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Chess, dance, band/orchestra; Spanish dual language
Working to improve school culture and tone
MS 390 offers a Spanish-English dual language program and an outstanding chess team that has placed among the top ten teams nationwide, according to the school website. In the dual language program, teachers provide instruction in English one day, and in Spanish the next in most academic classes. The goal is for students to be able to read, write, talk and listen and in two languages.
Every student has the use of a laptop and an iPad during their time at MS 390. They may participate in a robotics lab, and explore animation, website design and other digital arts. Students may study dance and a band or orchestra instrument such as violin or cello.
The school has struggled to maintain a safe and orderly atmosphere but there has been a decline in the number of serious incidents in recent years, according to the Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP). Peer mediation and Restorative Justice programs help students discuss conflicts before they escalate. While some teachers have concerns about order and discipline, most would recommend the school to other families, school surveys show.
Test scores are moving in the right direction no matter where students are academically when they arrive. Coaches work with each grade to support teachers and students, especially students learning English and those with a disability. An online reading program has improved reading comprehension, and the volume of writing has increased, according to the city’s Quality Review.
MS 390 offers an honors program (Excel Academy) and a high school-level (Regents) track for high-achievers, as well as preparation for the specialized high school admissions test (SHSAT).
The school lists frequent parent workshops on the school calendar. Adults may take English as a second language classes in the evenings, computer workshops on Saturdays and training on how best to support their children at home.
After school activities include band, chorus, poetry, drama, dance and martial arts, in addition to visual arts and other sports.
The school is located in the University Heights neighborhood in a sprawling complex that includes a main building constructed in 1938 and a modern addition built in the 1980s.
MS 390 shares the building with a tiny elementary school, PS 396, which has an ASD Nest program for children on the autism spectrum, and P10, a District 75 program for children with severe disabilities. An on-site health clinic is open to students and their families.
ADMISSIONS: In addition to the regular zoned program, the school has 50 seats in its Excel Academy. Priority to District 10 applicants who sign in at an event. Spanish Dual Language is open Bronx-wide. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, August 2019)