a specific skill the child needs to work on as well as suggestions for how the family can help at home.

"We're small and that's part of our mission," said former Principal Rob Catlin, who left in 2016 to work on teacher effectiveness at the Department of Education. Mike Panetta took the helm after five years as Catlin's assistant principal. "He's fantastic," Catlin said.

Class size is low in all grades and many classes have two teachers. Attendance and chronic absenteeism hover around the citywide average and are a challenge to improve because many students travel from outside of District 4, from the Bronx and West Harlem.. To ensure struggling students don't fall through the cracks, each staff member mentors a child who needs some extra attention--whether its because of an academic or behavior problem or personal strife at home.

The school uses the Teachers College Reading and Writing Curriculum, which encourages students to read a large amount of books of their choosing and at their skill level, as well as write and revise multiple drafts of work on a variety of topics. Teachers also draw from other curricula to weave in explicit instruction in phonics, spelling and vocabulary.

For math, teachers collaborate to write their own curriculum, drawing from a range of programs including Investigation s, Envision and EngageNY. A school-wide computer coding curriculum and 5th-grade robotics reinforce the critical soft skills children need to be good in math such as following multi-step instructions, tolerating frustration and grappling with the process of trial and error.

Beyond core academics, the school offers enrichment activities through partnerships with local organizations. The 92nd Street Y supports vocal music instruction, 5th-grade Lego Robotics and ceramics made in the schools own kiln. Students learn to play the violin through Harlem School of Musics Opus 118 program. Students learn to swim at Asphalt Green.

River East is located in the northern section of East Harlem, a block from the East River and shares a building with PS 206. Despite a long walk to the closest subway, the school draws students from all over District 4 and some travel from other parts of Manhattan, as well as the Bronx and Queens.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT classes and SETSS.

ADMISSIONS: River East is a non-zoned school. Top priority goes to District 4 residents who have a sibling currently enrolled in grades k-5, however the school typically has room for students from outside of District 4 who do not have a sibling at the school. (Laura Zingmond, November 2015; new principal update, 2016)

Read more

School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From the 2020-21 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
86% Citywide Average

From the 2019-20 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
0% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From the 2020-21 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
86% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From the New York State 2021 -22 Assessment Database

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?
50% Citywide Average

What is the Pre-K like?

From the NYC Program Assessment (CLASS and ECERS-R) Database through 2019-2020

Instruction: Teachers ask kids to explain their reasoning when they solve problems
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 the 2021-22 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners
Pre-K seats
3-K seats

From the 2020-21 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
92% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
26% Citywide Average

From the 2020 School Directories

How does this school serve special populations?

From the New York State 2021 -22 Assessment Database

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
28% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
23% Citywide Average

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

Contact & Location


East Harlem (District 4)
Buses: Bx15, M100, M101, M116, M15, M15-SBS, M35


Michael Panetta
Parent Coordinator
Stephanie Rodriguez

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares the building with PS 206
Metal detectors?

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