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Middle School High School

P.S. 154 Harriet Tubman

Grades: 3-K, Pre-K, K-5
250 West 127 Street
Manhattan NY 10027
Phone: 212-864-2400

Our Insights

What’s Special

Strong community partnerships

The Downside

High teacher turnover, shared space

PS 154 in Harlem benefits from several innovative community partnerships, a resourceful principal and some strong classroom teachers. Alarge number of chronically absent kids, an encroaching charter school and lack of resources have nevertheless stymied the schools attempts to raise test scores and retain some of its younger staff.

The school has two pre-kindergarten classes with new faculty that were assigned in 2013. Although the pre-k teachers had previously taught older children, the classrooms appeared well managed and we saw some creative hands-on projects. In a math-measuring unit on feet, kids used photos and paintings to make collages of their feet and sized them for shoes. The teachers stay true to Department of Education suggested curriuclum for pre-k, incorporating a mix of work at centers or stations, and projects that the children direct themselves.

For the rest of the school, reading and math are definitely the focus. The school is part of the Carmel Hill literature program in which students are assessed and guided through their reading with progress-monitoring software. We saw some very traditional phonics work being taught in the classroom, and we were impressed by many nonfiction books the kindergartners had read. On the day of our visit, the kindergartners seemed very calm and engaged in their literature lesson.

The schools many partnerships encourage this love of reading and storytelling. The organization Behind the Book brought in New York Times-bestselling author Andrea Pinkney to inspire 3rd- and 5th-graders in creating their very own books; while the Apollo Theater worked with 5th-graders on an oral history project about Harlem. Children interviewed elders about their lives in the neighborhood and performed their stories aloud on the Apollo stage.Harlem Childrens Zone provides after school activities.

Longtime Principal Elizabeth Jarrett says she does not believe in using classroom time for state test prep. Instead, practice for state tests for the older children is done after school and during a Saturday program. The school does provide its own regular assessments for reading, which are built into the reading program. For math, teachers use an expanded version of Pearson's GoMath!, which includes performance-based assessments.

Math scores for the school as a whole have been on the decline. Jarrett says she let go of the schools math coach because she couldnt justify the expense given the downward trend of the scores. Weekend tutoring remains available at the school, and Jarrett says kids are incentivized to attend with athletic games and activities.

Jarrett, who interacted warmly with several kids during our visit (some even gave her hugs), has been with PS 154 since 1996. She is frank about the schools problems and admits that teacher turnover is high. The budget is tight, and Jarrett says she is constantly training new teachers who are then recruited to work in the suburbs. Only slightly more than half of teachers surveyed in the Learning Environment Survey thought she was an effective manager.

Some teachers had good control of their classes; one or two classes in particular were filled with students who were actively participating and engaged. We did hear raised voices from some adults, however.

Tensions with Democracy Prep Charter School over shared spaces are the school's next hurdle. As of 2014, the charter occupied most of the third floor of the building, but PS 154 will need to give up some rooms as Democracy expands to its full capacity as a middle school. Special services such as ESL and SETSS will be affected most, Jarrett says.

Special education: The school offers self-contained classes and SETSS.

Admissions: Neighborhood school. The school has two pre-kindergarten classrooms and will add an additional kindergarten in fall 2014. (Mahalia Watson, June 2014)

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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
3-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
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
28% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
17% Citywide Average

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

Contact & Location


Harlem (District 5)
Trains: 2 Line, 3 Line, A Line, B Line, C Line, D Line to 125th St
Buses: Bx15, Bx33, M1, M10, M100, M104, M11, M2, M3, M60-SBS, M7


Elizabeth Jarrett
Parent Coordinator
Monique Kennedy

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares the building with Democracy Prep Endurance Charter School
Metal detectors?

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

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