P.S./I.S. 229 Dyker
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Strong visual arts program
Middle school students would like more course variety
PS 229 has some of the highest test scores in the district and a strong visual arts program during and after school. Art teachers and subject teachers plan cross discipline projects together to incorporate art and the core subjects. We stress the basics and foundations of English language arts and mathematics, with an appreciation towards the arts, said Principal Robert Zappulla in a phone interview. The school has a gifted program for K-5 and honors accelerated Regents track for middle school students.
The school offers a variety of art programs, such as chorus, orchestra, band, general music and visual arts. In the middle school, students can choose from enrichment programs such as dramatic arts and jazz music.
Parents and teachers are quite happy with the principal and school management. Teachers seem satisfied working at PS 229, and all teachers agree the school sets high standards for student work, according to the Learning Environment Survey. Yet, there appears to be some grumbling among middle school students. More than a third say school discipline is unfair and half say theydo not have enough variety of classes to choose from.This could be because the middle school was started in 2009, and Zappulla said they are adding more enrichment programs.
What makes our school special is that small school atmosphere that continues even through the 8th grade, said Zappulla. Our biggest challenge is financing but we have a very supportive PTA who plan family gatherings and assembly programs for the children.
Zappulla is organized, detailed-oriented, sensitive, has empathy for others, and can take a vision and turn it into a practical goal, Ellen Driesen, School District 20s UFT representative, told Brooklyn Daily.
Zappulla graduated from District 21 schools himself. He became principal in 2010, replacing respected James Harrigan who retired. Zappulla started as a music teacher at PS 229 and was named assistant principal in 2008. When I first met Bob, I was immediately impressed with his intelligence and knowledge. I always appreciated his ability to analyze situations and anticipate problems and provide solutions to the problem, Harrigan told the Brooklyn Daily.
The school hosts NIA, a free neighborhood wide after school program offering recreational and cultural activites.
Special Education: The school has self-contained and ICT classes.
Admissions: Zoned neighborhood school. Admissions to the gifted program is based on acombination of factors making up a "composite score". The final 4th grade report card counts for 45 percent, state tests 45 percent, attendance five percent and punctuality five percent. A few children are accepted from outside the zone. There are no open houses. (Annaclaire Diianni-Miller, web reports, July 2013; admissions updated January 2015)