Vibrant arts programs.
Not enough parent involvement; constraints with shared facilities.
MAY 2007 REVIEW: A stately, turreted, century-old four-story building houses two schools, PS 315, also called the School of Performing Arts, and PS 152, a school focused on science and technology focus that occupies most of an annex built in 1998. The schools have separate entrances but share the gym and cafeteria.
The huge building that once housed 1,800 students was divided into two schools a decade ago. Principal Beverly Folkes-Bryant, who began teaching in the building in 1979, was the founding principal of PS 315. A musician, she directs the school chorus, and recognizes some the school's current parents as former pupils and members of her choir.
Arts are infused into the curriculum. Third graders studying Asia performed a Chinese dance during Chinese New Year. The day we visited, second graders performed an African dance part of a study of an African community with energy, poise and good stage presence. The school's string orchestra and chorus have performed at Carnegie Hall. The school has two full-time music teachers, one dance teacher and a dance studio, and two visual arts teachers.
The corridors of PS 315, with purple trim to distinguish them from the green color scheme of PS 152, are enlivened by student projects and art work. PS 315 has been successful in forging collaborations with nearby Brooklyn College, Carnegie Hall, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Student teachers from Brooklyn College worked with children on a study of how paper is made. Plants growing in classrooms and hallways were planted in conjunction with the Botanic Garden. Reading test scores have dipped at the school over the past few years and only about half the children read on grade level in some grades. The principal noted that the number of children performing at the lowest of 4 levels on the standardized exams Level 1 has decreased. The main push now is to move children from Level 2 to Level 3, she said.
During our visit, teachers used various strategies to teach reading. Some conducted phonics lessons introducing "ug" words such as "tug" or "rug," or led children in chanting aloud double consonant words such as "pull". In other classes students copied words for a spelling test. In several rooms, equipped with cozy chairs and couches, children listened avidly as their teacher read aloud from favorite novels. There was loud cheering in a 5th grade gifted class when students learned they would be hearing the last chapter of The Giver, a coming of age fantasy story. They were able to succinctly describe to a visitor what appealed to them so much about the book the "mood" created by the author and "the fact that it's unique you're eager to go on."
More reorganization of the building is coming as PS 152 plans to move early childhood classes to a nearby annex leaving PS 315 with space to build its own library, art room, and science lab.
While parents come out to special events such as the dance performance we saw or an evening Knicks basketball game, it's hard to get them out to meetings or to become active in the Parents Association, Bryant said. For their part, a few parents told us there was inadequate notice of meetings and that they were cancelled sometimes at the last minute.
There is one kindergarten class for kids learning English as a Second Language, many of them from Latin America or Haiti.
Admissions: Children in the neighborhood have the option of attending PS 315 or PS 152. As with all District 22 schools there is a gifted and talented program called Eagle.
Special education: There is one self-contained class situated in a portable building in the school yard with two young but accomplished teachers. It was a lively classroom serving children with a wide range of needs. Children take part in all of the same activities including chess in the school. There are several collaborative team teaching classes, taught by two teachers, one trained in special education.
After school: The Flatbush Y picks up children after school. There are remedial education classes, even on Saturday, and many clubs including dance team, a chorus, and bands. (Pamela Wheaton, May 2007)
About the students
About the school
Is this school safe?
About the leadership
About the teachers
Do parents like the school?
How does this school serve English Language Learners?
How does this school serve students with disabilities?
Brooklyn NY 11210