P.S. 15 Patrick F. Daly
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Arts and community partnerships
Attendance could be better, far from the subway
PS 15 offers the children of Red Hook a safe and stimulating education. It has stable leadership, a good variety of arts programs and a dual language program in Spanish and English. Teachers tap into the expertise of the areas artists, filmmakers and entrepreneurs.
The school has long served children from the massive Red Hook public housing development just to the south. In recent years, as the neighborhood has gentrified, it has also attracted children of the newcomers.
Studio in a School offers art instruction and Marquis Studio runs puppetry classes. Young Audiences and Brooklyn Youth Chorus bring in theater, dance and music. Fifth graders work on engineering and design projects with a local architectural firm, according to the school's yearly plan. In one science project kids collected litter on the sidewalks, and along Jamaica Bay beach, tallying up what they found in order to educate the community, for example, they suggested shop owners place trash bins outside their stores to cut down on littering.
The staff try to reach both advanced and struggling students. In addition to following the reading and writing approach from Teachers College, Columbia University, which they say gets kids excited about writing and reading, teachers lead extra phonics and grammar lessons in the early grades.
An after school program for pre-k and kindergarten was added after feedback from parents, according to Peggy Wyns-Madison, principal since 2007. Teachers say Wyns-Madison is a good manager, and most recommend the school to other families, on school surveys.
A couple downsides: The school is far from a subway and academic performance went downhill from 2016 to 2019, the most recently available test score data.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The Department of Education has recognized the school's efforts to bring up achievement in children with special needs. As posted on the PS 15 website, the school was featured in a 2017 Department of Education newsletter for its innovative use of technology, such as the use of iPads to communicate during lessons with speech generating software, and using tablets to study the circulatory system. More than one-third of the students are classified as special needs and are taught in integrated co-teaching (ICT) or self-contained classes on every grade. Some classes enroll both ICT and accelerated students in the Riser program, the schools in-house gifted program. Classrooms are large, bright and filled with books, and project centers. Occupational, physical and speech therapists are on site five days a week and there is adaptive physical education in the large gymnasium. A Lutheran mental health clinic and the Beacon program offer family counseling, according to the schools yearly plan.
MIDDLE SCHOOL CHOICES: Most students go to IS 88, Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies, Boerum Hill School for International Studies, MS 51 and Park Slope Collegiate. (A lack of public transportation or subways makes commuting to Manhattan and outer-Brooklyn schools a discouraging prospect.)
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. (Pamela Wheaton, May 2013; updated, school data, Lydie Raschka, August 2017)