P.S. 41 Crocheron
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Cozy school with strong record of academic achievement
Some classes held in portables
Housed in an old-fashioned but well-kept building, PS 41 is a traditional school with a cozy feel and a strong record of academic achievement.
“People are very happy to be here,” said long-time principal Sari Latto. “We care about more than just the academics. We care about emotional well-being as well.” The school is quiet and orderly, and Latto seems to have a good rapport with the children. The school gets very high marks on the Learning Environment Survey and both teachers and parents are enthusiastic.
The school places an emphasis on teaching children to write well, and examples of sophisticated essays are posted on bulletin boards in the corridors. Children write not only in English and social studies classes, but also in science class.
There is an annual science fair for all grades and lots of hands-on science activities. We sat in on a science class in which children learned about erosion by making models of hills and valleys out of clay, pressed into aluminum pans, then squirting water over them to wear them down.
PS 41 has adopted the city’s scripted ReadyGen reading program, but teachers supplement it with plenty of trade books for independent reading.
Ballroom dancing, a chorus and band offer children exposure to the arts. A professional actor helps children put on a musical each year.
The school, long overcrowded, houses some children in portable classrooms on the playground. These classrooms are comfortable, but it can be awkward for the children to travel back and forth between the portables and the main building when the weather is bad.
Special education: PS 41 offers an unusual class, called Horizon, for children on the autism spectrum. These pupils, assigned to District 75 (which serves children with severe disabilities), may attend regular classes for part of the day, accompanied by an aide who gives them silent cues to help them focus and behave appropriately. Children from general education classes sometimes volunteer to help teach them social skills, working with them one-on-one under teachers’ supervision.
Admission: Neighborhood school. (Clara Hemphill, November 2013)