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P.S. 94 David D. Porter

Grades: K-5
Staff Pick
41-77 Little Neck Parkway
Queens NY 11363
Phone: 718-423-8491
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Our Insights

What’s Special

Great science, active parents & personalized instruction.

The Downside

Kindergarten in an annex a mile away; large class size

Just a few blocks from the Long Island border, PS 94 hums with activity and purpose. The science room has more animals than we've seen just about anywhere, and the organized principal and staff know how to target lessons to students at all levels.

Rather than one-size-fits-all instruction, teachers try different approaches with different children. Children have a choice of activities and tasks for reading and math, depending on their interests and level of skills: one child may work on a puzzle, another may write words with magnetic letters, while a third may read to himself.

"Teachers understand we can't teach the same way to everyone," said Laura Avakians, principal since 2014.

Located in a middle class neighborhood of one-family homes where most children walk to school, PS 94 could easily hold its own with neighboring Great Neck, widely considered one of the best schools districts in the state.

"You can taste the learning from the minute you walk in the door," is a quote posted in the entrance from the Department of Education's 2016 Quality Review.

As early as kindergarten, children are reading and writing. "Kindergarten mimics what 1st grade was like," said the principal, after giving a high five to a five-year-old who announced that her reading level was "C." In another class, 1st-graders were editing one another's writing, asking questions and pointing out ways to improve it.

Parents say Avakians, former assistant principal at PS 133 in Queens and PS 260 in Brooklyn, listens to their requests and acts on them when she can.She dresses up for the Harvest Festival along with the students and under her watch activities have expanded: there's a spirit day, mustache day, Dr. Seuss day, Pi day, dads-take-your-kids-to-school day and monthly teas with parents as well as regular family nights and workshops.

Some classes are large30 to 31. Because of overcrowding, three kindergarten classrooms are housed in an annex nearly a mile away. Enrollment has declined slightly in recent years and Avakian hopes to bring kindergarten back to the main building.

Science instruction is particularly strong and children have plenty of time for experiments. The walls are lined with animal habitats, housing a gecko, a hamster, a bearded dragon, a toad and a rescued tortoise among other critters. In a lesson on composting, 5th graders asked articulate questions such as "What's the difference between decompose and disintegrate?" Andrea Franke, the lively longtime teacher, effectively conveyed her enthusiasm. A LEGO club wins awards and some of the top-performing students join an early morning STEM class doing such experiments as building a chair out of pasta and glue.

Just a few weeks before the state exams, there was no sign of test prep. "We don't believe in test prep before the test," the principal said. "We embed test prep vocabulary throughout the year."

Staff and parents refurbished the gymnasium, and the principal hired a PE teacher who also does one on one tutoring for children who need it. "Everyone's schedule is very full," said the principal. "Everyone wears many hats."

The neighborhood has seen an increasing number of immigrant families and on the day of our visit there were several children in one classroom who had just arrived from El Salvador and Korea. The boy from El Salvador was seated with two little Spanish-speaking girls who eagerly helped him.

There are dedicated art, music and PE teachers but no assistant principal; Avakians prefers to budget money for the classrooms.

The active Parents Association helps pay for activities such as tennis and taekwondo. Lunchtime clubs include knitting, karaoke and sports. There is also a glee club and chorus and some children take violin lessons. The school has a tiny playground, but children use the city playground on the corner or stay inside for clubs and games.

"We don't believe in showing videos during recess," said Avakian. "We want to improve the social skills and putting kids in front of television is not improving social skills."

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT classrooms in most grades with a mixture of students of all learning levels.

ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. (Pamela Wheaton, March 2016)

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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 2017-18 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
89%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
84%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
95%
85% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
84%
78% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school
3.9

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?
85%
49% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
81%
48% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2017-18 Demographic Snapshot

Enrollment
328
Asian
57%
Black
4%
Hispanic
20%
White
17%
Other
3%
Free or reduced priced lunch
50%
Students with disabilities
15%
English language learners
9%

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
97%
93% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
7%
25% Citywide Average

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?
45%
26% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
40%
22% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
64%
27% Citywide Average


For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Contact & Location

Location

Little Neck (District 26)
Buses: Q12, Q36

Contact

Principal
Laura Avakians
Parent Coordinator
GEORGIA KATEHIS

Other Details

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Metal detectors?
No

Zone for the 2017-2018 school year. Call school to confirm.

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