P.S. 196 Grand Central Parkway
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Strong academics and leadership.
Emphasis on test prep; packed building.
PS 196 is a destination school. Middle class parents move into the area to secure a seat in this consistently high-performing school. The school has a cohesive community with involved parents and a good relationship between teachers and administrators.
The work is demanding and academics take priority, but every child takes art and music as well. There are SMART boards in many classrooms. The school stresses preparation for state exams but also makes an effort to instill a love of reading and writing. Teachers give principal Susan Migliano, who has been at the helm since 2009, high marks. An impressive 86% said they felt supported "to a great extent" by Migliano on the 2011 Learning Environment Survey. All teachers in each grade meet twice a week to discuss student progress.
Parents in the past have complained about a lack of warmth among school leadership and too much emphasis on test prep, but report that things have improved under Migliano.
Kindergarten classes are at the maximum of 25 children each, while 1st through 3rd grades hover at around 30 children each. The school's popularity has resulted in about 640 children learning in a building meant for about 450.
For the few students who are struggling, there is a Saturday Academy and morning tutoring. English language learners can also access extra help after school. Since most students pass the state exams, the school has made it a goal to increase the number of kids who score above grade level. There are numerous clubs, including chorus and Lego robotics.
After school: Students may take Chinese, Spanish, sculpture, yoga, cooking, play sports and get homework help, for a fee. Students can also access the program for a single day on an as-needed basis.
Special education: There are self contained classes as well as an Integrated Co-Teaching class in kindergarten, which combined special and general education children.
Admissions: Neighborhood school. (Meredith Kolodner, interviews, DOE stats, March 2012)Read more