P.S. 56 Norwood Heights
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Arts and family programs
Large class sizes in the upper grades
PS 56 is a well-regarded neighborhood school offering students an array of interesting programs and fostering close ties with families.
Although almost all of PS 56's students are low-income, they do well on state standardized tests, scoring considerably higher than average for their district and above average for New York State as a whole. English language learners do particularly well.
Principal Maureen O’Neill seems to be well-regarded by teachers and families. Teachers say they look forward to their workday and would recommend the school to other teachers and families. The faculty sees the students as well behaved, respectful of one another and challenged by their work.
PS 56 offers Saturday academies for students and English language classes for parents. During the school day, according to PS 56’s website, students may participate in a speech competition or Skype with children in other countries among other activities. An on-line reading program stresses non-fiction geared to each student’s reading level, while all K-5 students participate in the Junior Great Books programs, in which they read and analyze classic literature.
PS 56 provides several music programs, including violin instruction for 4th and 5th graders, and a vocal program in conjunction with the Metropolitan Opera Guild/Urban Voices for students in grade 3 through 5. The school has a partnership with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, which includes dance instruction, assemblies and a Family Dance Night.
A new wing that opened in 2016 eased overcrowding at the school while offering a room that doubles as a gym and auditorium, music and art facilities and improved outdoor space. Some classes remain large, though, because of new housing in the area.
ADMISSIONS: This is a zoned school. (Gail Robinson, from web reports, January 2020)