P.S. 55 Benjamin Franklin
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Indoor garden and teaching kitchen
Attendance is low; few arts
P.S. 55 Benjamin Franklin in Claremont Village is a neighborhood school serving 3-K through 5th grade students. It boasts a teaching kitchen and an indoor garden, where students learn about sustainability. The school also offers a dual-language program in Spanish and English, designed to make children fluent readers, writers and speakers in both languages.
Principal Luis Torres, a former marine and graduate of the Leadership Academy (the city's fast-track training program for principals) has led PS 55 since 2005. He has worked to create a positive environment for students. While attendance remains a challenge—many students miss at least a month of school—academic achievement has risen in recent years.
The rise in test scores is attributed to increased small group instruction in reading, writing and math, and more consistency in lessons school-wide. Strong teachers are placed on specific grades to model for others and boost instruction, according to the Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP). Children are encouraged to discuss topics in class and these discussions reflected “high levels of thinking and participation,” the Quality Review shows.
The school has extensive social and medical services for children, according to school reports. It has a full-service health clinic, including dental and vision care, social workers and psychologists, and an after-school program that combines academic help and fun activities.
PS 55 has very little in the way of arts, other than a drama program, the Arts in Schools Report shows.
The school has a nice playground. It has shared its building with Bronx Success Academy 2 since 2012.
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. The dual language program requires a separate application process. Some seats may be reserved for children who speak Spanish but English-speaking children are welcome to apply. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, July 2020)