Samara Community School

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
1550 Vyse Avenue
Bronx NY 10460
Phone: 718-860-5332

Our Insights

What’s Special

Projects about nature and the surrounding community; dual language

The Downside

Too early to judge student achievement

Samara Community School is a dual language English and Spanish school where students work on interesting projects involving nature and the surrounding Claremont Village community.

Children visit area parks and the nearby Bronx River to learn about the natural environment, have opportunities to garden and take frequent field trips, particularly to the Bronx Botanical Garden. In a program called Forest School, pre-k and kindergarten children spend one day every other week in the garden’s woodlands, where, regardless of the weather, they observe, do projects and solve problems.

Every year has a theme. First graders, for example, focus on water and have raised trout in their classroom and investigated the problem of garbage in the Bronx River. Second graders study bridges and design their own structures. These investigations and projects culminate in a museum share at the end of the year. The pre-K follows the Reggio Emilia model, in which student interests guide the program. One year, the children were particularly interested in mud, so some of the curriculum revolved around that.

Samara has two music teachers, one a professional percussionist, and so offers choral and instrumental music and a Monday sing-along. Students swim at a nearby Boys and Girls Club; take lessons in capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian art that mixes martial arts and dance; and, from 1st grade up, play tennis every fall.

The dual-language program, which starts in pre-K, offers instruction in English and Spanish, and is designed to make children fluent in both. Children have two teachers—one for each language.

Because Samara is so new, test score data is limited. For the first two years scores were low but principal Danielle Derrig says that she believes reading skills have improved, owing partly to the school’s individualized approach to teaching reading and to a reading program that incorporates reading, spelling and handwriting instruction with specific strategies for helping dyslexic students.

The school embraces four big ideas: be kind, ask questions, work together and never give up. Attendance rates are high, and in a Department of Education survey, 100 percent of teachers said they would recommend the school. Teachers also praised the influence they have at Samara and the high level of cooperation there. Derrig has been principal since Samara opened.

Samara shares a building with Fairmont Neighborhood School, a zoned school serving grades 3-K through 5.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are team teaching classes with a mix of general and special education students for every grade but no self-contained classes for students with special needs.

ADMISSIONS: This school is not zoned. It prioritizes children who live in District 12 or have siblings at the school, but anyone is welcome to apply. It attracts children from throughout the Bronx. (Gail Robinson, from principal interview and web resources, June 2020)


Read more

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 the principal is an effective manager?
86% Citywide Average

From 2019-20 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
0% 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?
86% 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?
50% Citywide Average

What is the Pre-K like?

From the NYC Program Assessment (CLASS and ECERS-R) Database through 2018-2019

Instruction: Teachers ask kids to explain their reasoning when they solve problems
Activities: Children explore art, music, sand/water, dramatic play and more
Language: Teachers talk and listen to kids in a supportive way
Interaction: Teachers ask kids good questions and invite back-and-forth conversation

Who does this school serve?

From 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners
Pre-K seats
3-K seats

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
92% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
26% Citywide Average

From 2020 School Directories

This school offers Dual Language classes in Spanish.

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


Morrisania (District 12)
Trains: 6 Line to Whitlock Ave; 2 Line, 5 Line to 174th St
Buses: Bx11, Bx17, Bx19, Bx21, Bx27, Bx36, Bx4


Danielle Derrig
Parent Coordinator
Maria Pons Vargas

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares a building with PS 314
Metal detectors?

You may also like …

P.S. 6 West Farms

1000 East Tremont Avenue
Bronx, NY 10460

P.S. 67 Mohegan School

2024 Mohegan Avenue
Bronx, NY 10460


  • Is this your school? Please post any news, updates, events, changes, or other information!
  • We welcome questions, open discussions, and disagreements but comments with personal attacks, rude language, or those with seemingly malicious intent will be deleted.
  • Very long comments, those that contain links, or repeat comments may be blocked by our spam filter.
  • Problems? email us at [email protected].
  • Users must comply with our Terms of Use.