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P.S. 55 Benjamin Franklin
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Plenty of male mentors for boys.
Very needy population.
Adjacent to a public housing project, PS 55 serves many children of immigrants from Africa, Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico. Some children live in homeless shelters, some are in foster care, and some are being raised by grandparents.Attendance is a challenge, and staff members say iit's difficult to get parents to come to meetings at the school.
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 hard to create positive role models for children, particularly boys. His office door is always open to children, and he can often be seen with his arm around a child's shoulder. The school has a number of male teachers.
The school has extensive social and medical services for children. It has a full-service health clinic, four social workers and an after school program with that combines academic help and fun activities.
Staff members say a number of children have emotional issues and behavior problems. More than 40 percent of teachers responding to the Learning Environment Survey say order and discipline are an issue.
The school has a nice new playground. The halls of the building are dreary, but some classrooms are sunny and nicely decorated. The school shares the building with Bronx Success Academy 2, part of the Harlem Success network of charter schools. (Bronx Success Academy 2 moved into the top two floors of the building in August 2012, into space formerly occupied by Mott Hall III.)
Special education: About 125 students receive special education services and a large proportion are placed in self-contained classes.
Admissions: Neighborhood school. (Clara Hemphill, interviews and DOE stats, February 2012. Updated August 2012 to reflect addition of Bronx Success Academy.)Read more