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Cypress Hills Community School (P.S./I.S. 89)

Grades: 3-K, Pre-K, K-8
265 Warwick Street
Brooklyn NY 11207
Phone: 718-964-1180
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Our Insights

What’s Special

Unzoned dual language program

The Downside

Low test scores

PS/IS 89 has the only school-wide dual language program in District 19 and it accepts students from all five boroughs beginning in pre-kindergarten. Almost all students stay through the 8th grade. The school moved into a brand new building in 2010, allowing for some much-needed space but not enough to expand the popular pre-kindergarten program, which has a long waitlist. The building includes a greenhouse where students learn about hydroponics, aquaponics and composting with worms.

Students are instructed for five days in one language, switching to the other for the next five days. Textbooks come in both English and Spanish, as do the many fun-to-read books in classrooms and in the well-stocked library. Most teachers have more than ten years' experience and almost all speak Spanish.

The tone of the school is supportive, respectful and caring, and we were impressed that both children and staffers laughed a lot, while staying focused on their work. Class sizes are small, between 18 and 20, ensuring individual attention.

The students at PS 89 boast a terrific attendance record, perhaps because of the school's unusually high level of parent involvement. A group of activist parents founded the school in 1997 in collaboration with Cypress Hills Local Development Corp, a community housing program, and with the help of the Manhattan education group, New Visions for Public Schools, which is led by a parent and an educator.

Parents accompany children on field trips to the Bronx Zoo, the New York Hall of Science and join them for family arts nights and other events. "It's really important for our parents to experience what the students experience firsthand," said longtime principal Irene Leon, a former teacher at the school and a lead designer of its dual language program.

When parents and other groups founded the school, they hoped it would be an alternative to the other low-performing district schools. Unfortunately, so far the school's reading and math scores have been disappointing. One contributing factor to the low scores may be the school's primarily English Language Learner population.

The principal said it takes 6-10 years to master another language and that the Common Core tests don't reflect their understanding and thinking as a whole. To add to the challenge, the middle school absorbs some new immigrants who have had interrupted education, she said.

She prefers to mark progress on the New York State Language Aptitude Test (NYSLAT), and has been pleased to see that many students jump a level as they move from 7th to 8th grade.

The school uses Expeditionary Learning, which immerses children in learning new words, and an ESL (English as a second language) teacher is paired with a humanities teacher to address special language needs. Students learn through class discussions and activities, not lectures. We saw engaging teachers act things out and use expressive voices to help children understand. Kindergartners vocalized words as they formed letters: "I am in the park," said a boy, quietly, as he put down letters that sounded right.

In a middle school class, teachers expertly moved their students from a short whole class lesson into a small group mix-it-up activity on Vietnam, where they had to sequence a series of statements about the war and draw inferences from historic photos.

The few children whose first language is English seem to do fine here; we saw strong Spanish writing samples by a 3rd-grader who spoke only English when she entered in kindergarten. Unfortunately, rising rents have resulted in some families moving further out to areas like Howard Beach.

One downside: The tiny outdoor play yard is reserved for the youngest children. The older ones must play in the gymnasium.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: For students with special needs, the school provides both self-contained classes and co-taught classes, in which one of two teachers is certified in special education.

ADMISSIONS: Unzoned with preference for families from district 19. Students living outside the neighborhood must provide their own transportation. About 15 spots open in 6th grade because of larger class size in middle school and roughly three spots open in other grades each year. (Lydie Raschka, October 2015)

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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 2018-19 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
84% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
51% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
78% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
78% Citywide Average

From 2017-18 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
2% 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?
79% 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?
54% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
50% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
46% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
51% Citywide Average

From 2018 Middle School Directory

What high schools do most graduates attend?
Bushwick Leaders High School for Academic Excellence and Transit Tech Career and Technical Education High School
Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Algebra I

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many 8th-graders earn high school credit?
32% 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 2018-19 Demographic Snapshot

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

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
93% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
23% Citywide Average

From 2018 School Directories

Uniforms required?
This school offers Dual Language classes in Spanish.

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?
25% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
22% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
24% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
16% Citywide Average

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

Contact & Location


Cypress Hills (District 19)
Trains: J Line to Cleveland St; C Line, Z Line to Van Siclen Ave
Buses: B14, Q24, Q56


Irene Leon
Parent Coordinator
Maria Jaya

Other Details

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

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