P.S. 76 The Bennington School
Share this school
Band, chorus, theater, dance
Some children miss at least a month of school
A large peach brick building with tall windows, PS 76 commands a street corner in the working-class neighborhood of Allerton. A few staff members attended the school as children and it has served generations of local residents—who work as nurse's aides, teachers, city workers, and more—as well as children from several homeless shelters in the area.
One of the perks of this large school is its fine music program including a band, rare in elementary school, and the staging of musical theater productions. Students receive art instruction, and younger children learn dance through a partnership with Alvin Ailey.
State test scores in reading and math are well below the citywide average. Teachers here are less experienced than at most city schools and one challenge they face is ensuring that all students are reading on or above grade level before moving onto the next grade, according to the Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP).
To boost skills, there are two periods of reading and two periods of math daily, plus an extra period of phonics and word work using a structured reading program. Students compile portfolios with samples of their work in reading and math, to show how they’ve grown and improved. Teachers are looking more closely at tests to see where students need the most help, the CEP shows.
Students learning to speak English and students with disabilities have not made real progress in recent years. And attendance has been a struggle; some children miss at least a month of school. The school hosts an after school program to assist children who need more help.
To meet the needs of high-achievers, the administration added a "top" class in each grade in 2016 for children who scored 3 or 4 (out of 4) on state tests.
The school’s bilingual parent coordinator, Gloribel Rivera Peralta, translates for Spanish-speaking parents and enlists the help of English-speaking Arabic parents. She is a bridge to the community, helping parents check out books, write a resume or use computers at the local library.
"They know we're in it with our hearts," Rivera Peralta said.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has three "self-contained" classrooms for students with special needs, plus team-taught classes that mix general education students and those with special needs in one classroom.
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, March 2020)