P.S. 203 Oakland Gardens
Strong arts and music program
Some overcrowding in recent years
PS 203 is one of the highest-performing schools in the city. It has stable leadership, good teaching and a satisfied parent body.
The arts are big at PS 203. Students study artists such as Picasso, Wang Yani, Van Gogh, and Matisse. There is a school band, a 4th and 5th grade chorus and even an accordion club.
The Department of Education’s 2011-2012 Learning Environment Survey gave the school high marks, with most teachers and parents agreeing that the school has high expectations for students and a high quality of teaching. In addition, teachers were pleased with the leadership of the longtime principal, Carole Nussbaum.
In 2012, the school was named a Blue Ribbon school by the U.S. Department of Education for students’ academic achievement and improvement. Only 1,700 schools received this honor nationally, and only five recipient schools were from New York.
PS 203 students “express the belief that all can and will succeed,” said Jacquelyn Pitta a communication director for the U.S. Department of Education.
Each student has access to his or her own computer, and every classroom houses a SMARTBoard, which allows teachers to prepare interactive creative lessons for students.
In 2013 a team of 5th grade P.S. 203 students placed first in New York and 10th nationally at the Odyssey of the Mind, an academic competition. Odyssey of the Mind taps into students’ critical thinking and creative skills, including challenges such as building mechanical devices and interpreting literary classics.
Nussbaum has been principal since for more than a decade. Enrollment has increased in recent years and the school has more children than it was originally designed to serve.
Special education: The school has team-teaching and self-contained special education classes.
Admissions: Neighborhood school. (Owen Minott, web reports, July 2013)