P.S. 26 Rufus King
Share this school
Teaching is not one-size-fits-all
Building is not barrier-free
Teachers make it a priority to adapt lessons to each child's abilities at PS 26. In fact, the word "differentiation" is in the school's mission statement. High test scores are a testament to the success they have had with this approach.
The 2013-2014 Quality Review includes many examples of ways teachers try to reach kids who learn at different speeds, as all kids do. For example, after a math lesson, a teacher gave out three different problems of varying levels of difficulty. The reviewer mentioned six levels for a hands-on electricity activity in science. Some teachers use choice boards so kids can have a say as to how they learn the material. "They differentiate at every level, even in gym and science," said Parent Coordinator Christin Marziliano.
Principal Andrew Pecorella, formerly assistant principal at award-winning PS 159 in Bayside, replaced longtime principal Dina Koski in September 2014. There is a chain of support for new teachers at PS 26, who are mentored by experienced teachers in the building. Newbies also meet regularly with the assistant principal for feedback and support.
The school has many ways of welcoming parents, including free English classes four days a week and a book club, where parents can bond and discuss books like The Puzzle King, a family immigrant story set in 20th-century New York. "A lot of ESL parents are involved," said Marziliano.
Technology upgrades include a computer program called iReady for English language learners, which has engaging online lessons, and is another tool for reaching kids of all levels. SMART Boards are in all classrooms. Laptop computers are available so kids can write multiple drafts of reports and do online research, according to the school's yearly plan.
Creative arts classes combine movement, drama and dance. Chorus is offered in grades 4 and 5, and literacy through the arts is offered in the lower grades. There is a full-time technology teacher who incorporates math into lessons. Children learn to play basketball in gym class in addition to general fitness activities. All children visit the science lab once a week.
The photo [from the school website] was taken at a ceremony to install the new PS 26 student government. Children are dressed in clothing that reflects their families' countries of origin. There are four half-day pre-kindergarten programs, two in the morning and two in the afternoon.
One full-time ELL teacher serves the school's English language learners, who also participate in before- and after-school programs.
Special education:On every grade level there are ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes that mix students with special needs and their general education peers. Three self-contained classes serve 12 children with special needs only. Two full-time speech teachers, a full-time nurse and occupational and physical therapists offer services as needed. The school shares the building with PS 224, a District 75 school for children with more serious disabilities.
Admissions: Neighborhood school.(Lydie Raschka, phone interview and school data, September 2014)Read more