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Longer school day and summer help
Attendance needs to improve
PS 179 is a tiny school that serves children as young as 3, in the 3-K program, through 5th grade students. It has a long-time principal, and experienced teachers, who overwhelmingly recommend the school to new families, based on their responses to the annual NYC School Survey.
The school has a ways to go to raise test scores but it is moving in the right direction. One thing that holds students back is low attendance: more than one-third of the children miss at least 18 days of school per year.
Serving a large number of children with high needs is a challenge, according to the yearly set of goals, called the Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP). The school offers longer hours during the school day and extra time in the summer to give students more help with reading and writing.
Parents attend workshops on topics such as how to boost reading skills through singing, poetry and reading aloud. The Children’s Health Fund provides workshops to parents and staff members on attendance and how trauma affects students.
PS 179 has a large Spanish-speaking population, as well as a large number of children with special needs. There are bilingual instruction classes in which students start out learning in both Spanish and English and gradually move to English-only lessons.
Principal Sherry Williams is a respected long-time leader. She grew up in the neighborhood, attending PS 5, PS 161, PS 131, and MS 149, and won a scholarship to attend a private boarding school in New England.
The arts here are limited but children do get involved in doing and watching the arts, mostly theater and dance, in partnership with American Ballet Theater, Ballet Hispanico, Dance Theater of Harlem, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Doing Art Together.
The Eastside House Afterschool program provides care and academic support to students in grades K-5.
PS 179 was founded in 2002, replacing PS 220, a school that was closed because of low academic performance. The building also houses Young Leaders Elementary School.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and a variety of classroom settings to assist children, according to their needs. There is a mixed grade “self contained” class in the upper grades in addition to ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes that mix students with disabilities into general education classrooms.
ADMISSIONS: District 7 is a choice or “unzoned” district. Priority goes to children who live in the area. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, April 2020)