P.S. 43 Jonas Bronck
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Music instruction in all grades
Attendance needs to improve
At PS 43, the Jonas Bronck School, students learn by working together on lessons and projects. Located in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx, the school serves students in grades 3-K through 5.
In most classes students work in groups to tackle assignments and to discuss ideas, according to the school’s most recent Quality Review. For instance, before reading a book, third-graders share questions they have based on the title; while reading it, they share notes they jot down about important details of the story. While group work is evident throughout the school, not all teachers weave in enough opportunities for students to have rich discussions with each other, according to the Quality Review.
Teachers strive to connect lessons to real-life experiences. As a part of a math assignment fifth-graders worked in groups to calculate the costs of two potential field trips and then based on their findings, each child wrote a letter advocating for their preferred choice. Second-graders study how geography influences where people live and learn the differences between physical and political maps, according to the Quality Review.
Overall, teachers give very high marks to longtime principal, Dr. Giovanna Delucchi for her leadership and willingness to involve teachers in decision-making, according to the NYC School Survey.
Beginning in 3rd grade, classes are departmentalized—essentially a modified middle school format. The idea is that students learn better when taught by a teacher who spends most or all of the day focusing on specific subjects. Students have one teacher for English and social studies and another for math and science.
School-wide there has been a push to provide social-emotional supports. Students start their day off with a class-wide morning meeting, which helps teachers keep tabs on students’ needs and sets the tone for the classroom; during the day students may participate in restorative group activities that focus on mindfulness and meditation, according to the school’s annual Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP).
The parent coordinator hosts monthly family events such as a multicultural dinner that draws a big turnout and fosters a sense of community.
PS 43 serves many recent immigrants with Spanish as the predominant language spoken at home. Two full-time English as new language specialists work with students in their classrooms and pull them out for individual and small group support.
Overall student attendance falls below the citywide average. One challenge the school highlighted in its CEP is that some students who excel leave for charter schools and new students who fill in the vacant seats tend to arrive performing below grade level and sometimes overage for their grade.
Through a partnership with Education Through Music, students in all grades enjoy music instruction from a full-time music teacher. Lessons in the younger grades focuses on choral music. Starting in 4th grade, students learn to play instruments.
An extended-day learning program funded by the United Way that provides academic instruction, homework help and enrichment activities is open to students in some grades, which may vary by year. Additional recreational activities are open to students in all grades after school. To accommodate working parents, there are full-day programs offered onsite when schools are otherwise closed for the holidays. Parents may also drop off their children as early as 7 am to participate in an early morning athletic program run by the gym teacher.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school provides SETTS (special education teacher support services) as well as self-contained and ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes.
ADMISSIONS: Lottery. Open to District 7 students. (Laura Zingmond, interview and DOE reports, (Laura Zingmond, December 2019)Read more