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Middle School High School

P.S. 233 Langston Hughes

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
9301 Avenue B
Brooklyn NY 11236
Phone: 718-346-8103

Our Insights

What’s Special

LEGO robotics and art offered during lunch

The Downside

Discipline problems

JANUARY 2013 UPDATE: PS 233 no longer has a district-wide gifted program. Nearly half the teachers responding to the Learning Environment Survey say the school has problems with order and discipline. However, the school offers art and other activities such as LEGO robotics during lunch, which has helped channel students' "high-energy" into "creative action" and decreased the number of incidents in the cafeteria during lunch, according to the Quality Review.

UPDATE Denean Stephens-Spellman has succeeded Aletta Seales as principal of PS 233.

MARCH 2005 REVIEW: At PS 233, nearly half of the classes are designated as gifted. In addition to a program called SOAR, which is designed for students performing above grade level, each grade has a "Javits " class, for students with exceptional strength in non-academic fields. At the same time, the school struggles to provide services to a significant number of children with special needs.

Most SOAR classes are diluted in part, conceded school officials and teachers, because parents lobby hard for their child's inclusion. One teacher said that while she advocated bringing long-shot candidates into the gifted program, the current number of low-achievers was slowing progress in the class; at least two children were at risk of not being promoted to the next grade.

In "Javits" classes, which were created in the early 1990s and draw heavily on the arts, teachers are trained to approach learning from "multiple intelligences," including advanced visual, motor, verbal, social, and artistic skills. A student who is musically inclined, for example, might learn fractions through music notation, while one with strong spatial awareness may use "manipulatives" objects such as blocks or models. Students who have been placed in the program (PS 233 is one of four Javits sites in District 18) are eligible to continue at PS 285, District 18's selective school for the performing arts. "I love Javits," Principal Aletta Seales repeated time and again on our tour. "I like it even better than SOAR. It meets the needs of children."

Seales is a gentle, mothering figure who took over in September 2002. A strong believer in the importance of supplementing academics with recreation, she has instituted both recess and gym for all grades. She also takes a progressive view of discipline; she prefers therapeutic to punitive measures, and keeps three guidance counselors on staff.

PS 233 could use more resources. Parents complain that there aren't enough crossing guards (leaving a busy highway crossing unmanned) and only one security guard (whose job was to baby-sit unruly kids on our visit). During lunch, a teacher had to nurse two children with fever and one with pinkeye. The parent coordinator said the bathrooms were in a terrible state and showed us the mop and bucket she keeps behind her filing cabinet for emergency sanitary service on the bathroom across the hall.

Special education: Another area where resources are needed is special education. The school has numerous children with special needs, and has eight classes for them (some are "self-contained," that is, only for students with special needs; others are "inclusive," mixing special needs and general education students). Still, Seales worries that she is not adequately providing for these children. She is also concerned that some children in special education classes have difficulties that far exceed the school's resources. On the day of our visit, she spent more than an hour restraining an unruly five-year-old who, she said, could not function properly in any class. "He is misplaced," she said of the child, adding that she worried about "the kids who are sweet and kind and just learning disabled who are exposed to troubled children who are emotionally disabled and aggressive." When we checked back a week later, the child in question had indeed been removed from the school in order to start home-schooling. "It's hard for parents to admit that their children need more help," said Seales.

English as a Second Language: Language assistance is provided to children in small groups outside of their regular classrooms.

Admissions: Applications for SOAR and Javits are due in the spring.

After school: The school offers tutorial programs for all grades and science workshops for grades 4 and 5. (Elizabeth Kiem, March 2005)

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

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

Contact & Location


Flatbush (District 18)
Buses: B15, B17, B35, B47, B60, B7, B8


Denean Stephens
Parent Coordinator
Tanisha Battle

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares the Samuel J. Tilden Educational Campus with one other school

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

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