My daughter has been at this school for two years. It has been a wonderful experience. There are two fantastic dance and music teachers who coordinate several school-wide performances throughout the year. Each class performs a song from Pre-K to Second grade. I'm always impressed with how comfortable the students are in front of such a large audience. You can tell that their teachers prepare them well. The school also has a Lego Lab and an Engineering teacher. My daughter was really excited to program a robot in Lego lab last month. Her kindergarten class also has a theatre teacher work with them each week. I was able to go in and participate in a theatre lesson. (They held a workshop for parents and children after school.) The teacher had all of us tell stories about trees and then we all acted them out. (The kids just finished up a unit on trees.) There were all age levels from babies to grandparents there and she kept everyone engaged and having fun. My daughter has had incredible teachers in Pre-K and K. The staff is warm and dedicated. They work hard to engage and challenge all students. The parent coordinator is very friendly and helpful. The administration works hard to keep you informed about what is going on in the school (There are monthly Principal Chats, Parent Workshops and Coffee Mornings) and there are lots of opportunities to volunteer at PTA events like Family Fun Nights. Very happy with this school!
Teachers work hard. They meet together often to go over student test results or work samples. They target kids who need extra intervention and work creatively to meet their needs. For example, my daughter is working above grade level in reading. Her teacher has worked hard to give her challenging material and keep her progressing. I've also talked with other parents who kids are struggling and are getting extra help targeted to their level. Teachers give lots of helpful feedback at parent-teacher conferences throughout the year.
Homework for Pre-K and Kindergarten is a nightly reading log. There are some special projects like a hundred's day poster board. Students who need extra help might be sent home supplemental material. Teachers send home newsletters with ideas for things you can work on at home.
The school has a Bee program. They have a chant that goes something like "Hear the Buzz. Be safe. Hear the buzz. Be helpful. Hear the Buzz. Be ready. Hear the buzz. Be Kind." They have a Bee Rally every month where teachers dress up like bees and pass out awards for being kind, helpful, ready, or safe. My daughter is really into it. They also do a playground unit in pre-K where they learn about rules and safety. Other grades use board games to teach fairness and how to get along with others.
A parent told me there's inconsistent communication regarding homework as well. Early childhood should not have much according to the school officials, but teachers often send a packet of 4 to 5 sheets of homework for one evening.
School is OK considering gentrification. Because public school is in jeopardy of being privatized, their focus is gifted and talented mainly. If your child is average, but gifted in other ways or talents, be prepared to have mediocre treatment, communication and education for your child here. They need funding, and that's probably where they get it to remain a relevant public school in gentrified Harlem NY.