P.S. / IS 178 Holliswood
Share this school
Promotes positive interaction between age groups
Some teens may prefer a larger setting
PS/IS 178 is a well-regarded, high-performing pre-kindergarten through 8th grade school where the youngest and oldest interact in positive ways, while still maintaining their own identities within one building. The brick building is nestled in the suburban-like neighborhood of Jamaica Estates and spans an entire block.
Middle-school students have their own government, which helps them forge their own identity within the school. All their classes take place in one wing of the building, which the students have decorated with academically-themed murals. Some students tutor younger kids in the elementary school, which helps create cohesion between the younger and older grades. "It's everything from reading to tying shoes," said Parent Coordinator Phyllis Lattimer.
There are small supportive "advisory" groups that meet once a week to discuss academics as well as emotional or social issues that come up in school. One of the school's guidance counselors runs a support group for students with divorced parents called the "Banana Splits."
The school has full-time art, music, physical education, science and computer teachers, and students in all grades are exposed to either art or music each year. Children in kindergarten through 2nd grade learn percussion, 3rd- and 4th-graders learn to play recorder, and 5th-graders learn ballroom dance through the citywide Dancing Classrooms program. The Young People's Chorus works with grades 3-8 once a week. Middle school students pursue their interests through various electives ("talents") that meet during school. A drama club meets after school.
Students begin studying Spanish in the 6th grade, and may take the Spanish proficiency exam in the 8th grade, which most do, according to Lattimer. Additionally, high-achieving 8th-graders have the opportunity to take accelerated courses, which leads up to the integrated algebra and living environment Regents exams.
Principal Jennifer Ambert speaks in calm, even tones and exudes a quiet enthusiasm when describing her school. The small school is like "a private school setting where families know each other," she said. Ambert attended New York City public schools, and as a teacher and administrator in District 27, she piloted a 2D technology program and a literacy program. In an online biography she says she "loves math" and tutored algebra through pre-calculus for many years.
In the CHAMPS fitness program children can play a variety of sports including softball, badminton, volleyball or flag football. A well-attended morning fitness program for grades k-5 begins at 7:15 am. Children take trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and, in 8th grade, Camp Mason, in the Delaware Water Gap (see photo from the school's Facebook page.).
A renovated playground has a track, basketball hoops and handball courts, as well as two large playgrounds with climbing equipment.
PS/IS 178 offers after-school test prep for the specialized high school exam, but the neighborhood lacks direct access to the subway, and administrators say the out-of-borough specialized high schools are therefore less appealing than closer schools. Nonetheless, some students attend top schools such as Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech, and the High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at City College. "We usually get someone in all those specialized schools," said the parent coordinator. Those who remain in Queens attend a variety of schools, including specialized Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, selective Townsend Harris, and popular neighborhood high schools, such as Bayside, Cardozo and Francis Lewis.
Admissions: Neighborhood school (Cristin Strining, January 2009; updated by Lydie Raschka, phone interview and school data, September 2014)Read more