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Well-run school with a happy tone; Dancing Classrooms
Some students miss at least a month of school
PS 291 is a well-run elementary school with experienced teachers who overwhelmingly recommend the school to new families, according to NYC School Surveys. It is located in a bright, modern building shared with PS/MS 15 in University Heights.
The visual and performing arts have played an important part in the school community for years. The primary partnerships are with Dancing Classrooms and DreamYard Project (theater and visual arts), according to the Arts in Schools Report.
The Quality Review gives the school high marks for its positive tone, however, instruction is an area of growth; state test scores in reading and math have been declining since 2017.
To improve, teachers use small group instruction, grouping children in class, and making use of small round tables in the hallway, so students can discuss topics in greater depth. Children rotate to various “stations” to complete a variety of tasks either with a partner, with a few peers, or independently.
This gives children more opportunities to talk in class, an asset for kids learning to speak English. Almost one third of the students are English language learners. These students are served in bilingual classes and in general education with extra support. They use tablets with software to practice vocabulary, in addition to tools such as magnetic letters, alphabet charts, dry erase markers, whiteboards and activity sheets, the Report says.
Each classroom is equipped with whiteboards, computers and tablets. In math classes, students use an online math program to work on lessons at their own pace. Students use laptops in addition to hands-on experiments to do research projects in science.
Older students create a plan for a business of their choice, such as a pizzeria or a taco truck. They create surveys and collect data, design a logo and business cards, write up a plan and determine a marketing strategy using music, video or other arts mediums, according to the Quality Review Report.
The school faces challenges; the numbers of students with disabilities has risen since 2010. About 100 students live in temporary housing. The school has low attendance compared to the citywide average: more than one-third of the students miss at least a month of school. Teachers work to stay in touch with parents and caregivers and celebrate good attendance.
ADMISSIONS: Zoned neighborhood school. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, April 2020)