P.S. 163 Bath Beach
Share this school
The arts are extensive and available to all students
Large classes in some grades
MARCH 2015 UPDATE: MaryannWasmuth, principal from 2004-2014, left the school and Jessica Riccio becamse interim acting principal. She had previously been the assistant principal at PS 205 in the same district.
SEPTEMBER 2014 REVIEW: PS 163 is located near Bensonhurst in a diverse neighborhood that has seen marked demographic changes. Although the area's population used to be predominately Italian-American, many of the students at Bath Beach are now of Chinese, Hispanic and Arabic descent.
Like many of the city's most successful schools, PS 163 has a well-respected leader, principal Maryann Wasmuth, who has led the school since 2004 and is credited with bringing in a terrific arts program, further enriching this longtime, high-scoring school. Staff members have long praised Wasmuth's open-door policy, which they say extends to the way she shares information with them. She receives high marks on school surveys for her ability to provide teachers with the ongoing training they need and for her collaborative ways. [In 2014 Wasmuth left the school and Jessica Riccio becamse interim acting principal. She had previously been the assistant principal at PS 205 in the same district.]
It's unusual to see such a full complement of extra programs in an elementary school, where tight budgets often mean tough compromises. PS 163 employs full-time library, music, dance, Spanish, physical education, science and art specialists, as well as full-time literacy and math coaches.
The staff at PS 163 has been unusually successful in mining community resources. Children visit cultural institutions or attend special performances at venues like the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, Symphony Space, the Paper Bag Players, Carnegie Hall and the Museum of Modern Art.
Every student in grades 1 through 5 stays for an extended day program that features academic support as well as voluntary talent groups, including dance, recorder, guitar, drumming, orchestra and chorus. An early morning enrichment program offers selected 4th- and 5th-graders a chance to learn about Shakespeare and computers. After school, students can join a sports and theater program.
Academics are not given short shrift. Test scores at the school are highnot only among the general education students but also among the special education population.Rising enrollment is a testament to the popularity of PS 163. One downside: Class size is large in some grades.
A new addition to the old school building [see photo] includes a state-of-the-art science lab, a dance studio, an art room, a music suite and a library. One of the goals of the addition was to provide children with a place to play even though there isn't enough ground space. The solution is an attractive third-story rooftop playground with a safe, see-through, wire mesh enclosure.
Special education: The school has self-contained classes for children with special needs. It also offers SETSS (Special Education Teacher Support Services) for students in general education classes to get extra help part of the day. All students with special needs are included in regular classrooms for enrichment and some coursework. The school also has a psychologist, social worker and guidance counselor in the building five days a week.
Admissions: Neighborhood school (Lydie Raschka, web reports and school data, September 2014; updated March 2015)Read more