P.S. 57 Hubert H. Humphrey
Nationally recognized environmental science program
PS 57 has won national recognition for its efforts to teach children about the environment. Children grow fruits and vegetables in the school garden and built a greenhouse out of 1,500 recycled plastic bottles, according to a blog of the National Wildlife Federation. [Photo from NWF website.]
The school was named a Green Ribbon School in 2013 by the US Department of Education, Children learn about climate change, renewable energy, composting, recycling, gardening, robotics, and ecology, the blog said.
Science teacher Patricia Lockhart has developed "an eclectic science curriculum" that integrates environmental education with art, math, social studies and language arts, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which gave her a 2012 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators.
Students visit nearby Eibs Pond Park, and learn how air pollution contributes to asthma and how poor eating habits contribute to childhood obesity.
"Patricia created a healthy children's garden at the school for students to grow their own fruit and vegetables and a butterfly and bee garden to attract pollinators and help students learn about plant and insect life," the EPA said.
Set across the street from long blocks of nondescript brick housing projects, PS 57 serves a mix of long-time residents and new immigrants from West Africa. In 2005, Lockhart traveled to Liberia to oversee distribution of a shipping container's worth of nonperishable food, clothing, shoes, and baby supplies that students in her school had collected. At the time, many PS 57 children had arrived from war-torn countries and some of them had never had formal education. Some had been orphaned by war and were living with members of their extended their families.
Despite the strength of the science program, the school faces significant challenges. Attendance is below average, and there appears to be friction between the administration and the staff. Forty percent of teachers say they don't get enough support from the principal, Sandra Harrell, and 45 percent say they would not recommend the school to parents, according to the Learning Environment Survey. [Harrell left the school in 2014 and assistant principal Karyn Lind was named interim acting principal.]
Special education: More than one-quarter of the students receive special education services, either in regular classrooms or in "self-contained" classes.
Admissions: neighborhood school. (Clara Hemphill, web reports, October 2013/updated November 2014)