This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Ps 81 Robert J Christen4
Posted February 13, 2015
- a parent
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.
This school has been declining over the past couple years, there is not enough art or technology utilized in this school. There is a lot of bullying at lunch and at recess and the administration does not respond to parent requests for more information as to how they are addressing this problem.
Nothing is perfect so with that said as a public school this one is doing great. Do I want more art and music, yes! Would I like to see more physical activity time and play time? Yes. Would I like the principal and teachers to focus far less on test scores? Absolutely YES. However that will take a revolution so as long as the scores are tied to funds there can be very little change. Can the principal loosen some of the funds for these other activities, for sure. If enough parents band together change can occur. If not, then it won't.