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GreatSchools Rating

P.S. 321 William Penn

Public | PK-5 | 1384 students

 
 

Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 1 rating
2013:
Based on 3 ratings
2012:
Based on 3 ratings
2011:
Based on 3 ratings

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28 reviews of this school


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Posted January 20, 2014

It is my opinion that 321 is overrated. The school is too crowded and the staff can be dismissive to some parents. They could also do a better job with students who learn differently. The parent voice can be very vocal, but once again it is those who are vocal who hold power and they are not interested in other voices.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 23, 2013

Yes, it's huge. But the reason why is that the teachers are amazing. My son started in Pre-K and is now in 4th grade, and every teacher has been distinctly different and absolutely wonderful. We could have chosen a citywide gifted school starting in kindergarten and chose to send our son here instead. No regrets. He's happy, creative, thriving, and made the highest scores possible on the third-grade NY test. Thank you, Liz Phillips, Ms. Merris, Mr. Bill, Beth, Mr. Chris and Ms. Rosenblum!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 23, 2013

My son's school is focused on learning. They understand children learn in many different ways. I, however, chose not to send my oldest child here as I do not believe they do a very good job with children on the spectrum. This might change as there is a new vice principal. It's tool ate for my oldest now. While this school is good for saavy children who can negotiate a school of 1400 children, It is not good for children who need smaller classes and a calm environment.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 17, 2013

Having recently moved to the area from out of state, a good school was a top priority and a good public school was even better as so many of us have doubts about our education system but know that we were raised with a good public education. Well, my son has been at PS 321 for several months now and I only have top praise for his teacher (even his substitutes), the principal, and the high participation of the parents. The school offers much more than my son's previous good public school and I believe it is because of the caring leadership of the principal and the involvement of the parents. Any issues that get just a few parents' attention (like mandatory testing) are soon to become well discussed issues for everyone to have their say. The parents can have a significant impact on what goes on at the school. I know that my son is safe, getting a good education, able to expand his mind in areas he did not have access to before, and he is part of a great student body. I now understand why people move to Park Slope for the schools and PS 321 is a shining example.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 18, 2012

This is an extraordinary school with excellent leadership, incredible teachers and great PTA. My first daughter graduated from this school and got into one of the most prestigious gifted and talented middle school in Manhattan. The teachers she had were experienced, competent and nurturing. Her 5th grade teacher made the transition from elementary school to middle school so smooth and seamless. She even emailed her previous 5th grade students on the first day of middle school to with them the best. This is the school that my first daughter wants to go back and say hello to her teachers and staff. Also, my second daughter is currently 2nd grade and she's been here since pre-K. She also has nothing but wonderful experience with teachers, staff and friends. They also offer excellent after school programs and promotes art and music.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 24, 2012

I also have to say that the admin. staff along with some of the other faculty are just downright awful. My registration process was the worst here than the other 3 schools in different states. They belittle, act like they couldn't care less about your child, show that they REALLY couldn't care less about you or your concerns. I cannot believe that they allow people, who are the first a parent will ever come in contact with, to be as rude as they are. I am supposed to put my children in the hands of these people? I love my kids' teachers, fortunately. The problem is you just never know what kind of people you'll be dealing with here. It prevents me from being as involved as I normally would be. My kids go here this year, but I don't think that it was worth it. My kids could go to another great school with much better staff, esp. admin. I really tried to make excuses with the whole, "they're the gatekeepers" thing about admin, etc, but at the end of the day, they are a part -big or small- of my child's education and are supposed to be the ones I go to concerning my children. They fail every time. I hope the principal or someone at the head fixes this major problem. ESPECIALLY ADMIN
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 17, 2012

I cannot believe how rude the admin staff are here. I have had several dealings with the general admin staff during the kindergarten application process and every time I get off the phone I feel completely dejected. I have been spoken down to, told I am not telling the truth and reprimanded. 321 I just crossed you off my list, I can't deal with 5 years of that treatment.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 14, 2011

This is a great school. The teachers are intelligent, caring and energetic. The principal is good leader and forward thinking. The parents community is very involved and supportive. My only complaint is overcrowding but the quality of teaching more than makes up for this.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 25, 2011

This school does great . . . with kids who fit its predetermined methods. However, if you don't fit, it's your issue. The administration strongly supports teachers--great, till you get a problematic teacher. Our daughter's K teacher cared about lesson plans more than about the kids. My daughter and many other kids were miserable. The teacher did not want to hear it--her brittle defensiveness drowned out chance for actual discussion. The vice-principal we met with was memorably unhelpful and unreceptive to our concerns, and treated us with blatant suspicion, though multiple families communicated same issues. To the school's credit, they went to observe the classroom--but they kept telling us things were fine, our kid was fine...when she was dreading school each day, suffering, and saying so. The school did a LOT of explaining why things were done in certain ways, and made NO changes to help kids who withered under this teacher. I support teachers, too--but not those who make kids miserable. Our kid's G1 teacher was warm and attentive--we loved her, but she didn't differentiate much, said she couldn't, so our kid didn't get the learning she needed. Ultimately we chose to leave 321.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 4, 2011

