P.S. 304 Early Childhood School
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Strong teaching and thoughtful curriculum
Performance for students with disabilities is low in math
PS 304 in Throgs Neck has a long history of high achievement: experienced, passionate teachers and an administration that really understands how kids learn. All academic areas are strong—reading, writing, social studies, math and science. At the same time, children have a chance to play and to build the social skills they need to be successful in both school and life.
The school gets high marks on the city’s performance dashboard, indicating that top students get the challenges they need while kids who are having trouble get plenty of extra help. Many classes have more than one adult—including teachers, student teachers, parents and classroom aides—so children get individual attention. Children not only learn the written skills they need to master standardized tests, they also learn how to speak and write clearly—skills that are just as important but not as easy to measure.
Kindergarten classrooms have plenty of LEGOs, wooden blocks, trains and dress up corners where children may play together. Children go to art museums and on science-related field trips to the Bronx Zoo, the Bronx Botanical Garden, the Queens Hall of Science, and the Gateway National Park in Jamaica Bay.
Teachers have long followed the Teachers College Reading and Writing program, and stay current by working with coaches or attending workshops. The school has a time-tested and thoughtful approach to reading and writing that includes phonics and word study, small group lessons with a teacher, and independent reading and writing, according to the Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP). Grades 2-5 participate in book clubs and in-depth non-fiction research. Teachers strive to increase children’s enjoyment and confidence in reading and writing, the CEP shows.
Classroom teachers are responsible for reading, writing and math, but specialists teach science and social studies two or three times a week. Fifth-graders have a separate math teacher, according to the CEP. One downside: students with disabilities do not reach the citywide average in math on state test scores.
All grades get instruction in art, and one period of music during the day, such as recorder for 3rd grade. There is an after-school band. Inside Broadway works with pre-K through fifth grade students; each grade performs a production based on a Broadway theme, according to the Arts in Schools Report.
The building is shared with MS 101 and P10, a District 75 program for children with special needs.
Long-time principal Joseph Nobile retired at the end of the 2019-20 school year. His replacement is Walter Nino Filippo Galiano Jr., formerly assistant principal of PS 69 in the Bronx.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers ICT (integrated co-teaching) and self-contained classes, as well as Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS). Some students from P10 attend PS 304 classes, according to the CEP.
ADMISSIONS: Zoned neighborhood School. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, May 2020)