P.S. 288 The Shirley Tanyhill
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Sense of community.
Some teachers struggle with classroom management.
JANUARY 2013 UPDATE: PS 288 was temporarily relocated to IS 228 at 228 Ave S in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. It moved back to its own building in January 2012.
OCTOBER 2004 REVIEW: PS/MS 288 has been designated by New York State as a "school in need of improvement," which means it has a history of low test scores. Fortunately, with the arrival of a new principal, Joelene-Lynette Kinard, in 2004 there is the promise of hope. Some students say she is a pleasant person as well as a frequent presence in hallways.
Kinard is not the only person who wants to turn the school around, either. Two fulltime coaches for literacy and math help teachers understand and use the progressive curriculum that the city has required in most of its schools since 2003. In addition, the parent coordinator encourages parents to "bridge the gap between home and school" by reading with their children early to find out if they have any academic difficulties. She also urges them to apply math when the kids help out with household chores, so that buying groceries can, for example, become a lesson about prices or cooking can turn into a lesson about measurements.
There is a sense of community at PS/MS 288 that sometimes makes this school of roughly 750 feel smaller than it is. The parent association hand-makes whatever it can for school events and provides medical supplies and even holiday treats for children. The family worker who oversees the pre-kindergarten program carefully interviews and assesses all applicants before they attend (and if there are more children than seats available, she accepts the ones who have the lowest scores or who need the most support). Older students look out for younger ones, in part because many have siblings in the school. On our visit, a kindergartner and her buddy, both in tidy uniforms, ran up to hug her sister, an 8th grader who was one of our tour guides. In the elementary school science class, two middle school students volunteered to help out, as their younger siblings enthusiastically weighed objects on scales and busily jotted down notes.
A few classrooms we visited pulsed with the scholarly energy produced by skilled teachers and engaged students. The teacher of the science class mentioned above bounced from one buzzing group to another to help students, one of whom ranked science as his favorite class after gym. We were also impressed by an English class where 7th graders first followed along carefully in their books as their teacher read aloud from Of Mice and Men, then participated eagerly in the class discussion that followed. A librarian discussed books in a softly lit library with music playing in the background.
Unfortunately, many classes we saw were hampered by uninspiring lessons and teachers frustrated with a few distracted children who would not focus on their work. In one case, the teacher had to ask a disruptive student to leave the class. Another teacher mentioned to us that student discipline and behavior could be improved.
The school offers two, full-day pre-kindergarten classes and a Spanish bilingual kindergarten class. Children take computer classes in a nicely outfitted lab and can participate in putting on a school play. Past productions include Annie, West Side Story, and The Sound of Music.
After school: The Beacon program, administered by the city, and the Jewish Community Council host the program. Supplemental education services or tutoring - available for children attending a School in Need of Improvement - are on-site. (Catherine Man, October 2004)Read more