P.S. 307 Luisa Pineiro Fuentes School of Science and Discovery
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Science helps new immigrants learn English
Cramped facilities, no playground
PS 307 offers a richer science curriculum than most elementary schools. Children do experiments in class three times a week and go on trips to the American Museum of Natural History, the Bronx Botanic Garden, or Green Meadow Farm in Queens.
The vast majority of students speak Spanish at home. Teachers and administrators say science is key to helping new immigrants learn English, because children pick up academic vocabulary by talking to one another about the experiments. For example, a child who doesn’t speak English may use a balance in class, and learn the word “balance” in the process.
Children may study the life cycle of butterflies, or learn about gravity by rolling marbles down ramps, or find out about heat transfer by warming pennies in their hands (and comparing them to cold pennies they haven’t touched). They make electrical circuits with wires and batteries, scratch different minerals to find out which is the hardest, and study live ants housed in classroom ant farms.
In math, teachers lead “number talks,” in which a teacher presents a short problem that children must solve in their heads; these aim to help children think nimbly and quickly about numbers, according to the Quality Review.
The school offers arts residencies. Third, 4th and 5th grade students participate in a theater residency with teaching artists from The New Victory Theater and attend theater performances there. Second and 3rd grade students work with Marquis Studios on circus arts and Latin percussion. Kindergarten and 1st grade students study dance, music and rhythm from around the world. Each residency ends with a performance for families, according to the Arts in Schools Report. There is also an afterschool chorus for grades 3-5.
Teachers have struggled to bring state test scores up to the citywide average. While attendance is good, more than half the teachers say discipline and order are hard to maintain in school, according to NYC School Surveys.
Housed in a former synagogue, the building has cramped, windowless classrooms, narrow hallways and no playground. The school is named for the founding principal who died in March 2012.
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, May 2020)