River East Elementary

An Insideschools pick
508 EAST 120 STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10035 Map
Phone: (212) 348-2208
Website: Click here
Admissions: District 4 priority, open citywide
Principal: Michael Panetta
Neighborhood: East Harlem
District: 4
Grade range: PK-5
Parent Coordinator: VYLMARY BENNETT
Number of full-day PK seats: 18
Extended PK hours offered: Contact program about extended hours.
Unzoned
Citywide
Full Day
School-based pre-k

What's special:

Small cheery school with engaging curriculum including computer programming

The downside:

Far from the nearest subway

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

River East is a tiny school with a progressive bent and a warm sense of community. Teachers encourage children to explore their interests and be independent; parents are invited to weekly school-wide assemblies and get regular updates on their children’s progress. The school offers a nice range of activities such as ceramics, swimming, dance, violin and computer coding.

Founded in 1982 as a progressive school modelled after Central Park East I, River East remains true to its roots, but has long since settled into its own identity. Test prep is minimal and teachers weave lots of hands-on activities into lessons, but students are taught and expected to master foundation skills too. For instance teachers send home weekly, personalized updates for each child in their class, identifying a specific skill the child needs to work on as well as suggestions for how the family can help at home.

“We’re small and that’s part of our mission,” said former Principal Rob Catlin, who left in 2016 to work on teacher effectiveness at the Department of Education. Mike Panetta took the helm after five years as Catlin's assistant principal. "He's fantastic," Catlin said.

Class size is low in all grades and many classes have two teachers. Attendance and chronic absenteeism hover around the citywide average and are a challenge to improve because many students travel from outside of District 4, from the Bronx and West Harlem.. To ensure struggling students don’t fall through the cracks, each staff member mentors a child who needs some extra attention—whether it’s because of an academic or behavior problem or personal strife at home.

The school uses the Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Curriculum, which encourages students to read a large amount of books of their choosing and at their skill level as well as write and revise multiple drafts of work on a variety of topics. Teachers also draw from other curricula to weave in explicit instruction in phonics, spelling and vocabulary.

For math, teachers collaborate to write their own curriculum, drawing from a range of programs including Investigations, Envision and EngageNY. A school-wide computer coding curriculum and 5th-grade robotics reinforce the critical soft skills children need to be good in math such as following multistep instructions, tolerating frustration and grappling with the process of trial and error.

Beyond core academics, the school offers enrichment activities through partnerships with local organizations. The 92nd Street Y supports vocal music instruction, 5th-grade Lego Robotics and ceramics made in the school’s own kiln. Students learn to play the violin through Harlem School of Music’s Opus 118 program. Students learn to swim at Asphalt Green.

River East is located in the northern section of East Harlem, a block from the East River and shares a building with PS 206. Despite a long walk to the closest subway, the school draws students from all over District 4 and some travel from other parts of Manhattan, as well as the Bronx and Queens.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT classes and SETSS.

ADMISSIONS: River East is a non-zoned school. Top priority goes to District 4 residents who have a sibling currently enrolled in grades k–5, however the school typically has room for students from outside of District 4 who do not have a sibling at the school. (Laura Zingmond, November 2015; new principal update, 2016)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the building with PS 206

Number of Students 203

Average Daily Attendance 92%

Students at this school

Asian

  
0%

Black

  
45%

Hispanic

  
51%

White

  
2%

Free Lunch

  
83%

Special ed

  
24%

English Language Learners

  
4%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?

75% 81% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

65% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

29% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

How many teachers say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep students engaged?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school does a good job teaching social-emotional skills?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school does a good job teaching organizational and study skills?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam

22% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam

39% 40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the school survey?

87% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say they attended at least one pta meeting in the last school year?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Does the school encourage family involvement?

How many parents say they were invited to an event at the school at least 3 times in the last school year?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

NA 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

5% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

0% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

NA 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say students with disabilities are included in all activities?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say students with special needs are educated in the least restrictive environment appropriate?

100% 93% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents of students with ieps say this school offers a wide enough variety of services and activities for their children’s needs?

79% 86% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

0% 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school ensures that ells receive the same curriculum as non-ells with appropriate suppports?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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