Many students go on to specialize middle and high school. There are even two former students who have graduated from Ivy League universities- Harvard and UPenn. Not too shabby for a school in Harlem in an underserved neighborhood.
I feel that the school strives and delivers quality education. My child takes violin classes twice a week. One class at Lucy Moses ( at the Kaufman Center) and the second class at the school itself. The classes in the lower academy are relatively small considering it is a public school- 19 students in the class. This is just one of many partnerships the school have created to ensure that the student body is receiving a first rate education. Girls that Code, the National Dance institute, Chess in the Schools are just an example of some of these partnerships. Many of the students go onto specialize middle and high schools. The principal and her staff are hands on and very accessible to their constituents (students and their families).
The elementary section is a nightmare. The Assistant Principal for fourth and fifth grade is a bully to both students and parents. The new principal, notwithstanding her numerous years as an assistant principal in the middle school is inept and seems to take instructions from the elementary school assistant principal. The teachers in the elementary school barely speak English. Many are young and have fewer than five years experience. This is reflected in their inability to manage the classroom. The school is also sadly lacking in diversity. The student and teacher population is about 85% Spanish speaking in the elementary grades. Many of these teachers do not know how to communicate with non-Spanish speaking children and seem to be uncomfortable having them in their classrooms. The result is that these teachers often unfairly criticize and unduly punish non-Spanish speaking children, who are then left to feel like outsiders.
Honestly this school is awful, after inviting 7th and 8th grade there. I am a former student there and in the middle school students are not able to learn because of the students who miss behave. The school has adequate music department. Teaches are devoted to teaching but because of the reason most students miss behaving teachers have given up teaching.
This school should be rated #1 school in manhattan because Ps161 on 133rd street all the staff and teachers help parents and children to get all the help that is offered including parents workshops to help parents get back out there in the job market me personally I have a medically challenged child going there and It is hard to walk away from my child on a daily basis to school knowing that my child is sick but not with Ps 161 I can leave my son there and know that he is in safe hands and getting the proper education that is recommended to a child I just want to say thank you.... and honestly I wish I had enough money to give the school they truly need it for so much on behalf of the kids...