This is dependent on which school your child is in. The Annex building is more vigilant about dealing with bullying. The main building, however, not so much. It's very important to set a, "don't go there with me," tone at P.S. 83 because being mealy-mouthed and overly conciliatory may get you a ticket to an invitation only event but little else.
Again, it depends on the teacher. Some are better a supporting students with learning differences than others. Some are looking for Stepford children, some are not. Unfortunately, this speaks to the huge disparities among teachers.
The principal is not an effective leader as he prefers to surround himself with staffers who pay court to him not those that do their job well. As a result, his staff does not respect him and treat him like buddies on the golf course not the person responsible for the education of nearly 2,000 students. Because he's condescending and disingenuous the principal often comes across as incapable and lacking ability and substance.
This is a difficult question to answer as I try and process some staff behavior. For instance, if a parent asks a staff member a question pertaining to their child that staff member will call another staff member to find out whether or not she should answer the question.
Honestly, it depends on the teacher. If you're fortunate to get a teacher that isn't miserable and needs to find a new career, you're golden. However, some teachers act as if they are modern day indentured servants and their misery is apparent in their body language and in the way they interact with students and parents.
P.S. 83 has several great staff members who are dedicated to educating the students. However, that's not all of the staff. The principal has set a precedent that allows many to be inefficient, lazy, unprofessional and put personal agendas ahead of the needs of students. As a result, what should be a strong and fully unified school community has become a place for water cooler gossip and mindless prattle instead of a thriving institute of learning.
Pros: The dedicated staff encourage students and parents as partners including being eager and enthusiastic about helping. The Annex building security guard knows the name of every single student and takes her job seriously. She genuinely cares for those kids and is appropriately nurturing. The school offers tutoring programs that are effective and helpful. The in-class libraries are fantastic offering fiction and non-fiction varieties.
Cons: There appears to be a systematic system of excluding certain students from certain programs and events. PS 83 prefers parents who are hands-off meaning those that go along with the program and don't question anything! Being hands-on gets you branded a "troublemaker" or worse depending on which staff members ire you're subjected to. There is not enough diversity among the staff. There are so many familial and community connections within the staff which is often the source of confidentiality breeches which makes parents feel alienated from a school that boasts "global learning" as part of their philosophy. Hand outs about school events are not always distributed to every single student but if there is a request for a donation or something to sell, the school makes sure every student gets that. Students and parents feel like unwelcome guests. The staff has a very sycophantic relationship with the principal preferring to curry favor with him than do their job! For instance, the person who has a staffer/aide call her whenever a parent she does not like is in the office so she can tell the principal or the staff member whose job is to safely dismiss the main building students but she's too busy pointing out the parent who "told" on her buddy staff member. There's a lot of keeping an eye on what parent is talking to who instead of focusing on the CHILDREN. P.S. 83 is like a modern day Peyton Place. Therefore, the positive at 83 pales in comparison to the negative.
How can anyone take the principal seriously and look at him as a effective leader when his staff refers to him as "Moo" when their talking to him? Moo is focused on being invited to community events and not the students. Most of the staff are his friends and he does not make them be professional.
Not at all. The staff don't respect the principal let alone the students. The staff is also lacking in character. They openly discuss student grades in front of other students. My sons classmates knew his grade because the teacher was happy to share it with everyone.