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Middle School High School

P.S. 125 Ralph Bunche

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
425 West 123rd Street
Manhattan NY 10027
Phone: 212-666-6400
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Our Insights

What’s Special

Nice pre-kindergarten classes, small classes allow for individualized learning, swimming pool

The Downside

Poor attendance, no licensed phys ed teacher, low enrollment means a limited budget

A tiny school with a sweet atmosphere, PS 125 shows how a multiracial group of parents can work together to improve their neighborhood school—even in a district with few good options.

"I remember parents would get together in the park and talk about 'Where do we go?'" said Tomoi Zeimer, whose child now attends PS 125. "Either it's a super-expensive private school or a really low-rated public school. We thought, 'Is there a way that we can go into a school and make it better?'"

PS 125 has long had a popular Pre-k, but many parents left for kindergarten. That's partly because the upper grades had a traditional approach to education, not the play-based or child-centered approach that many parents said they wanted. "There were so many parents looking for a progressive choice, but one didn't exist in the district," said Daiyu Suzuki, father of two PS 125 pupils.

Parents lobbied the principal and superintendent to adopt a less scripted approach to teaching. The principal, Reginald Higgins, agreed, and enlisted Julie Zuckerman, the principal of Castle Bridge School in Washington Heights, to serve as a mentor. Higgins worked with Borough of Manhattan Community College to help revise the curriculum and coach teachers.

Higgins plans to introduce the progressive techniques one grade at a time, beginning with the youngest children. His plan seems to be working: On our visit, the lower grades had excellent teachers, engaged kids, and beautifully equipped classrooms, and the upper grade teachers seemed excited by the prospect of change. Enrollment is increasing after a long decline.

Attendance is well below average and test scores have room for improvement. But our visits convinced us the school is moving in the right direction. "We haven't seen a final product yet," said Suzuki. "We're a community in the making."

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has both self-contained and ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes.

ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. (Mahalia Watson and Clara Hemphill, April 2015; updated August 2016)

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School Stats

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

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2018-19 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
83% Citywide Average

From 2017-18 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
1% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
80% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From 2018 State ELA+Math Results Summary

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?
49% Citywide Average

What is the Pre-K like?

From this school's most recent Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

Instruction: Teachers ask kids to explain their reasoning when they solve problems

From this school's most recent Early Childhood Environmental Rating System (ECERS-R)

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 2018-19 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
93% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
25% Citywide Average

From 2018 School Directories

Pre-K seats

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2018 State ELA+Math Results Summary

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


Morningside Heights (District 5)
Trains: 1 Line, A Line, B Line, C Line, D Line to 125th St
Buses: Bx15, M10, M100, M104, M11, M116, M2, M3, M4, M5, M60-SBS


Reginald Higgins
Parent Coordinator
Griselda Hernandez

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares its building with Columbia Secondary School and KIPP STAR Charter Middle School
Metal detectors?

Zone for the 2019-2020 school year. Call school to confirm.

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