PS 118 Maurice Sendak Community School

Grades Pre-K, K-4
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Experienced leader; robust social studies

The Downside

School is located outside the attendance zone

Our Review

Aptly named after Maurice Sendak, the author of Where the Wild Things Are, PS 118 is a bubbly, inventive place where young wild things are encouraged to express themselves and explore the jungle of New York City and beyond. Children create projects based on trips, experiences and lessons in a rich social studies program that brings added meaning to reading and writing. They study Spanish and get to design their own homework.

A sign on the door to a pre-kindergarten class says, Under Construction! because of all the building going on inside, with LEGOs, wooden blocks, Magna-Tiles and other materials. Hallways are filled with collage, sculpture, facts about polar bears, bar graphs and photos of childrens faces with bubbles saying what they want to be when they grow up. A big, bright science room has fish tanks, crickets and plants. In science, parents were told on a tour, kindergartners get to study worms.

Children explore their neighborhood and the wider city: On our February visit, 1st graders had already gone on eight field trips to see historic sites, museums and more, in their exploration of Brooklyns history.

Second graders take field trips to Ellis Island as part of their immigration study, culminating in a living wax museum in which kids dress up and tell immigrant stories. Every opportunity is an opportunity to learn something new, said Principal Elizabeth Garraway.

Spanish is infused into academics and play, and children hear it spoken throughout the daynot just in twice weekly Spanish lessons. At least one of the two teachers in every classroom is bilingual. Beginning in pre-kindergarten, children sing songs in Spanish, learn the alphabet, and practice simple words about the weather, clothing and body parts.

Garraway designed this multicultural approach in keeping with her own international background and her experience as assistant principal at popular PS 321. A graduate of Midwood High School, she has a master's degree in Spanish and anthropology and studied in Europe, living in Spain for seven years. She taught both Spanish and French in Brooklyn middle and high schools. "My background is in language, culture and people, and what's important to me is to use that background in the work that I do," Garraway told DNAinfo.

The school has an unusual homework policy called EYB (exercise your brain), in which children choose from a menu of ideas that may include making a nonfiction book, a diorama or a homemade board game incorporating facts about tornadoes. On our tour, we saw projects that went far beyond the scope of typical fill-in-the-blank homeworkbut in their sophistication seemed dependent on organizational guidance from an adult at home.

Parents are very active at PS 118. They accompany classes on field trips and neighborhood walks and began a fee-based after-school program. They are invited to monthly family Fridays for an art project or breakfast. They raise money for trips, arts and the second adult in every classroom. Garraway said parents raise about $1,000 per child per year.

Opened in 2013 to ease overcrowding at nearby PS 321 and PS 107, PS 118 is housed in former parochial school building, St. Thomas Aquinas. There are two classes on most grades, including pre-kindergarten. Well-designed renovations include a airy top-floor gymnasium and a cafeteria with a glass divider on the ground floor.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school is flexible about offering children the services they need, said Garraway, formerly a special education supervisor at PS 321. A lot of the teachers are certified to teach special education, she said.

ADMISSION: Neighborhood school. The school is located outside its attendance zone, roughly comprising the area between Third and Fourth avenues and President and Sixth streets. (Lydie Raschka, parent tour, February 2017)

About the students

Pre-K seats
Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

About the school

Shared campus?
This school shares a building with a Pre-K Center
Metal detectors?
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average


Average daily attendance
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
21% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
88% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
6.6 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
90% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
78% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
89% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
65% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
85% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
86% Citywide Average
How many parents say their child's teacher helped their child adjust to Pre-K?
98% Citywide Average
How many parents say this Pre-K program helped them consider which elementary schools would meet their childrens' needs?
92% Citywide Average
How many Pre-K parents say their child's teacher gave helpful ideas for how to support their child's learning?
97% 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?
43% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
42% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 1 dedicated space for Music
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
86% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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211 8th Street
Brooklyn NY 11215
Park Slope (District 15)
Trains: F, G, R to 4th Ave - 9th St
Buses: B103, B37, B61, B63, B67, B69


W Elizabet Garraway
Parent Coordinator
Mariateresa Bazzi

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

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