Conselyea Preparatory School
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Stable staff, welcoming, emphasis on writing
Crowded building; no gymnasium
MS 577, Conselyea Preparatory School, in the heart of Williamsburg, has strong academics, a stable and effective teaching staff, and a family-friendly atmosphere. “I have only been at the school for one year, but it is already my home away from home,” a student told InsideSchools.
Long-time principal Maria Masullo grew up in the neighborhood and her own children attended the school. She gets high marks from teachers on surveys
The school shares a building with PS 17, and students must climb four and five flights of stairs to get class. “There are so many stairs!!!” a student told InsideSchools. “The gym is so small. The hallways are so cramped so you’re always late.”
Despite the fact that hallways are jammed during class changes, school surveys overwhelmingly show the school is safe and orderly, with fewer incidents of bullying than most public middle schools in the city.
Instead of demerits, students carry yellow cards noting the "merits" they have earned for class participation, going above and beyond their homework assignments or being model citizens, according to a video produced by the Department of Education.
Most 8th graders take 9th grade Regents exams either in Living Environment or algebra, giving them a head start on high school. MS 577 has a strong writing program; students even write in science and math class. The Quality Review says teachers give good feedback on student work, and they are adept at managing a range of academic abilities. Teachers are always striving to improve instruction, as outlined in the well-written Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP).
For the first "marking period" of 6th grade, all students are mixed together. In November, children are divided into two Regents track classes for math, two general education classes and an integrated co-teaching (ICT) class on each grade. Two sections take Regents algebra in 8th grade; everyone takes Regents living environment. Students who need extra tutoring get it at lunchtime. Teachers hold grade meetings to discuss how students are doing in different subjects.
The grand building has some lovely old-fashioned details like wooden coat closets and an elegant double stairway at the entrance to the elementary school. A big downside is the lack of a gym, although 8th-graders learn ballroom dancing in an all-purpose room; and in nice weather, physical education classes are held out of doors in the large schoolyard.
All students participate in visual arts, dance and music. An Out of School Time program, taught by schoolteachers, is available until 6 pm, five days a week. The many clubs and teams include band, glee club, art, theater, track and baseball.
“I love the Drama Program, with a director who has worked on Broadway, an involved cast and crew, and an amazing performance,” a student told InsideSchools.
Most graduates stay in the area for high school, with nearby Williamsburg Prep being the most popular high school choice. A few go to selective high schools such as Beacon, Brooklyn Tech and NEST+m, or to parochial and charter schools
Admissions: Open to students and residents of District 14, with a preference to students who have toured the school (see website). The school also looks at students’ past attendance and punctuality. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, February 2019)