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A welcoming haven in a poor neighborhood.
Too many children with high needs in one building
A decent school in a poor neighborhood, PS 179 strives to give the children of the South Bronx the same high-quality education that children in middle-class neighborhoods receive.
They draw parents into the life of the school, encouraging them to help with homework to an extent that is uncommon in high-poverty schools. One way is through the "Read and Rise" program where parents learn how to boost reading skills through singing, poetry and reading aloud [see photo from a story on News 12 The Bronx]. Parent workshop titles include "stress management," "Different ways to discipline your child" and "You are your child's first teacher."
Principal Sherry Williams is a well-respected leader according to school surveys. She grew up in the neighborhood, attended PS 5, PS 161, PS 131, and MS 149, all nearby, then won a scholarship to attend a private boarding school in New England. She graduated from Simmons College in Boston and returned to teach in the Bronx.
The school has a large Spanish-speaking population, who receive instruction in English as a Second Language, and a large population of children with special needs. According to the school's yearly plan, the numbers of children with high needs is a challenge, and there is never enough money to go around.
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, which was founded as an alternative school in the mid-1990s. Young Leaders has an even higher concentration of children with special needs and almost half the student population is still learning to speak English. (On school surveys, teachers at Young Leaders report there are issues with discipline, order and poor management.)
PS 179 has two pre-K classes. The 4-year-olds visit the kindergarten classes in June in order to become familiar with what a kindergarten class looks like in an elementary school.
Special education: The school offers many services including speech, occupational therapy, a learning specialist, two intervention/prevention teachers, a social worker, a psychologist and a variety of classroom settings to assist children with more or less support, according to their needs.
Admissions: District 7 is a choice district - there are no zoned schools. Priority goes to children who live in the area first. (Lydie Raschka, web reports and school data, August 2014)Read more