My daughter is in kindergarten this year. My son will be in pre-K soon. I have been continually impressed by the the caring environment, academic rigor and incredible community at P.S. 9. This is truly an exceptional school. I spent many hours touring schools all over the city (including well-regarded public schools like P.S. 321 and the Kaufman Center Special Music School, as well as various private schools like St. Ann's) and talking to teachers and parents during the school selection process and am very happy that my daughter was admitted here. The teachers we have encountered so far are uniformly excellent and engaged; the administration and staff are helpful and responsive; and the PTA is very active, raising money to support all kinds of arts and academic programs. In short, this is a great school.
The school has hired a playground coach to help students play respectfully and to defuse situations before they escalate. The school also has a Junior Coaches program that recruits upper-grade students to perform some of the same functions. It is working very well by all accounts.
The teachers I have encountered are highly effective. Instruction is differentiated by skill level; students are challenged, but not overwhelmed; there is not an over-emphasis on trendy curricular buzz-words that one finds at other schools.
At least in Kindergarten, homework is de-emphasized. It is, however, available in case parents make the individual decision to take on the extra work. For my family's part: we do about 3/4 of the homework, but sometimes find that our time is better spent with some unstructured play or other non-academic activities.
This is my fourth year as a PS 9 parent. Both of my children are attending this school, and our family has been extremely happy with the quality of the teaching, the attention teachers pay to students' social-emotional well-being, and the warm and friendly school community. PS 9 is part of the Whole Child Network, which helps train teachers (and families!) to nurture social-emotional development in addition to a child's academic development. My son has been a huge fan of Playworks, a special program that offers early-morning exercise on the school playground or in the gym and also works with students during recess and throughout the day to foster good sportsmanship and conflict resolution skills. My daughter has had a great experience in her dance and art classes. Yes! PS 9 now has a full-time dance teacher and a full-time art teacher, and the school maintains its external partnerships with the Guggenheim and a couple of different music programs. (I don't remember the name of this program, but my daughter is still singing a robot and a shark song that she learned last year.) The dance teacher is a powerhouse of creativity and energy and since she started at PS 9 has staged two large-scale, extremely well done dance concerts per year, involving huge numbers of her students. Starting with first grade, crowded classes are a problem, and I admire PS 9's teachers for their efforts at managing classes of 30+ kids. I'm not sure, however, that other good NYC public schools are any less crowded. Some classes have paraprofessionals in the classroom who assist the main teacher. As children enter the upper grades, testing can be stressful, but we noticed how our son's 3rd grade teacher did not in fact let test prep take over and did a fantastic job easing her students into the ELA and math testing season. Finding a good middle school will be difficult given the lack of options in D13, but several engaged PS 9 parents have worked together to petition the DOE to make the new school being built in the Pacific Park development a designated middle school, and we are looking forward to having this new school as a possible option for the younger PS 9 kids.
My child's Kindergarten teacher is doing a pretty good job on very slim resources. But with 22 kids in the class (private and suburban districts have 12-14 in K), there's just no personalized attention. At some point, the teacher started emailing the homework worksheets to the parents (not enough money to print them each week), we've been asked to buy books, snacks and extra supplies. Why am I paying taxes in NYC for an overcrowded school that supplies nothing?
The demographic of the school is changing as the neighborhood gentrifies. The principal is notoriously resistant to change, which is one of the biggest things preventing this school from really thriving. I've heard parents of 2nd-4th graders really complain about the way she's leading (or misleading) the school.
Already decided to pull my kid out for 1st grade. Not going to allow him a substandard education at PS9.
Our child was not prepared for the rigors of middle school, nor did our child's test results reflect their learning in class. In fact, during one of the Common Core standardized tests, the fourth grade teacher walked around the testing room and suggested that students reconsider their answers!
PS 9 has potential that hasn't been reached yet. Most of the teachers are hardworking and some have to deal with challenging conditions like large class size (30+) and not many resources. Each of my child's teachers has had to use Donors Choose to get basic supplies like books for the classroom. There is diversity in the school but the classes on each grade end up being quite segregated. The dual language classes are predominately white while the general ed and special ed classes are predominately students of color. The gifted classes are the most diverse. The administration has been a disappointment. They are disorganized and give lip service to some legitimate parent concerns. I think this school works well for some families but it hasn't been so great for us. The arts programs are mostly in the classroom led by outside arts organizations. There is no art or music teacher.