PS/MS 8 Robert Fulton

Grades K-8
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

High-performing school in a high-income neighborhood; innovative partnerships, projects and math program

The Downside

Overcrowding in elementary; middle school in shared building with metal detectors

Our Review

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Brooklyn Heights, PS 8 has active parents, an imaginative curriculum and a special focus on social studies. It hums along like a well-serviced vehicle. MS 8, the middle school founded in 2012, is several blocks away on the fourth floor of the George Westinghouse campus at 105 Tech place (718 875-1021).

Thematic social studies units are at the heart of the curriculum at both sites. Second-graders create a "Box City" of restaurants, banks, a hotel and even an Irish pub from cardboard boxes, and learn about community, business and architecture in the process. Each "citizen" is given $100 per day to "live" in the city and must figure out how to pay taxes.

Fifth-graders learn to argue for a cause they believe in as part of Project Citizen, a program designed to encourage participation in government. One group was avidly seeking more physical education time—PS 8 students only get one gym period per week—citing research that shows too many children are obese.

Disappointed with the city math curriculum, the PTA purchased Bridges in Mathematics, the first public school in the city to adopt it. The program emphasizes manipulatives, such as counters, rulers and other tools to help kids visualize math. 

The PTA has raised close to $1 million each year. (The day we visited was the eve of a golf tournament fundraiser). The money pays for teaching assistants and a long-standing collaboration with the Guggenheim Museum to bring teaching artists into the school and to take 3rd- and 4th-graders to the museum where they learn to become docents.

Classrooms are clean with well-defined centers. This lends a calm atmosphere even in the art room where soft music was playing. Missing is the clutter of hanging paper charts—the use of SMART Boards suffice, teachers said. Parents may bring their children right to their elementary classrooms.

Middle school students must pass through metal detectors to be consistent with the practice of the other schools in the high school building, said Principal Patricia Peterson, former assistant principal and math consultant at PS 8 who took the helm in 2017. Once inside, they sit in a designated section of the cafeteria before climbing to the fourth floor together. 

Upstairs, MS 8 is bright, welcoming and filled with artistic student work, such as “identity maps,” peace signs and collages. The identity maps are a starting point for a study of American history. Our 8th grade tour guide got excited as he led a group of parents into a 7th grade social studies class. “Everything we did in this class was memorable,” he said, describing how it opened his eyes to the African slave trade, Native Americans, European settlers and their impact on “America as we know it.”

Several times a year, students do explorations, dropping all of their other studies for two weeks, to look into questions such as "What is courage?" They invite speakers and develop projects about courageous people such as Martin Luther King, Jr. All 8th graders take algebra and living environment Regents classes. 

A downside of the small size is that it’s hard to offer much in the way of sports and music, Peterson said, but the art teacher helps kids prepare portfolios for arts high schools. 

There is a free after school program at both sites, plus a fee-based program based on teacher’s passions like newspaper, jiu-jitsu and many other choices. The middle school building lacks an outdoor yard but teens have access to the full-size gymnasium and may go outside at lunch with a parent’s permission. 

MS 8 graduates get into some of the top high schools in the city: In 2016, two students were accepted into Stuyvesant, and 10-12 into Millennium Brooklyn. Midwood and Murrow are other popular choices.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There is at least one ICT (integrated co-teaching) class on every grade. PS 8 enrolls some severely disabled children, including some who are non-verbal and have one-on-one assistants. 

ADMISSIONS: Zoned, neighborhood school. Despite a 2016 rezoning to alleviate overcrowding, PS 8 had a kindergarten wait list in 2017 and there is no longer room for pre-kindergarten classes. Continuing 5th graders get priority in admission to the middle school, as do zoned students, and there is space for other District 13 students as well. (Pamela Wheaton, PS 8, May 2016; Lydie Raschka, MS 8, November 2017)

 

About the students

Enrollment
947
Asian
6.1%
Black
13.4%
Hispanic
11.5%
White
61.6%
Other
7.4%
Free or reduced priced lunch
15%
Students with disabilities
15%
English language learners
3%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
103%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
95%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
10%
19% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
80%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
59%
50% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
81%
84% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
100%
88% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
34%
45% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
13.2
6.4 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
75%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
79%
87% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
75%
81% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
77%
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
89%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
80%
86% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
46%
60% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
62%
78% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
89%
82% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Test scores

How many students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
63%
39% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
72%
42% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 3 dedicated spaces for Music and Visual arts
This school has 5 licensed arts teacher in Music (part-time), Dance, Music, Theater, and Visual arts

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
63%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
43%
59% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
49%
68% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Algebra I
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
77%
28% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
87%
86% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Midwood HS
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
14%
6% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
Average math score for ICT students
1.63
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.53
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.81
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.64
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.61
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.48
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
75%
69% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
66%
85% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
77%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
74%
88% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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Location

37 Hicks Street
Brooklyn NY 11201
Brooklyn Heights (District 13)
Trains: F to York St; A, C to High St; 4, 5, R to Court St - Borough Hall; 2, 3 to Clark St
Buses: B103, B25, B26, B38, B41, B54, B67, B69

Contact

Phone
718-834-6740
Principal
Patricia Peterson
Parent Coordinator
Eileen Carrier

Zone for the 2017-2018 school year. Call school to confirm.

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