P.S. 191 Mayflower
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Consistent record of academic achievement
Few arts classes
PS 191 is located in a leafy, suburban-like community a few blocks from the Long Island border. Housed in a small red brick building, it draws most of its population from the one-family homes surrounding the school. The building is crowded and arts programs are few in number, but this safe school enjoys good test scores, a positive vibe and few changes in staff. Almost all its graduates attend Irwin Altman Middle School 172.
Like many schools in District 26, PS 191 has growing numbers of immigrant students from India, Pakistan, China and Korea. It has two full-day pre-kindergarten classes that fill quickly and are taught by experienced teachers, according to Michael Ranieri, who has been principal since 2002.
The school is attentive to its newly registered English language learners, who are treated to a welcome breakfast. Translators are brought in for parent meetings, and the staff takes great pains to respect the cultural and religious needs of its students. For instance, during Ramadan, teachers keep track of which students are fasting and therefore may be low on energy during the school day. The school produces a multicultural cookbook and hosts an international day.
A parent-student learning academy offers tutoring assistance once a month in the evening. "If your child is struggling with division you can bring your child in," said Ranieri in a phone interview. "We also have a school app on our phones to reach out to parents."
Though overall enrollment is low for a public elementary school, PS 191 is filled to capacity. With only two floors, the building is quite small, which means classes are large in some grades. "We're not as overcrowded as we were," said Ranieri. "There are no classes over 32."
Part-time teachers help with remediation as well as enrichment, so the many high-achieving students are as likely as struggling ones to get a little extra help to bump them up to the next level. Academic achievement is high overall, particularly in math.
Special classes include art, music, computers, hands-on science, library, student council, senior chorus and recorders. "We would like more money for the artsdance, theater," said the principal. "We only have money for a music teacher two days a week. And no band."
SPECIAL EDUCATION: PS 993, which is part of District 75, the citywide district for children with severe disabilities, houses several classes in the school building. While these classes are overseen by a separate, off-site administration, they participate in school-wide activities with PS 191. For example, one or two are on the basketball team, and students participate in performances and attend events. PS 191 also has its own small classes for children with special needs.
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. The principal urges parents to visit the school if they need help filling out the pre-kindergarten application. "We have people who write down the wrong thing," he said. Families with priority may miss out if the form is filled out incorrectly, he said. (Lydie Raschka, phone interview, July 2015)Read more