P.S. 96 Richard Rodgers

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
2385 Olinville Avenue
Bronx NY 10467
Phone: 718-652-4959

Our Insights

What’s Special

Music program includes a choir and band

The Downside

Many children miss a month or more of school

PS 96 has served families in Allerton, in the South Bronx, for decades; many of the current parents were students here, and even some grandparents. The school has a robust music program, including a choir, and band, which is rare in elementary school. 

Joan Vetere became principal in fall 2019. In addition to making a decision to add pre-k (Fall 2020), she changed the daily and weekly schedule so teachers have time to meet and plan together—and to observe one another teach in order to exchange ideas. She has worked to build consistency in instruction school-wide.

“Now, if you walk the building, in front of everyone’s door is a schedule and what they’re learning this month,” said assistant principal Christine Torres. And math has a consistent flow that builds from kindergarten through grade 5.

To raise test scores, the staff has revamped its approach to lessons, adopting Envision Math, which emphasizes hands-on and visual learning at a child’s own pace. and Expeditionary Learning, which was used in the upper grades but is now also used in the lower grades. Expeditionary Learning is project-based, learner-centered instruction where students work in small learning groups. Torres said these programs are more rigorous and challenging for students than their previous programs. 

The school takes steps to welcome parents. Parents may visit children’s classes and borrow books from the beautiful school library. Every teacher leads a parent workshop once a month, including art, gym and academic intervention teachers. The principal sends parents a monthly newsletter.

For years, the school was seriously overcrowded. There were portable classrooms on the playground, and the entire 1st-grade attended classes in an annex half a mile away. A new addition with 20 new classrooms was constructed in 2015, uniting all the children of PS 96 under one roof for the first time in more than 20 years.

Chronic attendance is below average for the city; some children miss school because of asthma; others live in temporary housing or homeless shelters—unstable housing situations that contribute to absenteeism.

“Attendance has always been an issue,” said Torres. The staff meet weekly to discuss attendance issues , mentors follow up with children who are absent and the school offers incentives, such as pajama day or super hero day. 

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has small, mixed-age “self-contained” classes for children with severe disabilities, and ICT (integrated co-teaching ) classes that mix children in general education and children with disabilities in one classroom with two teachers. Children with special needs work primarily with specialists inside the classroom, rather than being pulled out, so they don’t miss anything in class, Torres said.  

ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. (Lydie Raschka, web reports and interview, March 2020)



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School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2019-20 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
81% Citywide Average

From 2019-20 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
1% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
80% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From 2019 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
51% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
49% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
93% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
25% Citywide Average

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2019 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
28% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
23% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
28% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
17% Citywide Average

For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Contact & Location


Allerton (District 11)
Trains: 2 Line, 5 Line to Pelham Parkway
Buses: Bx12, Bx12-SBS, Bx22, Bx26, Bx39, BxM11


Joan Vetere
Parent Coordinator
Christine Torres

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.
Metal detectors?

Zone for the 2019-2020 school year. Call school to confirm.

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