Kids love this school; they feel very comfortable there; teachers are great. Common core is very tough, but I love how our teachers handle it, they teach our kids how to think first, they have a lot of writings and very interesting social studies programs!
My son attends Kindergarten class at P.S. 81 (Robert J. Christen) school. I personally think the teachers are great, especially my son's teacher. He loves his school, learning, and he likes to be challenged, his teacher does just that. She likes to challenge my son to better his writing and I have seen a great improvement. The Principal is very involved and really cares for the children. I have nothing but good things to say about my son's first year at P.S. 81.
There is a serious issue at the school with the kindergarten program. Three years ago they cut the aides for the 5 kindergarten classes. So there are 25-26 5 year olds in a classrom with one adult. Furthermore no experienced kindergarten teacher will put up with this so they left and the new teachers are having issues. Lastly the physical size of the classroom are smaller than required. All this leads to dramatically reduced learning in the classroom and a serious spike in child injuries especially head injuries. Management denies that there is an issue. The local doctors who address these injuries seriously disagree. The school requires the parents to spend (at least 10 hours) time to do homework with their child to make up for the inability of their staff to cope with this situation. Complaints with the Board of Education have been filed. We hope that the safety issue will be addressed as soon as possible. The educational effects for those not having time to spend with their children are serious. Even more serious are medical issues that are likely to result. The rest of the school seems to function well. Lastly a visit to the school playground in the morning will reveal much. N
Running a public school in New York City is a challenge in many ways. I think PS81 does a great job in dealing with all the challenges. The principal, Ms. Kirrane, is very committed to the school. She really cares about the kids. When it is a snow day, she is out on the street opening car doors to greet kids. She has always given a priority to parents with concerns and has a real open door policies. That said, the school does have its challenges with a diverse group of kids. It's public school in a big urban city. I don't think any school is perfect, but PS81 is a really good elementary school. We are lucky to have this school in our neighborhood.
Sadly this school has become a test prep factory. Grades 3-5 began test prep at the end of January and it continued up until today, the day before the state math test. There was test prep in the morning and in the afternoon. It was overwhelming for my child. I am saddened by the direction the school took in regards to the test prep.
My children have been attending P.S. 81 for the past four years. My husband and I are very happy with the teachers and the principal. The principal is a hands on person who is always available to meet with parents. She has made many positive changes since she became principal. Coffee with the principal is a new event at 81. These small meetings are opportunities to learn more about the happenings at the school and the curriculum. There is an increased focus in the study of arts. This year there is a full time art and music teacher. We also have many other art experiences like New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center. The assistant principal is very helpful and is always available to answer questions. The principal met with all of the parents at the beginning of the year to share her plans for this school year. We were excited about the study of foreign language. The principal informed us about the safety procedures that are in place. My husband and I are very happy with the safety plans that are in place. We are grateful to have a neighborhood school where our children receive an excellent education from caring teacher and administration.
Our child attended PS81 school from K through 5th. Generally our child's academic experience was solid, and apart from one year, the educators were dedicated, rigorous and capable. Excellence in science and the arts is sadly lacking though. The science curriculum is great when the state test is upon students in 4th grade but otherwise, it is mediocre with an unacceptable failure to teach students 'real' science. The major problem with the school is an inability to accept and / or control bullying, which we found to be prevalent in 5th grade and negatively impacted our overall experience here. We were not the only family to encounter this problem in this age group and sadly the senior administration did not effectively deal with this problem or implement policies to prevent it. Disrespectful kids who 'mouth-off' during class and exhibit rude behavior to teachers and fellow-students were not adequately dealt with, such that this type of behavior became pandemic and negatively influenced the class dynamic. The head is a dedicated educator but she drastically needs to assert her authority more to eliminate these problems. The school needs a SHAKE-UP!
THE ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL IS TERRIBLE SHE LACKS EMPATHY FOR BOTH THE CHILDREN AND PARENTS THE TEACHERS HOWEVER ARE AMAZING LEADERS AND EDUCATORS BUT DURING LUCH WHERE THE ONLY ONES WATCHING OUR CHILDREN ARE THE SCHOOL AIDS , WAY WAY TOO MUCH BULLYING OCCURS AND THEY DONT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. FOR EXAMPLE IF A CHILD IS SEEN RUNNING AROUND IN THE LUNCH ROOM THEY WOULD GET HELD IN AND NOT ALLOWED RECESS BUT IF ANOTHER CHILD IS BULLYING ACHILD THEY IGNORE IT .
Academically, it is still a fine school, but beyond that it is declining rapidly. Bullying around the lunch room and at recess time, continues unabated and the administration is completely blind to it. Lip service is all we get from them. The continuing emphasis, sadly, is on test scores and though the curriculum is still met, fostering a love of learning seems to have gone out the window. While I realize this is the reality of Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, it is a sad commentary on our children's future. Teachers have to focus on these results and these results only. I don't think they like it any more than I do. The Parents Association tries hard, but the lingering apathy among too many of the other parents' makes those of us who do participate feel like we are shouldering an enormous burden... and for what? They need a new/real Principal and they need it soon. There is no real direction from the front office. The interim Principal is a great educator, but an invisible leader. Her predecessor was lacking in grace, but really controlled the school well. My child graduates this May and we are beyond ready to have P.S. 81 in our rear view mirror.
We were very happy to send our so to P.S.81. The faculty and administratopnn were very caring and extremely competent. The parents are very involved and there is a great sense of community. Overall a great experience.