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Middle School High School

P.S. 161 The Crown

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
330 Crown Street
Brooklyn NY 11225
Phone: 718-756-3100

Our Insights

What’s Special

Most kids take music.

The Downside

Declining test scores, middle school closing for poor performance

For many years, PS 161 was well-regarded school, sought-after by parents in the know. Although the school didn't officially accept anyone outside the neighborhood, it was an open secret that some parents fudged their addresses to enroll their children. The school had a very successful, highly selective middle school.

Now the schools enrollment and test scores are declining, and the middle school is no longer selective. Barely one-third of students tested are reading on grade level, and the Department of Education has decided to close the middle school (and possibly put a charter school in the building.)

Parents posting comments on the Insideschools website have defended the school, praising the dedication of its teachers and special programs, such as steel band and African dance. Most students responding the Learning Environment Survey said they had music class, and nearly half said they had art classes. However, the survey also shows widespread dissatisfaction. Only half the teachers said order and discipline were maintained at the school, and nearly one-third of students said they didnt feel safe.

A New York Times article on the SchoolBook blog blames the schools changing demographics for its decline, suggesting that the administrators were once was able to screen students, particularly in the middle school, and now must accept everyone in the zone.

A new principal, Michael Johnson, was named in fall 2011. He told SchoolBook that the halls are already less chaotic and that he is planning to start an after school program and a Saturday academy to help bring the scores up.

I want the whole school K-8 to remain open, he said. If we do the things I know were capable of doing and bring it back up and not give them more reasons to close us, well be fine.

The school has not responded to Insideschools requests to revisit the school since our last visit in 2002. (Clara Hemphill, DOE statistics and SchoolBook blog post, November 2011, updated February 2012.)

Read more

School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2018-19 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
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
83% Citywide Average

From 2017-18 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 2018-19 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 2018 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 this school's most recent Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

Instruction: Teachers ask kids to explain their reasoning when they solve problems

From this school's most recent Early Childhood Environmental Rating System (ECERS-R)

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 2018-19 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

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

From 2018 School Directories

Pre-K seats

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2018 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

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

Contact & Location


Crown Heights (District 17)
Trains: 3 Line to Nostrand Ave; 2 Line, 5 Line to President St
Buses: B43, B44, B44-SBS, B45, B49


Michael Johnson
Parent Coordinator
Turkessa Loney

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares the building with Success Academy Crown Heights Charter School

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

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