We have a fifth grader who is sad to be graduating out of this great school. Our second grader says she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. They have both had fantastic, dedicated teachers supported by an excellent principal and staff. The level of parent involvement is amazing. The school sets its own curriculum due to very high test scores, and the principal makes it clear that the the idea is effective learning, not teaching to the test. If you are fortunate enough to live in the zone there is a good chance you will be happy with 321.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 13, 2010

The principal, teachers and administration are amazing.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 13, 2010

It is filled with hope, light, and encouragement for every child no matter what level of learning they are on. The school inspires kids to be the best that they can be.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 29, 2010

The teachers and parents are simply amazing! They are engaged and make the school feel like it is a cozy community.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 7, 2010

This school is great to prepare your child for prison. It has bars on all the winows, a fenced yard (no grass or greenery), and uniformed guards. mixed experience with teachers and staff...some good/some bad but neither to the extremes of truely great or truely horrible
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 17, 2010

Fantastic teachers, dedicated principal, awesome enrichment programs, involved parents, thought-provoking curriculum!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 14, 2010

I love our school because the teachers and administration are terrific at reinforcing the students natural inclination to learn in everything they do! They do not just teach to pass standardized tests - although this seems to be a natural by product.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 16, 2009

My twin girls have gone to 321 since kindergarten, and are currently in 3rd grade. They have had so much fun learning there. Their teachers have been great! Nice community of parents, too.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 23, 2009

We have had a very mixed experience at this school. Both with great teachers and outright difficult ones. Due to the hands off approach of allowing the teachers to run their class, little is done if you get a bad-apple for the year. This is unfortunate. There are a lot of children....the numbers alone make it difficult to get attention. Overcrowding is an issue. Kindness, respect and manners are often ignored to maintain order of the sheer numbers of children. Kids can feel this and become lost in the shuffle. Parental involvement is high.... this has a definite positive advantage for the school but then has a huge down-side when it crosses lines into socialization. Politically correct play-dates and over-parenting are by-products of some with to much time on their hands. Overall the school does very well with reading and writing. The teachers that are great do an exceptional job and should be commended.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 9, 2009

I loved 321. I went there from K-5 and it was great. The teachers are all really great, and the curriculum is good in 321 I was able to be creative and learn a lot at the same time. I enjoyed going to school everyday and am still friends with some of the people I met there. Being able to go out to lunch was also great in 4th and 5th grade as opposed to being stuck in an overcrowded cafeteria for a period.
—Submitted by a student


Posted August 24, 2006

I was pleasantly surprised that the hype about P.S. 321 seems to be true. My son just finished kindergarten and it's been phenomenal. He had attended a highly regarded private school for nursery and pre-k and I found the education at 321 to be as good or better. The atmosphere is community-oriented and creative. What makes this school great is not only the principal's leadership, wonderful, dedicated teachers who continually educate themselves and the parent body, but the inter-dependent and respectful relationship between all three. Principal Liz Phillips welcomes input and involvement. There are issues with crowding, but at least at the kindergarten level, they are somewhat isolated, having lunch in their classroom rather than the cafeteria, and having their own playground. They seem to manage the crowd very well. I can't say enough good things about it. So far, we love it!
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

The test results by subgroup show how the designated group of students is performing in comparison to the general population.
English Language Arts

The state average for English Language Arts was 31% in 2013.

215 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
70%

2012

 
 
92%

2011

 
 
90%
Math

The state average for Math was 34% in 2013.

215 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
76%

2012

 
 
90%

2011

 
 
95%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, the New York State Department of Instruction implemented new assessments designed to be aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The new standards for proficiency in these subjects are higher than in previous years and the percent of students earning a proficient score is expected to be lower as a result of this change. See this letter from New York's Commissioner of Education for more information on these changes.

In 2012-2013 New York used the New York State Assessments to test students in grades 3 through 8 in English language arts and math. The tests are standards-based, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of New York. The goal is for 90% of students to meet or exceed grade-level standards on the tests.

Source: New York State Education Department

English Language Arts

The state average for English Language Arts was 30% in 2013.

230 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
74%

2012

 
 
92%

2011

 
 
90%
Math

The state average for Math was 36% in 2013.

231 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
81%

2012

 
 
97%

2011

 
 
94%
Science

The state average for Science was 88% in 2011.

188 students were tested at this school in 2011.

