Manhattan Charter School I
Share this school
French and music lessons
Storage is tight in small, quirky building
Founded in 2005, Manhattan Charter School is a tiny, cheerful school in a quirky round building on the Lower East Side. It offers music every day plus French lessons several times a week. “When children are learning a foreign language, great things happen in the brain that applies to all learning,” said Principal Genie DePolo.
Singing and rhythm are emphasized in the early grades, and by 5th grade some students join the school’s Louisiana-style brass band featuring trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, trombone and drums.
Many children walk to school from home. The school makes a special effort to recruit new immigrants with advertisements (translated by parents) in Spanish, Chinese and Bangladeshi newspapers.
Manhattan Charter features a longer school year, and a slightly longer school day, with an in-classroom breakfast at 7:45 am and dismissal at 3:30 pm. Teachers ease kindergartners into school routines by greeting them downstairs and shortening the first days of school. Children may attend five weeks of summer camp to get ready for school but that is optional.
During our visit, students wearing their school uniforms were well behaved and appropriately chatty for their age group. They smiled at visitors but then turned readily back to their work. In addition to a teacher, each K-2 classroom has one full-time teaching assistant. We saw a sleepy kid or two with heads on arms, on our Friday visit, after an assembly, yet the overall feeling was hardworking, with little wasted time.
Manhattan Charter School occupies most of the third floor of a modern building shared with PS 142. Manhattan Charter lacks storage but has a nice-sized music room.
Admissions: By lottery to students living in District 1. New students are not accepted in grades 4 and 5. (Lydie Raschka, June 2019)