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Middle School High School

P.S. 119 Amersfort

Grades: Pre-K, K-5
3829 Avenue K
Brooklyn NY 11210
Phone: 718-377-7696

Our Insights

What’s Special

A Haitian-Creole speaking counselor really connects with immigrant kids and their parents

The Downside

Teachers need to be encouraged to experiment more

Children dressed in blue plaid jumpers, blue trousers, and yellow shirts begin the day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful. The principal, speaking over the loudspeaker, then offers announcements and congratulates children for good behavior, such as lining up beautifully before class.

A traditional school in a well-kept, 100-year-old building, PS 119 serves many children whose parents are immigrants from the Caribbean, as well as families from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Pakistan. A Haitian-Creole speaking guidance counselor helps parents and kids navigate the new culture. Teachers describe the parents as hard-working homeowners, many of whom work several jobs to support their families. "The children are very respectful. The parents are very supportive," said Lucille McLaughlin, the supervising school aide who gave me my tour.

PS 119 is a structured school. Rules are clearly posted in the classrooms and in the cafeteria. "Use bathrooms only with pass," a sign in the cafeteria says. "Freeze when you hear the whistle on the schoolyard." The names of children with perfect attendance are posted in the corridors, as are photos of children named as a "good citizen" of the month for being particularly kind, respectful, or honest.

"I think children love structure," said principal Lisa Fernandez, who grew up in the neighborhood and attended public schools nearby as a child. "I think they like to know what to do and what's expected of them."

Teachers say there is a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose, and the staff goes beyond the requirements of the teachers' labor contract to make the school function well. For example, teachers volunteer to supervise the lunchroom and schoolyard a rarity in New York City public schools since the contract relieved them of those duties.

Fernandez trained at Columbia University's Teachers College with Lucy Calkins, an expert in teaching writing, and is working with the staff to adopt her method of encouraging children to write multiple drafts of their papers before "publishing" them. PS 119 has begun to introduce the new citywide curriculum, which includes teaching children to read from works of literature rather than textbooks. Fernandez, while proud of her staff and the school's accomplishments, hopes to encourage them to "think outside the box" more.

Many teachers still favor tried-and-tried methods and the children seem to respond well. In one class, children did math the old-fashioned way, writing four-digit math problems on the blackboard. In another, children discussed European explorers of New York, and other figures from the age of exploration such as Christopher Columbus, Giovanni da Verrazano and Samuel de Champlain.

"It's quiet. There are not a lot of children out of the classroom," McLaughlin said as we toured nearly silent corridors. "If they are out of the classroom, they have to have a pass or be with a teacher. In the cafeteria, they don't get out of their seat without permission."

Special education: The school offers part-time services to children with mild special needs.

After school: The school offers music, art, dance, and chorus, as well as academic help. (Clara Hemphill, November 2004)

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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 2018-19 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
83% Citywide Average

From 2017-18 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
1% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
80% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From 2018 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?
49% Citywide Average

What is the Pre-K like?

From this school's most recent Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

Instruction: Teachers ask kids to explain their reasoning when they solve problems

From this school's most recent Early Childhood Environmental Rating System (ECERS-R)

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 2018-19 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
93% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
25% Citywide Average

From 2018 School Directories

Pre-K seats

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2018 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


Flatlands (District 22)
Buses: B103, B41, B44, B6, B7, B82, B9, BM1, BM4, Q35


Lisa Fernandez
Parent Coordinator
Arthur Johnson

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.

Zone for the 2019-2020 school year. Call school to confirm.

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