P.S. 8 Issac Varian
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Extra support for students
Overcrowding, attendance is low
PS 8 is a large, neighborhood school along the Mosholu Parkway Greenway. The school has earned high marks on its Quality Review for having a positive, safe tone and for its “personalized guidance services and support.”
The large staff, with many veteran teachers, strives to maintain stability and foster a sense of community. The school is overcrowded, with 300 more students than it was designed to serve. Student teachers, parent volunteers, two psychologists, three guidance counselors (one of whom is bilingual), and several assistant principals help reduce the classroom teacher’s load.
The school has increased its visual arts, music and dance instruction to serve specific populations including English Language Learners, students with disabilities and students from low-income families, according to the Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP).
Younger children visit the New York Botanical Garden to study seeds and plants and do hands-on projects. A theater teacher from Flamenco Vivo Carlotta Santana provides instruction in music and dance. Studio in a School brings in visual arts lessons, based on the Arts in Schools Report.
The school has a student council, and takes part in city programs such as Algebra for All and Computer Science for All. Students may take part in a coding team, a recycling team and cooking lessons.
Attendance could improve. Many children miss at least 18 days of school during the year. Classes are large, with an average of 32 children.
The school has a full-time health clinic on the premises. The Montefiore Health Center employs a full-time nurse and pediatrician, as well as psychologists and social workers, who provide a full range of medical care and counseling to the neighborhood. It is open to all PS 8 students, as long as they register.
After-school and Saturday programs are run by the Beacon Program.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are bilingual English-Spanish classes, ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes that mix children with special needs into general education classes and self-contained ENL (English as a New Language) classes. Staffers who speak Spanish and a few other languages are on hand to translate for parents.
ADMISSIONS: Zoned neighborhood school. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, April 2020)