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Well-equipped modern building; theater program
Some students would like more challenge, surveys show
PS/MS 194 is an ethnically diverse school serving elementary and middle school students in a modern building that boasts a state-of-the-art gymnasium, auditorium and technology lab. It was founded in 2003 in Westchester Square, the northeast section of the Bronx, in a mix of industrial, commercial and residential areas. The school uses theater as one way to bring together its diverse community.
About one-fifth of the student population is still learning to speak English. The school has seen a greater influx of Arabic and Spanish speakers in recent years, according to a set of yearly goals called the Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP). Other home languages include Bangla, Quechua, Urdu, French and Albanian.
In addition to extra support in the classroom, these students are invited to attend an after-school program and Saturday classes to strengthen their English skills. The parent newsletter is translated into multiple languages, and staff members work with newcomers to assist with basic communication. The building’s wide corridors with alcoves and tables provide space for students to work in small groups.
The school works with The Shubert Foundation/Music Theater International Broadway Junior Program, which helps public schools build theater education programs. The program is in part designed to knit school cultures together in a positive way through the dramatic arts. An after-school program called Ultimate Enrichment provides academic support, arts and sports to kindergarten through 8th grade students.
Academic performance at PS/MS 194 is mixed: the school gets glowing reviews on the city’s Quality Review and it has seen improvement in state test scores in reading and math—which shows up particularly in middle school. Most children stay through 8th grade, according to the parent coordinator. But there is room for growth; some students say teachers don’t challenge them enough in classes, according to the NYC School Survey.
The school has a partnership with the Bronx Institute at Lehman College to help prepare students and their families for the college process, according to the Quality Review. Parents may attend workshops, such as on internet safety, and students meet in small “advisory” groups during the school day to help them gain awareness of high schools and colleges they may wish to attend, what skills they need, and how to apply.
A "District 75" school (PS/MS 168) for children with severe special education needs occupies part of the second floor.
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, November 2019)