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P.S. 21 Crispus Attucks

Grades: 3-K, Pre-K, K-5
180 Chauncey Street
Brooklyn NY 11233
Phone: 718-493-9681

Our Insights

What’s Special

Neighborhood institution has served generations of African-Americans

The Downside

Tight budget because of declining enrollments

PS 21 is a community institution in Bedford Stuyvesant that has long instilled pride in children’s African-American heritage. Once a week, the whole school sings “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the Negro National Anthem. In an art class, children made collages about the Civil Rights movement. In a social studies class, students wrote reports about the contributions of African-American inventors. In a music class, they learned about the Harlem Renaissance.

PS 21 has classes for 3-year-olds, called 3K; a hydroponics lab where children grow plants in water; and an “engineering class” where children learn problem-solving skills. The day of our visit, children filled small boxes with dry pasta, attached them to homemade parachutes, then dropped them from a height to see if the pasta broke into pieces. They then modified the boxes to see if less pasta broke.   

Principal Leslie Frazier, who has led the school since 2012, grew up in the neighborhood and attended PS 21 herself as a child. “We’re traditional in values,” she said. “How we teach children has shifted.” 

Girls wear white shirts and burgundy plaid jumpers. Boys wear white shirts and burgundy plaid ties. The school has long encouraged community service and the culture of the school fosters respect for students, parents and teachers. Reading is taught with basal readers (textbooks with excerpts of stories) and lots of emphasis on phonics. At the same time, the school has introduced new teaching methods, such as “project-based learning” in the engineering classes. 

A particular focus is helping male students develop leadership skills. A service group called Young Men of Character collects canned food for those in need and visits senior citizen centers. Of the school’s 45 teachers, five are male; there are also five male teaching assistants called paraprofessionals. 

Popular middle school choices include Medgar Evers College Preparatory School and Eagle Academy for Young Men II.

Like many schools in gentrifying neighborhoods, PS 21 has declining enrollments, from 706 in 2009 to 568 in 2019, even as the school has added three 3K classes and three pre-k classes. Frazier said she has been forced to cut back on field trips, including trips to historically black colleges, because shrinking enrollments mean shrinking budgets.

Special education: The school offers self-contained classes for special needs children only as well as team-taught classes with two teachers that mix general ed and special needs children.

Admissions: Neighborhood school. Tours are generally offered on Fridays; call the school to schedule. About 30 percent of the children are from out of district. (Clara Hemphill, October 2019)


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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 the 2020-21 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
82% Citywide Average

From the 2019-20 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
0% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From the 2021-22 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
84% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From the New York State 2021 -22 Assessment Database

How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
42% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
43% Citywide Average

What is the Pre-K like?

From the NYC Program Assessment (CLASS and ECERS-R) Database through 2019-2020

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 the 2022-23 Demographic Snapshot

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

From the 2021-22 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
90% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
40% Citywide Average

From the 2020 School Directories

How does this school serve special populations?

From the New York State 2021 -22 Assessment Database

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
21% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
18% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
17% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
14% Citywide Average

For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Contact & Location


Bedford-Stuyvesant (District 16)
Trains: A Line, C Line to Utica Ave
Buses: B15, B25, B26, B46, B47, B65, B7


Bevon Thompson
Parent Coordinator
Kandise Welch

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.
Metal detectors?

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

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