P.S. 125 Ralph Bunche
MANHATTAN NY 10027 Map
P.S. 125 Ralph Bunche
Extended PK hours offered: Contact program about extended hours.
A tiny school with a sweet atmosphere, PS 125 shows how a multiracial group of parents can work together to improve their neighborhood school—even in a district with few good options.
"I remember parents would get together in the park and talk about 'Where do we go?'" said Tomoi Zeimer, whose child now attends PS 125. "Either it's a super-expensive private school or a really low-rated public school. We thought, 'Is there a way that we can go into a school and make it better?'"
PS 125 has long had a popular Pre-k, but many parents left for kindergarten. That's partly because the upper grades had a traditional approach to education, not the play-based or child-centered approach that many parents said they wanted. "There were so many parents looking for a progressive choice, but one didn't exist in the district," said Daiyu Suzuki, father of two PS 125 pupils.
Parents lobbied the principal and superintendent to adopt a less scripted approach to teaching. The principal, Reginald Higgins, agreed, and enlisted Julie Zuckerman, the principal of Castle Bridge School in Washington Heights, to serve as a mentor. Higgins worked with Borough of Manhattan Community College to help revise the curriculum and coach teachers.
Higgins plans to introduce the progressive techniques one grade at a time, beginning with the youngest children. His plan seems to be working: On our visit, the lower grades had excellent teachers, engaged kids, and beautifully equipped classrooms, and the upper grade teachers seemed excited by the prospect of change. Enrollment is increasing after a long decline.
Attendance is well below average and test scores have room for improvement. But our visits convinced us the school is moving in the right direction. "We haven't seen a final product yet," said Suzuki. "We're a community in the making."
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has both self-contained and ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes.
ADMISSIONS: Neighborhood school. (Mahalia Watson and Clara Hemphill, April 2015; updated August 2016)
At a glance
Number of Students 230
Average Daily Attendance 90%
Safety & vibe
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?93% 81% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten classNA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade classNA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?100% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?43% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam
Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam
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?
This school offers self-contained classes.
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:52% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:48% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school does not offer team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 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?
How many teachers say students with special needs are educated in the least restrictive environment appropriate?
How many parents of students with ieps say this school offers a wide enough variety of services and activities for their children’s needs?