P.S. 51 Elias Howe

An Insideschools pick
525 WEST 44TH STREET
MANHATTAN NY 10036 Map
Phone: (212) 315-7160
Website: Click here
Admissions: Neighborhood school
Principal: Nancy Sing Bock
Neighborhood: Hell's Kitchen
District: 2
Grade range: PK-5
Parent Coordinator: GISELLE LEON
Number of full-day PK seats: 54
Extended PK hours offered: Contact program about extended hours.
Zoned
Full Day
School-based pre-k

What's special:

Tap-dancing, music, art and theater classes

The downside:

Part-time physical education teacher

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

PS 51 has a joyful atmosphere, a strong focus on the arts, and an experienced staff that works together as a team. The administration manages to make parents of different races, income levels and nationalities feel welcome with events like family basketball games, movie nights and international potluck suppers. They also offer English classes for parents. The student body includes children whose parents work at the nearby Chinese consulate, as well as children who speak Arabic, Korean, Spanish or Bengali at home. 

The seven-story building, opened in 2013, is unusually bright and well equipped, with two science labs, two outdoor play yards, two gyms, an art studio, a library, a music room and a health clinic.

Children were happy and engaged in the classes we visited. Longtime principal Nancy Sing-Bock believes young children learn through exploration and play. Every pre-K-2 classroom has blocks in addition to books and objects for learning math. She received her master’s degree in administration from Bank Street College and has visited Reggio Emilia, Italy—a mecca for teachers interested in cutting-edge ideas in education. Sing-Bock has brought some of those ideas to PS 51.

The younger grades pick two big themes each year such as architecture or transportation, and within these themes children explore their questions. One class became interested in blueprints brought in by an architect and so kids drew their own blueprints; another became fascinated by the pipes running below ground when they visited the 2nd Avenue subway construction. Older children may study topics such as the history of the Freedom Riders and the Civil Rights movement and the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Kids said they like their twice-a-week science classes, where they get to dissolve M&M'S in water and vinegar, and learn about paper chromatography. The school has long uses the Engage NY math curriculum, a discovery approach emphasizing different ways to solve problems. It includes old-fashioned math drills, called "sprints."

But it’s the arts programming that really sets PS 51 apart. Teaching artists from Rosie's Theater Kids lead children in song and dance at the school, and everyone takes tap-dancing lessons at nearby Maravel Arts Center. Fifth graders attend Broadway shows like Matilda. During lunch and after school, a music teacher leads an Orff ensemble, recorder, drum, ukele/violin ensembles and chorus. An art teacher incorporates themes from academic units into children’s work; for example, children studying trees in science and social studies made drawings of trees. 

Families are embraced at PS 51 and increasingly active. Every month they are invited to watch their children at work in school. This way the school has been able to educate and alleviate worries parents may have about unfamiliar-looking math homework or other aspects of the school's creative curriculum.

Sing-Bock and the staff have worked hard to build a community among parents and children of different backgrounds, by, for example, asking parents who speak different languages to serve as “cultural ambassadors” at PTA meetings and including both newcomers and old-timers on the School Leadership Team. Parents are invited to share their skills and knowledge with their children’s classmates: a bus driver talks about his work when children study transportation; a bus boy talks about his work when children study restaurants. The school offers parent workshops on topics such as how to deal with sibling rivalry.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes on every grade level. English language learners are assisted in smaller groups as needed. Speech and occupational therapists work with children in their regular classrooms, rather than removing them from class. A separate District 75 program also shares the playground space and lunchroom with grades k–2. "We believe in mainstreaming and having all schools in the building work and collaborate together," said Sing-Bock.

ADMISSIONS:  Neighborhood school. Out-of-zone children are sometimes admitted in the late summer or early fall. The school also houses a “pre-k center,” administered separately, whose seats are open to children regardless of where they live. (Clara Hemphill, October 2015; updated by phone, August 2016)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares a building with a Pre-K Center

Number of Students 370

Average Daily Attendance 94%

Students at this school

Asian

  
24%

Black

  
12%

Hispanic

  
42%

White

  
20%

Free Lunch

  
100%

Special ed

  
22%

English Language Learners

  
9%

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?

70% 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?

87% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

20% 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

42% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

38% 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?

75% 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:

13% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

7% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

7% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

7% 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?

92% 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?

91% 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:

0% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

33% 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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