Upper East Side
For a chance to savor the lap of luxury, head uptown.
Sun Feb 15 2009
71 East 94th Street. Grades K--6.
What's special: Superior academics for very bright children.
Downside: Uneven quality of teaching
Hunter College Elementary School, a laboratory school for the study of "intellectually gifted" children, is one of the most sought after schools in the city. Nearly 1,800 families request an application for their children to take an IQ test to be considered for admission at a cost of about $300. Of those, between 250 and 300 meet the cutoff necessary to be interviewed, which ranges from the 97th to the 98th percentile, depending on the year. A total of 48 are chosen for the kindergarten class. Read the full review from Insideschools.org
1458 York Avenue. Grades K--5.
What's special: Super-involved parents' association.
Downside: Old building with long winding corridors.
PS 158 has a relaxed and cheerful tone. Principal Darryl Alhadeff spends lots of time in the classrooms and seems to know most of the children by name. She strives to give teachers as much support as they need in order to do their jobs. "I believe you nurture teachers the way you nurture children," she says. Teachers have "common preps," regularly scheduled periods during the day in which they may plan lessons together and ask one another for advice. "Darryl makes a point of making families know they're welcome," said one mother. The principal is "very personable, very approachable," said another mother. Read the full review from Insideschools.org
419 East 66 Street. Grades K--5.
What's special: Strong, creative work in all grades; proximity to world-class research institutions enriches the school.
Downside: Some parents are not happy with pace of math instruction; school needs more technology.
In a scene reminiscent of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, students at PS 183 paraded around the track in the school's renovated yard, some carrying signs with the names of their native countries or the countries of their parents and grandparents. Some donned traditional costumes, others dressed as any American kid would on a blazing hot day in June shorts, t-shirts, sneakers. The occasion was the annual International Day, a natural event for a school that boasts more than 40 languages spoken amongst its many immigrant and first-generation American students. Read the full review from Insideschools.org
1700 3 Avenue. Grades K--5.
What's special: Free after-school, small classes, strong teaching.
Downside: Separate schools in building divided by race and class.
Attentive teachers, a strong principal, and a science program taught by researchers at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine make this a school to watch. Once a struggling school, PS 198 now has test scores that place it in the top quarter of schools citywide. The school's progress is all the more remarkable considering the Lower Lab School for Gifted Education which shares a building with PS 198 continues to draw some of the neighborhood's brightest students. Read the full review from Insideschools.org
311 East 82 Street. Grades K--5.
What's special: Writing program that is a national model.
Downside: Some concern about the math program in the upper grades.
Manhattan New School, one of the top schools in the city, is best known for its writing program. Children are taught to write well, and creatively, from the very earliest grades. First graders conduct interviews of their classmates' parents and write books about what they learn. By the 4th grade, many students are writing moving, textured, and descriptive prose and talking about their work in sophisticated ways. Kids and teachers alike feel that they have a real say in what goes on at the school: It is a place where their opinions count. Read the full review from Insideschools.org
45 East 81 Street. Grades K--5.
What's special: High quality teaching and sound academics.
Downside: Office staff can be abrupt.
One of the top schools in the city, PS 6 has a particularly well-developed writing program, based on the principles outlined by writing guru Lucy Calkins. Teachers College has designated PS 6 as a "mentor school" for its reading and writing project. Teachers and researchers from across the country visit the school on a regular basis to see how it teaches children to write. By the time they graduate, children have written memoirs, plays, songs, speeches, essays, poetry, and short stories. With each piece, they go through many stages: collecting ideas, picking a "seed" or central theme, planning a first draft, revising, editing, and finally "publishing"preparing a piece for others to read either in a homemade book or at a "writing celebration" to which family members are invited. Read the full review from Insideschools.org
1700 3 Avenue. Grades K--5.
What's special: A warm gifted program with hyper-active parents.
Downside: Separate schools in the building seem divided by race and class.
Founded in 1987 as a program for the gifted, the Lab School is modeled after two progressive private schools, Manhattan Country School and Bank Street School of Education. Classrooms have cheerful curtains and sofas, donated by the parents. Geraniums in blue plastic pots line a windowsill along a corridor that faces a sunny interior courtyard. The floors are a sparkling blue. Children call teachers by their first names. Most of the classes have tablesnot desksand children move from one activity to another freely. They sit on rugs, or sprawl on the floor in the hall with a book. The academics are demanding. Fourth graders may write essays of 750 words. Fifth graders may read classics often read by older children, such as The Red Badge of Courage, The Wizard of Oz, and Frankenstein.Read the full review from Insideschools.org
317 East 67 Street. Grades K--5.
What's special: Open, progressive learning environment; access to an impressive range of facilities in Julia Richman Complex.
Downside: Room for improvement in academic performance.
Ella Baker is a small, progressive school founded on the model of Central Park East in East Harlem. The school exudes openness and informality a place where teachers and administrators are addressed by their first name and older children stop to say hello to the younger ones. Two grades of kids are taught together (K-1) (1-2) (2-3), so students have the same teacher for two years. Children are encouraged to explore their own interests and work at their own pace. Ella Baker is on the list of 209 schools that the chancellor exempted from the citywide uniform curriculum. Read the full review from Insideschools.org
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