P.S. 175 City Island
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Cheery close-knit environment
Tough commute for off-islanders
PS 175 is a small k-8 school with small classes and a cheery, close-knit environment. It's located on City Island, a tiny Bronx community surrounded by the Long Island Sound that's connected to the mainland by a bridge. Most students who attend are local residents who stay through the 8th grade.
Principal Julie Porras took the helm in 2019, replacing longtime principal Amy Lipson Ellis. Prior to her arrival at PS 175, Porras was an assistant principal at PS 76, The Bennington School.
Class schedules are designed to ease students into the middle school experience. In grades k to 3, students stay with the same teacher all day—a typical elementary school format. In grades 4 to 6, students have two teachers, one for English and social studies, and the other for math and science. Seventh- and 8th-graders change classes for each subject.
What you don’t see in classes are lots of worksheets or textbooks. In the early grades, children learn to read by selecting appropriate books from well-stocked classroom libraries. In the upper grades students learn from many sources such as news articles, diaries, historical documents and fiction. They also write a lot on a range of topics. In a kindergarten class we observed, the writing topic of the day was my favorite thing to do in school. In 5th grade, students were comparing and contrasting Cinderella stories from different cultures.
We saw teachers tailoring assignments to students’ skill levels. For instance, as part of their study of the Salem witch trials, 7th-graders were assigned one of two books: Advanced students tackled The Crucible, while others read A Break with Charity, a more manageable, but still grade-appropriate historical novel. Students then worked together to stage a mock witch trial.
In several science classes, students seemed to enjoy working together, whether it was experimenting with yeast to identify the presence of other chemicals (5th grade) or role-playing representatives from different countries—United States, Russia, China and India—duringa class-wide debate on climate change (8th grade).
For math, lessons combine hands-on work to help students understand concepts, and a lot of practice and drilling to build computational fluency.
Qualifying 8th-graders take high school level coursework in Earth science and algebra.
Teaching artists from Bronx Arts Ensembles work with students in all grades. Middle school students participate in overnight trips to places such as Greenkill Environmental Center, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington D.C.
All students have to leave the island for high school. Some graduates attend Catholic high schools, but many choose public high schools in Manhattan and the Bronx
There is a free sports and arts after-school program for students in grades 6 to 8. A very small program run by Mosholu Montefiore Community Center provides after-school childcare for elementary students who cannot be picked up or walk home on their own at the end of the school day.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes and SETSS.
ADMISSIONS: Zoned, neighborhood school. (Laura Zingmond, visited December 2015; updated via DOE reports, January 2020)Read more