P.S. 230 Doris L. Cohen

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
85-23 101 Street
Brooklyn NY 11218
Phone: 718-437-6135

Our Insights

What’s Special

Large, diverse school with strong sense of community, many connections with arts organizations

The Downside

Two different buildings a block apart, no outdoor playground at the lower school

At PS 230 in Kensington, girls in headscarves play happily in the block corner with new immigrants from Mexico, while their mothers may be attending an English class elsewhere in the building. The school is a welcoming gathering place for neighborhood residents.

Some 80 percent of students speak another language at homemostly Bengali, Spanish or Chinesesaid Principal Maria Della Ragione. Newcomers arrive regularly. On the day of our visit, a shy Puerto Rican girl was being shown around by several other Spanish-speaking girls.

Della Ragione, a longtime teacher of English as a second language, has thought carefully about how to integrate children who are still learning English as well as those with special needs. Instead of pulling kids out, ESL and special education teachers often work with children in their regular classrooms so they don't miss class time. Teachers use drawings and pictures to illustrate written lessons on the boards and walls.There are 13 ESL teachers.

Art projects give all children a way to express themselves. In a 3rd-grade lesson, children tell stories through collage; 4th-graders make comic books and story-boards and 5th-graders produce stop-action Claymation and animate it, presenting their three-minute short films in a festival in May. "The arts connection provides a way for children to represent their thinking visually," said the principal.

Chinese dancers come in for Chinese New Year. There's a feast for Bengali New Year, costumes for Dia de los Muertos and even an American hoedown with square dancing. Parents turn out in high numbers on the weekends to participate in activities such as Science Saturday where children make volcanoes or conduct other experiments. Parents may take English classes. PS 230 is a family-friendly place, and some teachers enroll their own children in the school.

Longstanding collaborations with arts organizations help enrich the curriculum. These include Mark Morris for dance, Brooklyn Children's Theater for musical theatre and music with Ms. Suzi, a former school parent. New York Cares is a huge presence: Volunteers lead robotics workshops, cooking groups and tennis lessons on Saturday. They even take children on visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The PTA and the school split the bill for many of the arts programs, and film companies that shoot nearby in an empty subway station use the school's cafeteria and facilities, and donate money to the school.

Children come by schoolbus or subway to the district-wide gifted and talented program. "We dig a little bit deeper into some of the ideas," the 1st-grade G&T teacher said.Children in G&T classrooms are together from kindergarten to 5th grade. "Families get very close, with playdates and even vacationing together, said the principal. All classrooms, including G&T, are bright and inviting with students intent on learning.

Della Ragione was an assistant principal under the tutelage of Sharon Fiden, the well-respected principal she replaced in 2014. She is an energetic, hands-on leader. "My passion is to be in the classrooms. I am an educator and I am a coach and I am a mother," she said. "I'm going to jump in with you and we're going to do it together, if you're struggling."

PS 230 is housed in two buildings one block apart. The main building, a traditional looking schoolhouse constructed in 1930, houses grades 2-5. The annex, for pre-k to 1st grade, is brightly lit and clean with each floor painted a different color. There is a tiny outdoor area with padded flooring, that individual teachers use on occasion, but mainly children play mainly in a large indoor gym for recess. "It's a challenge, absolutely," said the gym teacher. "They need the gross motor skills." They do take regular walks around the neighborhood, recording what they see.

Popular middle school choices are MS 88 and Brooklyn Prospect.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Both buildings have elevators and are accessible for students with physical disabilities. There are four self-contained classrooms for children with disabilities only, including some on the autism spectrum. Parents started a support group for families with children on the spectrum. PS 230 uses flexible scheduling and integrates special needs children into other classrooms, when possible, the principal said. There are ICT classes in every grade.

ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. There is frequent movement as many children move out of the area, or out of state, and new immigrants arrive. Children are admitted to the G&T program based on the results of a citywide exam. (Pamela Wheaton, January 2016; updated August 2016)

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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 2019-20 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

From 2019-20 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 2019-20 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 2019 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 the NYC Program Assessment (CLASS and ECERS-R) Database through 2018-2019

Instruction: Teachers ask kids to explain their reasoning when they solve problems
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 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

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

From 2019-20 School Quality Guide

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

From 2020 School Directories

This school offers Dual Language classes in Spanish.

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2019 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


Kensington (District 15)
Trains: F Line, G Line to Church Ave
Buses: B103, B16, B35, B67


Maria Della Ragione
Parent Coordinator
Jacqueline Reinier

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.

Zone for the 2019-2020 school year. Call school to confirm.

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