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P.S.11…Neighborhood Darling

April 24, 2009

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During the past week there has been uproar by a handful of parents about how the principal at P.S 20 runs his school. Within these arguments it was stated multiple times that P.S 11 has now changed, being much improved over the past two years.

Between my two eldest daughters, I have had a student attending P.S. 11 from September 1999 through June 2008.  Both of my kids were able to be in the LEAD program on every grade level (similar to a gifted & talented program- a term I never liked even when I was a part of it) through which their teachers guided them toward academic proficiency. I’d like to note that as of September 2009 the LEAD program is being phased out of PS 11.

Last year a report was released by the DOE giving P.S.11 a passing grade, citing a rise in

standardized test scores, the tests are given to grades 3 to 5. In the category of student performance, which measures student skill levels in English Language Arts & Math, the school received a score of A, with 72.1% of its students at or above proficiency in ELA; 86.6% of its students were at or above proficiency in Math. This is for the school year 2007-2008. Not exactly eye popping great numbers but not bad either.

My last year as a parent in PS 11, the major changes I saw were the make up of the PTA, a small influx of newer resident’s kids in pre-K to K, a change in principal which brought a relaxing of the former strictly enforced rule of no parents being allowed in the school during school hours or popping up to sit in the classroom without notice. The new make up of the PTA were able to pool more resources which is always a good thing. Just last year the school couldn’t get Tish James to come receive an award presented to her, but this year Marty Markowitz, Borough President is attending the Silent Auction.

The teachers, the teaching methodology remains the same. Some cooking activities plus other extra curricular activities that have been added to the classroom and/or after-school are great. Just like having authors to come in to read their books, art workshops w/ classmates on Saturdays, trips to see the Philharmonic, read-a-thon pajama parties, Friday movie nights in the auditorium, family game nights, etc. were some of the things that were great for my kids at PS 11.

So where is the notion that PS 11 just became this “changing” acceptable neighborhood school coming from? Here’s a portion of an interesting comment some made on the NY Times FG/CH blog:

Your post reminded me of two conversations I had regarding the student body of ps 11. A parent pointed out that she liked what she has seen in the younger grades and enjoyed the families she has met but wasn’t too sure about the older grades. But, she said, as the younger kids move up, along with their parents, things should be OK. In my mind, what was underling her comment was the fact the older grades at ps 11 are much more homogenous than the younger grades -mostly black. (I guess the result of gentrification.) That, in my opinion, gave her pause. Had a similar conversation with another parent.

With teachers like Mrs.Kinsale, Ms.Tomlin, Ms.Pitts, Ms.Na Sha, Ms.Wiley, Ms.Copeland, Mrs. Frazier, Ms.Brown, Ms.Smith & Ms.Yelverton, Ms.Lyons and Mrs.Epstein, my children plus a few nieces have been able to do  what I deem most important in school, which is to learn then excel. That is the basis of why P.S. 11 has BEEN a good neighborhood school not because it has some newly changed progressive attitude or
method of teaching despite now being allowed to bring brownies with youngest in tow to the classroom on any given day without notice.

 

My guess is my kids in the upper grades would be the ones, as referred to in the comment, the newer parents aren’t too sure about, but at least I am sure that this type of attitude is not held amongst the teachers. The same teachers that initiated brunches with the classmates only on weekends in the neighborhood, teachers that held sleepovers at their home for the class at the end of the year because she loved those kids & still does. Being able to see your child’s teachers from years past in passing and her asking about the well being of her former students, her maintaining a genuine interest in the well being of your children…I think that speaks volumes to the type of school family P.S. 11 has always been to us.  Till this day. With that assurance I will walk my daughter to her 1st day of school in September ’10 with the same confidence I had 11 years earlier when I dropped off her older sister.

 

  

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