As a NYC Empowerment School, we aim to create a school community that meets the needs of all of our learners. For this reason, the Great Expectations School is organized into four small learning communities based on Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences. Students in grades K- 5 are assigned to each of the four Academies: Math and Science, Arts, World Studies, and Writing and Technology.
We strive to provide high-quality learning experiences for all students. Teachers use the balanced literacy approach to provide well-rounded instruction in reading and writing. The balanced literacy instruction is supported by the use of the 100 Book Challenge in grades 2 through 5. Students are challenged to read 30 minutes in school and 30 minutes at home every day. Teachers use the Everyday Math program to support students' mathematical development. Cognition skills are nurtured through the use of Thinking Maps across the grades. A Professional Development team, consisting of assessment coordinators, math coaches and literacy coaches, support classroom instruction by providing curriculum resources and modeling effective instruction techniques.
Students in all academies have access to technology with four dedicated technology teachers and interactive whiteboards in all classrooms. All students also participate in arts learning with visual arts, music, and dance teachers. Classroom teachers also strive to integrate arts and technology in their daily instruction. Students participate in regular physical education classes and lunchtime recess.
In addition to meeting our students’ learning needs, we believe children’s social and emotional needs must be met as well. All of our teachers have been trained in Vanderbilt University's Classroom Organization Management Program and are supported with a guidance staff of a school based social worker and a guidance counselor.
We benefit from a number of community partnerships and professional learning organizations. Our partners include TurnAround for Children, NYC Mission Society, Dreamyards, Midori and Friends, Bronx Arts Learning Community, Digital Age Learning, Learner-Centered Initiatives, Communities for Learning, Montefiore School Based Health Clinic, and Bank Street College of Education.
Public School 85 has been recognized for Excellence in Education with the 2009 Blackboard Award and the Excellence in School Wellness Award for 2010.