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Elementary School Middle School High School

P.S. 251 Queens

Grades: Pre-K, K-4
Staff Pick
144-51 Arthur Street
Queens NY 11413
Phone: 718-276-2745

Our Insights

What’s Special

Steady leadership, solid test scores

The Downside

No gymnasium & tiny cafeteria in what used to be the science room

Tucked behind two middle schools in a residential cul-de-sac, PS 251 has long been a stable school with positive leadership and solid academics. Established in 1972 as an early-childhood magnet school, it served grades k-2 until 2004, when 3rd grade was added. In September 2015, the school will begin to reduce the number of classrooms to two per grade and add 4th and 5th grades to become a complete pre-kindergarten through 5th grade school by the 2016-2017 school year.

PS 251 has two pre-kindergarten classrooms. They feature blond wood lofts and are outfitted with puppets and other tools for learning to read, with objects and shapes for learning math and with dramatic play areas. All children visit the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) teacher once a week in a colorful room filled with blocks, science materials and art supplies where they float boats and build with Legos, among other hands-on activities.

The school has taken steps to maintain an orderly atmosphere by adopting a positive behavior management program; children receive small rewards or privileges for good behavior. The system was put in place when teachers indicated on school surveys that they did not have enough help with behavior management. There is a small "achievement group" designed to channel the energy of boys for whom the positive behavior system has not been enough. It's about "doing the right thing, working as a team," said longtime principal Edna Loncke, who is a composed and respected leader.

The instruction at PS 251 has an old-fashioned quality. Teachers are called by their surnames and pay attention to skills like spelling (the school holds a spelling bee), handwriting and phonics. Young children chant the letter of the week in unison and trace the letter in the air in a practice called "skywriting." The principal said top-performing students are eligible for district gifted and talented programs. "We always get children who are selected," she said.

In math classes we saw children practicing skills in workbooks as well as working on activities designed to help them understand math concepts. In one exercise, children cut out circles and lined them up in rows to understand that 4 x 3 is the same as 3 x 4. Some children develop speed with math facts by using a computer program called Reflex Math, which they can access at home or school.

Kindergartners learn to play the piano; 2nd-graders learn to swim at the nearby Roy Wilkins Recreation Center; and 3rd-graders participate in a marine biology excursion aboard a sailing vessel. Other activities include chorus and cooking and a yearly musical. On Saturdays about 70 children read with adult volunteers through a program called Reading Empowers.

Space is at a premium: A medium-sized room is used for assemblies, morning line-up and other school programs. There is a tiny cafeteria and some children must eat lunch quite early to accommodate them all. The school has a makeshift gymnasium so the outdoor yard is used whenever possible for gym class. During the expansion, the school may be able to share common spaces with the middle schools that occupy the adjacent building: Collaborative Arts MS 355, and Community Voices MS 356, which replaced troubled MS 231 in 2013.

After-school services are available for a fee. They include guitar, science, dance, spelling, math, writing, test prep and more.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has two team-taught classes, in which children with special needs learn alongside their general education peers. There is one self-contained class. A special education tutor works with individuals as needed.

ADMISSIONS: Open to District 29 families by lottery. (Lydie Raschka, November 2014)

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School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2018-19 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
52%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
67%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
81%
83% Citywide Average

From 2017-18 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
1%
1% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
68%
80% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school
2.9

How do students perform academically?

From 2018 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
48%
51% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
44%
49% Citywide Average

What is the Pre-K like?

From the NYC Program Assessment (CLASS and ECERS-R) Database through 2018-2019

Instruction: Teachers ask kids to explain their reasoning when they solve problems
Activities: Children explore art, music, sand/water, dramatic play and more
Language: Teachers talk and listen to kids in a supportive way
Interaction: Teachers ask kids good questions and invite back-and-forth conversation

Who does this school serve?

From 2018-19 Demographic Snapshot

Enrollment
351
Asian
6%
Black
79%
Hispanic
11%
White
1%
Other
3%
Free or reduced priced lunch
71%
Students with disabilities
22%
English language learners
2%
Pre-K seats
27

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
93%
93% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
21%
25% Citywide Average

From 2018 School Directories

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2018 State ELA+Math Results Summary

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
11%
28% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
14%
23% Citywide Average


For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Contact & Location

Location

Springfield Gardens (District 29)
Buses: Q111, Q113, Q114, Q3, Q77, Q85

Contact

Principal
Relda Barry Grant
Parent Coordinator
Twanna Hutchinson

Other Details

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.

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