P.S. 164 Caesar Rodney

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
Staff Pick
4211 14 Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11219
Phone: 718-854-4100

Our Insights

What’s Special

Well-rounded school with solid academics and a rich music program

The Downside

A room with pillars serves as the gymnasium

PS 164 delivers quality special education, offers gifted and talented classes and boasts a robust music program. Until recently, students in this orderly neighborhood school, which has served immigrant children for more than 100 years, recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang "The Star Spangled Banner" every morning. The staff is moving away from a traditional teaching approach to a more modern approach, with good results: Test scores are in the "high average" citywide range, and improving.

The building is located in a largely Orthodox Jewish neighborhood where many children enroll in religious schools. Enrollment is rising at PS 164, however, as the school admits children from across the district into their gifted and talented program. It is also serving more children of Chinese and Eastern European ancestry than in the past, and accepts students from PS 69 and PS 160, which are overcrowded.

Principal Erica Steinberg, a former special education teacher and former assistant principal at PS 32 in Brooklyn, replaced principal Margaret Choy-Shan in 2014. Choy-Shan left the school in very good shape; the Department of Education called the school "well-developed," the highest ranking, on the 2013-2014 Quality Review.

Recognizing that children learn at different rates, Principal Steinberg and Assistant Principal Melissa Jamieson have emphasized a shift from a more traditional, lecture-style of teaching to increased small group instruction. "I meet more often with those who need it," said a veteran teacher, who seemed to welcome the change.

In order to help children who are still learning English, teachers enlist the help of bilingual children or staff in the building. For example, a 4th-grade Hungarian student was thrilled to be able to help out (and befriend) a 5th-grade Hungarian classmate during reading time, and a Mandarin-speaking teaching assistant was helping out in a kindergarten with many Mandarin-speaking children.

A full-time math specialist meets with children once a week, and works with teachers too. One result: A color-coded, step-by-step chart to make it easier for children to work through long word problems.

PS 164 is known for its strong music program. Fifth-graders sat straight and tall in their seats as teacher Peter Mancini (a former baker) conducted them in singing the national anthem, giving keen attention to phrasing and enunciation, with surprisingly moving results. More than 40 children participate in the afterschool band; students meet with Mancini during lunch to learn their instruments. The school has a partnership with the Metropolitan Opera Guild; children learn about the historical context and other aspects of an opera before attending a performance.

Most classrooms are filled to capacity but the rooms are so airy and spacious, the children so calm, and the ceilings so high, that they don't feel uncomfortable. A few classrooms are led by two adults, one trained in special education; the gifted classrooms have only 15 students.

The school has separate rooms and trained teachers for music, art, science, library, math, English as a second language (ESL) and special education. Depending on the size of the school budget, however, teachers have sometimes had to lead physical education themselves in a makeshift gymnasium.

Special education: Team-taught classes in several grades mix children with special needs with their general education peers in one room. Several "self-contained" classes hold up to 12 children with special needs only. More than a dozen teaching assistants work one-on-one with children who need further assistance. Parents are pleased that their children are included in all activities, according to school satisfaction surveys. A District 75 program occupies part of the fourth floor and serves children on the autism spectrum.

Admissions: Neighborhood school. Admissions to gifted and talented classes are according to Department of Education guidelines. (Lydie Raschka, October 2014)

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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?
86% 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 2020-21 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
86% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From the 2019 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?
50% 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 the 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot

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

From the 2020-21 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
92% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
26% Citywide Average

From the 2020 School Directories

How does this school serve special populations?

From the 2019 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
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
17% Citywide Average

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

Contact & Location


Borough Park (District 20)
Trains: G Line to Church Ave; F Line to Ditmas Ave; D Line to 50th St
Buses: B11, B16, B35, B67


Erica Steinberg
Parent Coordinator
Solange Cisneros Steine

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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