We have a child currently attending one of the G&T classes at P.S. 130. We are extremely happy with the school for many different reasons, including the academic rigor as well as the values and comradery taught in the school. The academic rigor is second to none in the City and I have toured most of the most reputable Gen Eds, G&Ts, Charters and Private Schools in Manhattan. Math is taught following the Singapore method. The problems are incredibly challenging even for an adult. Exams throughout the year serve to measure the knowledge acquired. Teachers give targeted feedback.
Kids write well. Their vocabulary and spelling is remarkable. The children are challenged everyday with different topics and discussions. From fiction to non-fiction, children are capable of questioning and searching for the most appropriate answer to a particular problem.
There is an excellent collection of books in the class of levels and topics. Also, there is a bigger library at the school that the kids visit once a week.
Ethics are an important part of the children’s education. The “Golden Rule”, be kind, respectful… are present in every conversation. There is no bullying at the school. None. My kid's peers are extraordinary smart kids. All of the parents are truly engaged with their kids’ education and collaborate and support the school, working in tandem with the administration. All of the teachers are extremely responsive and hard working (responding emails at midnight on a Friday night, for example). They are eager to meet with parents and they hold an open door policy. Feedback is targeted and very complete. It includes recommendations and suggestions specific to the child. Teachers are also demanding and serious.
The school has a tremendous PTA that works really hard to raise funds. Funds are used wisely to include arts programs and enrichment. Music, gym and arts are taught every week. The PTA has created an amazing sense of community where all races and backgrounds are welcome. The new principal, Mr. Fong, has become a great leader for the school community: well respected and hard working, he continues with the work initiated by the prior principal, who is still remembered and well loved. It is not uncommon to see Mr. Fong greeting the kids at the door, shaking hands, and wearing a shirt with the logo of P.S. 130. Highly recommended school.
I was wary about enrolling my kid for kindergarten G&T here after reading the review from 2015, but I did anyway. After 8 months, I have to say that I'm pleased: the PA at this school is truly amazing! The school is not rich and the PA works really hard to raise funds to support arts programming. There is no pressure to contribute; friends in other G&T programs in Manhattan were required to contribute $1200-$1800, and also pay more via fundraising events. At PS130, they only asked for $50 per student, and it wasn't even required! Participation in PA events is voluntary, but if you want good programs for your kids, you get involved -- that's a no-brainer! I was a bit disappointed that most of the arts programs start at 3rd grade and above, though.
Academically, my child is enjoying school, learning a lot, and has nice classmates. The G&T curriculum is writing intensive, which was challenging for my child at first, but he's caught up. The math seems too easy, but it'll ramp up by 2nd grade. My child's teacher has been excellent: she is kind but firm, runs a tight ship and the kids thrive under her focused but caring guidance and routine. The songs my kid comes home singing and the art my kid brings home help me see that the curriculum is well-rounded. Homework has been a great window into my child's strengths and weaknesses. How else do we know what they're learning and what they need help with?
The focus of many parents here is academics, so after school programs are sorely biased; EVERY PROGRAM is about doing homework and giving more work to the kids. I'd much prefer sports, dance, music or art, since they already have coursework all day long! The limited facilities at this school is probably a major factor in the little variety of after school programs.
So while the school is academically solid, there are limited facilities/space (i.e. 1 gym, 1 small play room, rooftop playground) such that kids do not get much movement opportunity on a daily basis. It is essential for younger grades to get kinesthetic enrichment as part of their development; the school really needs to prioritize gym access for K and 1st graders, especially in inclement weather. These kids simply do not get to move enough, so the onus is on parents to get their children into classes after school where they CAN move, which is a tough order if you work full time.
Overall, very pleased.
PA has been exceptional. They're given quite a bit of flack in an earlier review, but I have never seen a more dedicated and hard-working crew of people. They try to stretch every dollar and make every cent count for the kids at this school.
Teachers need to get more involved with PA, and need more support from administration. They have a hard job to do with limited time and resources. The teachers I have observed try very hard to make the most of what they're given, and they're quite resourceful.
Homework allows parents to see what their kids are learning, as well as see if their kids can keep up and where they are excelling and where they need assistance. WIthout it, parents would not necessarily have a good gauge. Just enough homework allows the parents transparency, but doesn't weigh down the child with hours of busywork.
PS130 is an excellent school. My child transferred to PS130 from a very well regarded public school and we have been very impressed by how advanced the work my child is doing. The staff/teachers care tremendously about the students and really try to do what is best for them. Great sense of community as well. As for the PA, their aggressiveness in fundraising is actually a positive for the school. Given reduced DOE funding, donation is an important to maintain the school's programs for the kids (e.g. Arts, Dance etc.) for our kids to have a balanced education. Also, I don't think they are particularly aggressive relative to the PAs other top ranked public schools in NYC. They just have to work harder to get donations given the relative demographics at PS 130. PAs at a lot of schools suggest donation for each child of >$1,000. PS130 doesn't do that. They are very clear that all donations are great, no matter how big or how small. Ultimately, they are raising money for the benefit of our children. I would much rather have a PA that cares and is aggressive in raising money for the school, than the school not having the money to run programs for our kids.