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Middle School High School

P.S. 54 Samuel C. Barnes

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
195 Sandford Street
Brooklyn NY 11205
Phone: 718-834-6752
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Our Insights

What’s Special

STEM magnet program, lots of outdoor space for play and green projects

The Downside

Population shrinking due to demographic shifts in neighborhood, low test scores

Students at PS 54 figure out how to make water filters, plant outdoor gardens and explore science in an inviting science lab and around the city as part of the schools Environmental Science, Technology & Community Wellness magnet grant. Fitness is also a focus at this small school, which has been cited by the city for its healthy school environment. Children enjoy playing in the indoor gym and planting trees in the expansive playgrounds outside the building.

Partnerships with community and environmental organizations bring in much-needed resources to this Bedford-Stuyvesant school where most students qualify for free lunch. Children go on trips with the Hudson River Stoop-Clearwater and to the Alley Pond Environmental Center, and Brooklyn Botanic Gardens where they learn to compost. Several classrooms have tanks with fish and turtles.

PS 54 students benefit from small classes; there are only about 20 students on average in each of two classrooms on every grade. The downside is that the school's population has been shrinking as the neighborhood changes. Many Hasidic families have moved into the neighborhood who don't send their children to public school. PS 54 uses both its magnet program and a Spanish dual language program to attract families from outside the zone.

Principal Anthony Pirro came to the school in 2015, replacing a longtime principal and bringing in fresh ideas. A scientist in his former career, he became somewhat of a data expert but decided he didn't like spending so much time in the lab. He changed careers and became an elementary school teacher in nearby District 16, then was assistant principal for eight years at PS 503 in District 20. His goal is to bring to PS 54 some of the same diversity and vibrant arts that are a hallmark in that school.

"I'd like this to become a microcosm of New York City diversity," he said.

He faces some challenges and a very different population at PS 54. In addition to low enrollment, student test scores are way below city average and, as a newcomer to the school, Pirro must convince longtime staffers of the need for change. He uses data—on the test scores and some safety concerns that predated his arrival—to bolster his case for the need to lift the rigor. "What we were doing wasn't working," he said.

Pirro is instituting a restorative discipline process which is more supportive than punitive of students who misbehave. He is actively seeking arts partners and working on building a strong home-school connection. Parents are invited to walk their children into the pre-k, kindergarten and 1st-grade classrooms now located on the first floor and stay for awhile. There are monthly coffees with him and publishing parties where students read their work. The school technology lab, gym and art room are open to family use every Tuesday afternoon.

In the classroom, staff developers from Teachers College Reading and Writing Project work with teachers. Children go on field trips related to their units of study: pre-k students tour the Fairway market and Green Meadows Farm; 2nd-graders studying the Earth go to the Museum of Natural History; 3rd-graders learn to compost at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and 4th-graders devised a water catchment system for the schoolyard.

Children get a chance to shine during Friday enrichment clubs, based on the Joseph Renzulli models belief that everybody is good at something. Options include gardening, soccer, arts and more.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: About 18 percent of the students have IEPs (individual educational programs). There are ICT classes and SETSS.

ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. There are openings for students from outside the zone and the school offers tours. (Pamela Wheaton, December 2015)

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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 2018-19 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
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
83% Citywide Average

From 2017-18 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 2018-19 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 2018 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

What is the Pre-K like?

From this school's most recent Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

Instruction: Teachers ask kids to explain their reasoning when they solve problems

From this school's most recent Early Childhood Environmental Rating System (ECERS-R)

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 2018-19 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

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

From 2018 School Directories

Pre-K seats
This school offers Dual Language classes in Spanish.

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2018 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


Bedford-Stuyvesant (District 13)
Trains: G Line to Bedford-Nostrand Aves
Buses: B38, B43, B44, B48, B52, B54, B57


Anthony Pirro
Parent Coordinator
Shelby Cover

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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