P.S. 200 Benson School
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Russian dual language program
PS 200 is a large neighborhood school that, in addition to its regular classes, offers two smaller programs starting in kindergarten that each fill one class per grade: a Russian dual language program, and a K-5 gifted and talented program called Globe.
Long-standing, popular Russian dual language: This program aims to teach children to listen, speak, read and write in two languages. Your child does not have to speak Russian to apply. Experts say dual language works best if each class is split evenly, in this case 50/50 English and Russian speakers, so children can learn from each other. Classes here tend to have more Russian speakers, but all are welcome to apply. From day one children are steeped in the new language. Lessons are taught in Russian half a day, and in English the other half.
The gifted and talented program also has a daily Russian lesson: While most lessons are taught in English, children also study one period per day in the Russian language. They may write a poem on Mother’s Day, study a Russian composer or practice multiplication tables in Russian.
Nice music program with a variety of instruments: Children study recorder starting in 3rd grade. Students in grades 4 and 5 may participate in the school band. Select children (there is a try out) study violin starting in 1st grade. Students get to choose special classes on Fridays, for example, computer, art, robotics, theater or chorus. PS 200 has a full-size gym, an auditorium, and a library and media center.
Class size is large: Most classes are at the city limit (25 in kindergarten; 32 in grades 1-5). Sometimes kids can feel lost in a large school so you may want to ask how children get individual attention if they need extra help.
Admissions: Zoned school. In recent years some kindergarten children zoned for PS 200 have been placed in another school nearby because of overcrowding. These children are chosen first for 1st grade at PS 200 if spots open up. The dual language and G&T programs accept students who meet education department standards. The school has one pre-kindergarten with 18 seats that mostly fills with siblings of older children at the school. In recent years, the pre-K waitlist has had up to 200 children. (Lydie Raschka, interview and web reports, July 2022)