P.S./I.S. 187 Hudson Cliffs
MANHATTAN NY 10040 Map
P.S./I.S. 187 Hudson Cliffs
PS/MS 187, Hudson Cliffs, a k–8 school, is a popular choice among families in upper Washington Heights. The school hits a lot of high notes—solid academics, strong parent involvement and a cheery, calm environment—the likely reason that most students stay through the 8th grade. It’s located in a quiet, family-oriented neighborhood with many playgrounds and is a short walk from beautiful Fort Tryon Park, the home of the Cloisters.
Cynthia Chory has been the school’s principal since September 2006. A former teacher and assistant principal at the school, Chory grew up in the neighborhood, where she too attended 187 through the 8th grade. Roughly 20 percent of the teachers on staff are former PS 187 students, and many teachers have a long tenure there, said Chory.
In the lower grades, we saw cheerfully decorated classrooms and a lot of attention to foundation skills. We saw kindergarten students working on their writing of upper and lower case letters. In another class, they were discussing the difference between a long and short “U” sound.
Students in all grades read and write a lot and there’s explicit instruction in grammar. Seventh-grade students were taking a pop quiz on complex sentences on the day of our visit, answering questions such as: What is an independent clause? What is the punctuation rule if the dependent clause comes first?
Older students enjoy a traditional middle school experience. Beginning in the 5th grade, students start traveling to classes for select subjects; a full middle school schedule of changing classes every period begins in the 6th grade. Students in grades 5 through 8 are assigned lockers and get to leave school for lunch. Chory said teachers and staff volunteer to patrol the streets during the middle school lunch period.
In addition to core subjects, students take art, physical education and music. Spanish instruction starts in the 5th grade.
The school is orderly and values respect when it comes to behavior. The elementary students have quiet lunches with music playing so they focus on eating (there is a nice salad bar) rather than talking, which allows them more time for outdoor play. Students enjoy the large, open play yard at recess, and there is a small climbing structure for the youngest children.
Washington Heights continues to change demographically and incoming families are increasingly middle class. Though 187 still serves plenty of low-income families, its shift in demographics resulted in the loss of Title 1 funds, federal anti-poverty money that the school used for years to support its many successful programs.
The school is also overcrowded. It hasn’t been able to accommodate pre-k classes in several years, and class sizes can run as high as 32.
Budgets are tight, but parent involvement is strong, with many giving their time and money to support the school. In addition to PTA fundraising, a separate nonprofit group, Friends of 187 raises over $100,000 annually to support programs in art, literacy, digital media and foreign language. Parents also help out in classrooms, offering one-on-one support to struggling learners. On the day of our visit, we saw several parent volunteers working with students in the hallway and in classrooms.
New York-Presbyterian Hospital runs a free medical clinic at the school.
Students enjoy free, onsite recreational and academic activities after school run by The Community Association of Progressive Dominicans (grades k-5) and The New York Junior Tennis and Learning Aces Club (grades 6-8). There are also niche options funded by organizations such as girls-only sports and small-group piano lessons. Several fee-based programs in the neighborhood will pick up 187 students and escort them to off-site activities.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers self-contained and ICT classes and SETSS. English language learners get extra support in their classes, on a pullout basis and after school.
ADMISSIONS: For grades k-5, the school is open only to students living in its zone. For grades 6-8, top priority goes to continuing 5th grade students, then to students living in the school’s zone, and then to students and residents of District 6. Typically, the school has room for some middle school students from outside the zone. (Laura Zingmond, October 2015).
At a glance
Number of Students 802
Average Daily Attendance 95%
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?96% 75% 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
Number of students in an average middle school english classNA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?70% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?10% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam
Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam
Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam
Percent of 8th 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:6% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school offers team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:8% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:4% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:25% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:21% 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?