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P.S. 69 Journey Prep School

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
560 Thieriot Avenue
Bronx NY 10473
Phone: 718-378-4736
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Our Insights

What’s Special

Nurturing school gets kids excited about learning

The Downside

Classes spread across three buildings; no gym

With its striking, sun-drenched library and flourishing vegetable garden, PS 69 Journey Prep is an inviting place to go to school. Together teachers and the principal work hard to devise strategies to energize and engage students who live in one of the city's poorest neighborhoods.

At a time when many schools use scripted lesson plans, Principal Sheila Durant says she values spontaneity and leaves many decisions to her teachers, who pick and choose from various programs. Teachers work with two coaches -- one in math and one in reading -- and advise one another on what works in the classroom. In the lower grades, teachers can opt for aspects of the Reggio Emilia method, which seeks to harness children's curiosity to help them learn.

PS 69 developed a reputation for being a high-quality school in a tough neighborhood under the previous principal, Alan Cohen. Cohen retired in 2010 but the school's energy and commitment to its students has continued under Durant, who had been the assistant principal. It is a school where the custodian builds a bridge for students to use in science experiments and where two teachers spent the previous evening putting together an engaging video for the next day's class.

Writing is key, even for kindergartners. Students are expected to read independently by the end of kindergarten. Those who don't may be held back, although efforts are made to bring the child along without that. "If any child isnt learning, we need to do something different," Durant says. The school also provides extra math for high-performing students.

Children read a lot of nonfiction, with social studies incorporated into the reading program. Many lessons are interdisciplinary,

On the day we visited, PS 69 was marking National Kale Day. For 4th graders, this involved a trip to the school's garden with the science teacher to record their observations of kale plants (and to discover how, when dried, the vegetable turned into tasty kale chips). Younger children read books about vegetables and wore silly kale hats. One class whipped up a batch of kale juice.

Durant strives to bring a range of experiences to children who might otherwise not have them. A chef comes in once a week to work with students. There is an archery program, and an etiquette class for 5th graders culminates with a sit-down dinner in the library.

The school also has counselors and other staff to help students who may come from troubled homes. It offers peer mediation, where 5th graders try to help students resolve conflicts. Students are repeatedly reminded to be kind to one another. "I want them to be smart but I also want them to be good citizens, good people," Durant said.

Along with the garden, the heart of the school is its vibrantly colored, well-equipped library, created with the help of a $2 million donation from the Robin Hood Foundation. But the school facility has limitations. While grades 2 through 5 are in the main building, 1st grade occupies an annex, and pre-K and kindergarten are in colorful trailers on school grounds. The school does not have a gym so has set up a fitness room.

Special education: PS 69 has team teaching classes that mix general and special education students and two self-contained classes. Durant, a former special education teacher, says she tries to move children out of the self-contained classes, even if they require help from a paraprofessional in the more mainstream classrooms.

Admissions: Neighborhood school. (Gail Robinson, October 2013; updated by phone, August 2016)

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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 2017-18 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
97%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
97%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
94%
85% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
87%
77% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school
6.8

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?
68%
49% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
61%
48% 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 2017-18 Demographic Snapshot

Enrollment
621
Asian
3%
Black
16%
Hispanic
79%
White
1%
Other
1%
Free or reduced priced lunch
89%
Students with disabilities
21%
English language learners
10%

From 2016-17 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
93%
93% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
27%
23% Citywide Average

From 2018 School Directories

Pre-K seats
54

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?
39%
26% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
47%
22% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
39%
27% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
25%
17% Citywide Average


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

Contact & Location

Location

Clason Point (District 8)
Buses: Bx27, Bx36, Bx39, Bx5

Contact

Principal
Sheila Durant
Parent Coordinator
KRYSTAL HAMILTON

Other Details

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.

Zone for the 2017-2018 school year. Call school to confirm.

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