Engaging Administration and teachers that continually challenged my son while still keeping him interested. He looked forward to going to school every morning and loved talking about his day when he got home. Very modern amenities with high level of parent involvement.
Once second grade hit, it was obvious that the education of my child was going downhill at PS 59 Beekman School Int’l. There is more emphasis on activities not relating to learning the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. One example of this was the highly anticipated "Bloomingdales Mentorship Program" by many of the school faculty and PTA. It is ongoing and takes much time away from classroom academics on specific days. When I asked my child what he had learned from it, he said "We ate ice cream and hung out in Bloomingdales for 2 hours". The PTA is always asking for money, but I’m unsure where it goes to benefit the education of the children who attend the school. Some great teachers that really want to do their best but their hands are tied by a controlling principle and board of education, both focused more on bureaucracy than students. There are very large class sizes, where overachievers get lost. The school website still says "Coming Soon" when you click on "curriculum/overview" and "last updated 3/23/2010". That summarizes how the school is run. No set curriculum/outline for the teachers to follow and for the kids to learn from. Supplementing from outside resources i.e. tutors is the only way to keep your child at grade level.
One child currently in 5th grade. PS 59 is above average for a NYC public school, but still a NYC public school. Large class sizes (25+ kids). Limited access to speciality classes (music once a week, science once a week, etc.). Bureaucracy -- they push the kids to do X number of push-ups. Why? Because the city says so. They pressure the kids with 8 weeks of Common Core test prep. Why? Because the state says so. Teachers do try, but many seem inexperienced and probably underpaid. In sum, if your child is an either an over-achiever who would benefit from expanded opportunities, especially in arts or science, you might want to look elsewhere. Similarly, if your child is challenged and needs extra teacher attention, you might want to look elsewhere.
I have two kids at PS 59 and we love it. Yes, the PTA asks for a lot of money, that's part of what makes the school great -- parents in K and 1st self-fund a TA + the PTA pays for some amazing programs/school has enough in its budget to offer classes beyond the 3 Rs: weekly art, music, gym, science, library (all in dedicated classrooms) + special music programs, chess and technology (not all programs offerered for the full year). Three complaints: (1) we've had years with okay class size (21 kids!), but this year is a bad one with 26 kids in K (2 teachers) and 27 in second grade, the rumor is that the school still had a wait list (true?), so why not clear the WL and add another K class to reduce class size? I don't see how a second grade teacher can effectively teach 27 kids and this is really what may drive us to the burbs this year. (2) the school has a lot of international kids/ex-pats which is a wonderful learning opportunity, but it also means that there are always kids coming and going. Add to that kids moving to scarsdale, etc. and its tough if you have a sensitive kid who doesn't easily make new friends. (3) If you're buildling a new school, why not put in 2 gyms?
I recently visited the school and have to say this school's principal and staff are amazing. Our child currently attends one of the 'best' private schools in this great city, but I have to say that pride, resources and community behind this school were impressive. The auditorium and technology in the school are so well equipped, it exceeded all the private schools we visisted The only question is student ratio, however, glad the parent body supports teaching aides in each classroom.
A kindergarten child was just lost and left unattended in the school and walked out to his home block away lucky his parents where home . (Just like avonte) Please talk to your children and the board of education has a lot of explaining to do.
This is the IKEA of public schools. It is clean and shiny and has many, many options to choose from. On the other hand, it is huge, can be impersonal, is always asking for money and you'll have navigate much of your experience on your own. This elementary school feels like a college. On the plus side, the academics are solid. My son is pretty smart, and he's constantly challenged by both the volume and level of class work and homework. There are many "electives," from after-school clubs and chess to track and chorus. The kids also get science, technology and drama. On the minus side, it is huge - 600 kids over seven floors and two lower levels. I could see how a young child might be intimidated. Also, the size makes it seem under-staffed, and you really have to push to get personal attention. For example, there is only ONE parent coordinator for 600 families, so you'd better make friends with her if you want to know the inside scoop on things. Also, be prepared to pay up: the PTA is always asking for money or holding fundraisers. It would be good to have more info on where that money goes.
My daughter began Kindergarten at PS59 this year and I can verify that the hype is justified! This school is incredible. Highly involved parents, very generously funded PTA, dedicated staff, a welcoming family feel, and incredible extracurricular as well as regular day specialty offerings. The children I encounter in the halls, of all grade levels, all seem to be very happy with smiling faces and terrific manners! It is very endearing to consistently see the older kids stopping to hold doors open for me (I'm pregnant) and my Kindergartener. It is no surprise why this is the most sought after school zone to get into! Oh, and the brand new building on 56th is wonderful.
We have two sons in 59 and we can testify it has been just fantastic for us. We have been here for a year now and were very lucky as we arrived in time to benefit from the schools move into its brand new building. Our eldest joined in 1st grade and was a year behind after moving from out of state, the reading recovery program, along with the early bird support program means he is catching up to his peers much quicker than I thought possible. Our youngest is in Kindergarten and loves it. They both don't want to leave every evening! The PTA is amazing, very energized and manage to fund classroom assistants for most if not every k and yr1 classroom. I am not aware of a single negative issue at this school, and I am including feedback from all other parents I have spoken to as well - Cannot recommend enough!!!!!
My son is in 1st grade and we have had a wonderful experience since his kindergarten year. His teachers have been excellent and are extremely responsive and accessible. The emphasis on reading and writing little stories starting in kindergarten is impressive. The parent body is very nice and down to earth and the PTA is very active and involved. I wish the science program was more robust and I'm hopeful that it will happen once we move into our new facility in Sept 2012. There are so many benefits of a neighborhood school that cannot be replicated in a g&t or independent school setting. Its so nice to walk around our community and recognize the other children and families from our school. It creates a sense of community in a very big city that is really heartwarming.