It's an excellent school, period (seems like a couple of bitter posters below, as the whole favoritism thing seems way off base for example...I've seen hyperinvolved kids/families assigned to the "lesser-reputation" teachers or shut out of popular afterschool programs all the time). But let's be clear -- the school suffers from the same maladies that NYC publics have been suffering from. Bare-bones funding means large classes (but not nearly as large as other schools frankly...kudos to the administration for its continuous and under-appreciated push to keep sizes more reasonable), lack of administration/staffing, downgraded arts/music programs, a shell of a library. Why can't NYC schools be the cathedrals of excellence that parents, politicians, administrators and teachers all seem to be demanding?
I am a PS87 parent. I've been a big fan of the school until recently when I've become quite disillusioned over how the class assignments are made. Every year, the same favored families get the choice teachers. It's become tiresome seeing this happen year after year. This is supposed to be a public school, not a two tiered system where the favorite families end up getting the better school experience.
I was a cheerleader for PS 87 for 2 1/2 years, great teachers... but the comments below are true. I think the school is running on 'laurels of yesteryear'. This year feels a waste. Most of the parents in my class can't wait till it is over, the teachers seemed to care about the test , and checking their email. Bullying is not handled expeditiously (to say the least). A general lack of citizenship is being tolerated by a few over indulged students, and it is sadly impacting the many.
There is a huge disparity in the quality of teaching at PS 87, with some very strong teachers and some extremely weak. The quality of the education a child receives completely depends on the teacher they have. If a teacher is week, children and parent are completely at their teacher s mercy. So far, this year has been lost school time for my child. There is no standard which school administration implements on teachers performance, which is very disturbing.
My parents attended PS 87, I did and so did my now 22yr and my 17yr old boys. I would say the last time I was truely happy with PS 87 as a whole was when Jane Hand was principal. "One Family Under The Sun". That's what PS 87 used to feel like, a family. Kids of all cultures, incomes and family compositions felt like they were welcomed. When my boys were there things started to change. I started seeing "cliques" among the parents. Teachers started having preferences with the children. We began to see more and more indifference among the teachers, staff, parents. And of course the community kids who grow-up in the area lost out to those who came in from England, France, Ukranine and Japan. My ethnic family has been a part of this community since the 1950s when it was mostly a Jewish/Cuban lower middle class community. We live literally accross the street from the school and my 4yr was not accepted into pre-k because "there were too many siblings of children already attending who got first choice". So why even have applications for people with no children currently attending apply? The why applications were being accepted is because they were being screened.
This school, throughout the years, truly has earned the description "One Family Under The Sun." The teachers put a lot of time and effort in, and they get to know and to understand each student very well. Learning is fun, and children are very involved in seeking answers to their questions and in the creative process. My daughter loves coming to school each day. Now, with leaps in technology, telecommunications, and connections with outside organizations, P.S. 87's community ventures into the future with the concept of "Classrooms Without Walls." It's a place where learning is exciting, and the day goes quickly.
PS 87 is a top school with superlative teaching, a strong and involved parent body, and high academic/programmatic standards. The West 70s is a vibrant and safe community and the school reflects that. Not sure I agree with the posts below -- the parents and administrators have been great with each other, especially in this era of awful budget cuts, where the parents have been able to step in and help. The principal is now in her 3rd year, and she has overcome the worst of the overcrowding problems (though like other "good" public schools, ps87 is still woefully underfunded by the city and state) and has gained the respect of nearly all involved.
P.S. 87 is a wonderful school with a rich history (since 1895). The administration and staff are hard working and the great majority of the teachers are wonderful. Our child has just left 5th grade having done very well on test scores and easily getting into the middle schools we applied to. With sometimes limited resources the school manages music, drama and other "cluster" programs. The PA is highly motivated and provide amazing concerts, events and enrichment programs for the children as well as funding other school resources. Thee afterschool program is award winning. As with any public school, to some extent what you get out of it depends on what you put into it -- we had a truly amazing experience at PS 87.