2011

 
 
99%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, the New York State Department of Instruction implemented new assessments designed to be aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The new standards for proficiency in these subjects are higher than in previous years and the percent of students earning a proficient score is expected to be lower as a result of this change. See this letter from New York's Commissioner of Education for more information on these changes.

In 2012-2013 New York used the New York State Assessments to test students in grades 3 through 8 in English language arts and math. The tests are standards-based, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of New York. The goal is for 90% of students to meet or exceed grade-level standards on the tests.

Source: New York State Education Department

English Language Arts

The state average for English Language Arts was 30% in 2013.

186 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
78%

2012

 
 
86%

2011

 
 
84%
Math

The state average for Math was 30% in 2013.

186 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
81%

2012

 
 
92%

2011

 
 
90%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, the New York State Department of Instruction implemented new assessments designed to be aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The new standards for proficiency in these subjects are higher than in previous years and the percent of students earning a proficient score is expected to be lower as a result of this change. See this letter from New York's Commissioner of Education for more information on these changes.

In 2012-2013 New York used the New York State Assessments to test students in grades 3 through 8 in English language arts and math. The tests are standards-based, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of New York. The goal is for 90% of students to meet or exceed grade-level standards on the tests.

Source: New York State Education Department

In 2009-2010, this school was given a grade of "A" for the elementary school level.

About the tests


Progress Report Grades measure the school's contribution to student learning in three areas: School Environment, Student Performance and Student Progress. Schools can receive additional credit for achieving exemplary performance progress among high-needs students. Progress Report Grades range from A to F.

Source: New York City Department of Education

Breaking down the GreatSchools Rating

GreatSchools Ratings for this school are based on 2011-2012 test results. Use the breakdown ratings below to compare types of students at this school. Learn more »


Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 70% 48%
Hispanic 11% 23%
Asian 10% 9%
Black 9% 19%
American Indian/Alaska Native 1% 1%
Two or more races 0% 1%
Source: NYSED, 2011-2012

Student subgroups

  This school District averageState average
Limited English proficient 2%N/A8%
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 11%N/A43%
Source: NYSED, 2011-2012

Teacher experience

  This school District averageState average
Fewer than 3 years experience 1%N/A5%
Source: NYSED, 2011-2012

Teacher education levels

  This school District averageState average
Master's degree and above 49%N/A39%
Source: NYSED, 2011-2012

Teacher credentials

  This school District averageState average
Teachers with no valid teaching certificate 0%N/A0%
Source: NYSED, 2011-2012
The NYC Department of Education asked parents, teachers and students about their school's learning environment. Results provide insight into school climate, such as whether the school is academically rigorous, safe, communicative and collaborative. Learn more

The information captured by the survey is designed to support a dialogue among all members of the school community about how to make the school a better place to learn. An overall category score is calculated for each respondent group (parents, teachers, or students) by averaging the scores of the questions within that survey category.

Category scores for each of the respondent groups are then combined to form overall category scores. Alongside the results for each school are the aggregated results across all NYC public schools, which are provided as a basis for comparisons.

Learn more about the NYC DOE survey »Close
Based on 585 responses

This school provides ... 1

A safe and respectful environmentWhat's this?

This score measures whether parents, students and teachers feel that the school creates a physically and emotionally secure environment in which everyone can focus on student learning.

Close
 
This school
8.9
out of 10
 
City average
8.0
out of 10
 

Parents

This school

 
9.0
 

City average

 
8.4
 

Teachers

This school

 
8.9
 

City average

 
8.0
 
Clear, useful communication about educational goalsWhat's this?

This score measures whether parents, students and teachers feel that the school provides information about the school's educational goals and offers appropriate feedback on each student's learning outcome.

Close
 
This school
9.1
out of 10
 
City average
8.1
out of 10
 

Parents

This school

 
9.2
 

City average

 
8.5
 

Teachers

This school

 
8.9
 

City average

 
7.8
 
Strong parent, teacher and student engagementWhat's this?

This score measures how engaged parents, students and teachers feel they are in an active and vibrant partnership to promote student learning.

Close
 
This school
9.0
out of 10
 
City average
7.8
out of 10
 

Parents

This school

 
9.1
 

City average

 
8.1
 

Teachers

This school

 
8.9
 

City average

 
7.8
 
High academic expectations for all studentsWhat's this?

This score measures how well parents, students and teachers feel that the school develops rigorous and meaningful academic goals that encourage students to do their best.

Close
 
This school
9.0
out of 10
 
City average
8.2
out of 10
 

Parents

This school

 
8.9
 

City average

 
8.3
 

Teachers

This school

 
9.1
 

City average

 
8.1
 

Based on surveys from:

 RespondentsResponse rate
Parents51843%
Teachers6777%

12012-2013 New York City Department of Education School Survey

This school has not yet provided program information.


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180 7th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Phone: (718) 499-2412

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