Children speak 78 languages at home
Budget cuts have limited the arts
PS 234 serves a multi-ethnic group of children who speak 78 languages at home. The children's families come from South Asian countries as well as Brazil, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Tibet.
The school emphasizes community service along with academics. Students may visit nursing homes or collect holiday gifts for needy children.
The school opened in fall 2003. Founding Principal Thea Pallos left the school in August 2014 when she moved out of the city. Dora Danner, formerly an assistant principal at PS 17, became interim acting principal.
The building has spacious, modern common areas such as a gym, music room, art room and library, as well as such non-institutional touches as curved hallways and glass brick walls in the stairwells. Common areas are shared with a middle school housed on the fourth floor of the building.
The school has firm commitment to the arts. Budget cuts forced the school to cut an art teacher for a few years but as of 2014, the school once again had an art teacher. Drama and dance are taught by a special education teacher who helped children put on a production of the Nutcracker. Instead of a computer lab, students use laptop computers in the classrooms throughout the building. To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the building, children designed tiles depicting special events at the school.
Special education: There are four "self-contained" classes for children with special needs only, as well as supplemental services for students in general education classrooms. In addition, teachers try to identify kids outside of the mandated program who might need some extra help and provide them with short-term services.
Admissions: Neighborhood school. (Clara Hemphill, phone interview, December 2012; Pamela Wheaton, phone interview August 2014)
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Queens NY 11102