NY state & NYC have become hostile to those using the public school system and it has broken down schools like PS87. Over the years I ve watched funding decrease & the school deteriorate. Thankfully, the fundraising team helps by raising considerable dollars & many parents do their best to support the school. Despite efforts, the building is overwhelmingly crowded and the PA is politically untenable. The administrators view the parents with hostility and visa versa. This environment, filled with anxiety and tension, is due to weak leadership from the top (PA included) A more inclusive, transparent and supportive line of communication is in order, especially for working parents like myself who cannot attend meetings I hear that some teachers are amazing and academically challenging while our experience has been so weak we believe some teachers should be let go or properly managed. We even refer to 2010/2011 as our child's "lost year". Lack of communication from the teachers is also an extreme & common concern. Our principal should step in, but unfortunately this is where PS87 falls flat on its a- -.. Our child manages because we supplement with programs like Kumon & Mannes.
This school was bad when i was there they caught kids smoking in the bathroom. Think do you want your child here
Strong parent involvement and exceptional fundraising enable the teachers to raise PS 87 up to a satisfactory level. The school is overcrowded with many out-of-catchment kids causing the school to drop the instrumental music program and science lab. Most parents supplement their children s education with additional outside after school programming. It is apparent that the new principal lacks the confidence and social ability to walk the halls, visit classrooms and interact with parents. It is such a pervasive problem that many parents complain she does not even respond to requested group or individual meetings. Instead, much is delegated to the unrefined and ineffective vice principals. Given NY s plethora of talented educators and administrators those women should all feel lucky to be employed. You can still make this public school work for you child if you supplement the curriculum with music, math and science.
I have to agree with a prior post regarding Monica Berry's lack of communication with parents. I had emailed and called her several times and never got a phone call in return. It is a sad statement and gives strong evidence that there is a lack of professionalism. The school is grounded in much of the work that parents do. It is a shame to shut them out. I had expected more from an educational leader.
New principal Monica Berry has a few cheerleaders--but to the rest of the population, she is essentially invisible. She does not respond to, or even acknowledge, parent emails, letters, or phone calls. Questions about her plans or decisions are deleted from the school's Yahoo group. She does not visit classrooms. She does not walk the halls. She does not attend class, grade, school, parent, or community events, no matter how important. This is new in my 5 years as part of the PS87 community. She is the first principal that has not only made no effort to be a part of the community, but seems to actively avoid it. It's a growing concern that parents have no way to address or discuss, due to the aforementioned lack of participation/accessibility on her part, and the censoring of the Yahoo group and PA meetings on the subject. (Meetings that she doesn't attend.)
PS 87 is an amazing community, with a wonderful principal in Monica Berry. Though it has been a bit of a struggle recently with overcrowding, the school has not failed to provide each student with the best education available in New York City. It is a model of what a great public school can accomplish.
Our new principal is doing a fabulous job of galvanizing the already high spirits and committment of the parent/student community at PS 87.
Our daughter is in 1st grade here. The teaching is stellar. She is growing and learning and thriving every day.
Great instruction, great teachers, high level of parent involvement, wonderful after school program
We are a true community with dedicated parents and teachers plus a dynamic administration. With tons of enrichment, a strong Parents' Association, and creative teachers PS 87 shines on the Upper West Side.
Best teachers, best parents, and best kids. A wonderful neighborhood school!!!!
We are a culturally and economically diverse general ed school of 1000 children, a too-big number this year, but our teachers are managing beautifully. With 3 grades (and growing) that have classes with a mix of general ed and special needs students, our children learn early on about patience, tolerance and the importance of helping each other. Parents are very active on the Parents Association (60+ Board members!) and the School Leadership team and they work in the classrooms and on the playground as needed. teachers are outstanding - they are creative, they present an enriched curriculum in a non-gifted setting, and they receive as much professional development as we can afford! Budget cuts have stretched us thin, but there is a great sense of community at PS87!
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