The Park Slope Educational Complex at (M.S. 88)
Share this school
Impressive range of interesting programs and activities; School of One Math
Large size may not appeal to everyone
MS 88 is a large middle school with strong leadership, good instruction and a generous selection of activities and programs. Despite its size, it's a welcoming and cheery place with dedicated teachers and staff. It offers many kinds of supports and class-settings to serve the wide-ranging needs of its diverse student body, including accelerated courses, dual-language Spanish instruction and plenty of extra support for English language learners and children with disabilities.
Students are admitted to one of three programs or houses: School for Integrated Studies through the Arts (SISTA), the School for Medical & Health Careers (Medical), and School of Media Arts and Technology (SMART). Each house has its own floor of the building and selection of themed elective classes and activities. Students in SISTA may attend plays and choose from art-themed offerings like drama and visual arts. In the Medical house students have opportunities to conduct research with medical students, learn first aid, tour hospitals and volunteer in nursing homes.
SMART focuses on media and technology where students intern with graphic designers, create broadcasts of school events, and learn robotics. SMART students also participate in the School of One math program, which tailors instruction to each student’s skill level and learning style through a combination of computer-based and traditional, teacher-led lessons. Each day students attend two sessions of math (total of 80-90 minutes) where they are assigned to groups and complete work based on their skill sets and performance during the prior day’s lessons.
The school gets high marks in its most recent Quality Review. Teachers create many of their own lessons and don't rely heavily on worksheets or a scripted curriculum. Hands-on, creative projects are a staple in all subjects and teachers encourage students to work independently and in small groups. For instance, art, social studies and math all intersected in a 6th-grade assignment asking students to calculate the area of their irregular shaped drawings of ancient Egyptian sarcophagi. Students in a 7th-grade science chose an ecosystem in New York City to study and had to design and installation that explained the kinds of matter and energy flowing through the ecosystem. 8th-graders in the School of One math program worked in teams on a volunteer project where they devised linear equations to represent their team’s progress.
MS 88 participates in the Middle School Quality Initiative (MSQI), the city’s program designed to boost reading levels with a longer school day and special activities such as a debate team.
Over the years the school has amassed an impressive roster of programs and partnerships with outside organizations that help support everything from arts, science and technology to social-emotional learning, teacher training and family engagement. Free, onsite medical and dental care for students is sponsored by The Lutheran Medical Center and field trips to museums, zoos, science centers and botanical gardens are offered through a partnership with the Urban Advantage Program.
Teachers train at the Earth Institute at Columbia University to develop an ecology-based science curriculum with interesting projects and lessons such as oyster bed farming and research in the schools onsite greenhouse.
The school offers Spanish and dual-language Spanish instruction. High school-level courses in algebra and living environment are offered to 8th-graders who excel in math and science.
After-school activities include a nice range of offerings such as LEGO robotics, vocal performance, school play, a rock band, visual arts, chess and sports.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has ICT (integrated co-teaching) and self-contained classes as well as SETSS.
ADMISSIONS: As part of a district-wide equity plan, all District 15 middle schools use an open admissions method with priority for 52 percent of seats going to students from low-income households (who qualify for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program), students in temporary housing, and English Language Learners. There are no “screens” for admission. To learn more about the D15 Diversity Plan, visit d15diversityplan.com. (Laura Zingmond, via web reports, February 2019)Read more