M.S. 324 Patria Mirabal
Experienced principal has a nice rapport with students
Below-average test scores in reading
MS 324 has a nice tone and both kids and teachers seem happy to be there. Children are allowed to be children, with time to play on the playground after lunch or flop on a sofa in their classroom to read a good book. Some of the classrooms have an elementary-school feel, with colorful rugs and comfortable chairs creating a cozy space for reading and socializing.
The school has a stable teaching staff and a collegial atmosphere. There is a nice rapport between children and faculty, who chat informally between classes.
The school serves a wide range of children, including many Spanish speaking immigrants and children who receive special education services. The school has average test scores for math and science and some 8th graders take the algebra Regents exam. Reading scores are below average, a reflection of the fact that many children are still learning English.
Located in a bright and colorful building shared with two other schools, MS 324 benefits from the leadership of an experienced principal, Janet Heller, who has been at the school since its founding in 2004. She was also principal of the IS 90 building for three years before it was divided into smaller schools, including MS 324. The three schools in the old IS 90 building, including KIPP Academy Washington Heights and MS 319, share space amicably.
The Childrens Aid Society offers after school activities for all children in the building, including a program in which children learn to repair bicycles. Childrens Aid also offers evening classes for parents and healthcare for children, including a dentist, a nurse practitioner and social worker.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers a wide range of special education services, including self-contained classes. The school also serves children from District 75, the citywide district for those with severe disabilities. One mother of a boy with autism said she was thrilled by the energy and thoughtfulness of the staff.
ADMISSION: District 6 choice. Prospective parents are welcome to visit time. The principal say she has an open door policy. (Clara Hemphill, June 2014)
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Manhattan NY 10032