P.S. 91 Bronx
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String orchestra and choir
Lack of trust among staff; low attendance
PS 91 has a robust music program that includes a large after-school string orchestra and a choir. During the school day, students receive music and art lessons at least once week and younger children study dance. Students see Broadway shows about twice a year, and jazz performances through Jazz for Young People on Tour. Parents are invited to assemblies to see their children perform, according to the Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP).
Most students live in the neighborhood and walk to the school's pale brick, 1920's building. A mini-school takes up some space in the yard, but has left ample room for students to play during lunch. Two gym teachers, and after school basketball games, help keep kids active.
The school website has information in several languages. The majority of the students come from Spanish-speaking families, but the school also serves children from Bengali, Chinese, French-Haitian and other backgrounds. It offers a number of bilingual classes throughout the grades, as well as English as a New Language classes for adults.
Many children lack reading skills starting in kindergarten, according to the CEP. The school launched a partnership with Early Reading Matters, to strengthen reading instruction for the youngest. In grades 1-4, staffers from Materials for the Arts work with classroom teachers and students to create hands-on projects, reusing art materials to bring lessons to life.
Despite a mostly effective and experienced staff, the culture and tone here is poor. Most teachers would not recommend the school as a place to work. Teachers say they have little influence over standards for student behavior and only about half say they feel respected by or trust the principal.
Attendance is also an on-going challenge. School data shows more than one-third of the students miss at least a month of school.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has several small “self-contained” classrooms for children with special needs, as well as ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes that combine special needs and general education students in one room with two teachers.
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, June 2020)