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An entire school focused on early childhood
Children must move to another school after 1st grade
Founded in 1995 in a bright, modern building with yellow- and green-tiled hallways, tiny PS 51 serves only pre-kindergartners through 1st-graders. Most children move to PS 56 for 2nd through 5th grade.
The city rated the school "well developed," the highest rating, on a 2013 Quality Review. The report and the school's 2014 yearly plan mention the school's consistency in instruction, the strong reading scores on in-school tests and the many hands-on activities. Children engage in science activities on topics like air pressure and air resistance and make city skylines out of paper. "Across the school, students are extremely joyful in small learning groups," wrote the lead reviewer in the report.
Principal Magdaly Saint-Juste was a Cahn Fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University, a program that recognizes outstanding principals and offers opportunities for professional growth. PS 51 offers professional growth too, by mentoring student teachers from St. John's University and Queens College.
Almost one-third of the children are learning English and receive support outside of their regular classes and during an afterschool program two days a week. Up to seventeen languages are spoken by the families including Punjabi, Urdu, Russian, Arabic and Bengali. Some staff members, who speak Spanish, Urdu and Punjabi, help communicate with families.
Parents are invited to two to three workshops per month on topics ranging from phonics to fitness. One of the school's strengths, according to the yearly plan, lies in the fact that the focus is on the needs of early childhood learners only. "We continue to learn more about the students in this category, the developmentally appropriate practices that work with them, as well as how to tailor our approaches for their specific needs," wrote a staff member in the plan.
A basement multipurpose room serves as a gym, auditorium and lunchroom.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: A handful of children receive support services outside of their regular classes. The school has team-taught classes that mix children with special needs and their general education peers in one room.
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school.(Lydie Raschka, school data, June 2015)Read more