Concourse Village Elementary School PS 359

An Insideschools pick
750 CONCOURSE VILLAGE WEST
BRONX NY 10451 Map
Phone: (718) 402-7503
Website: Click here
Admissions: District 7 choice
Principal: Alexa Sorden
Neighborhood: Concourse Village
District: 7
Grade range: PK-5
Parent Coordinator: ROBERT CAMERON
Number of full-day PK seats: 36
Extended PK hours offered: Contact program about extended hours.
Unzoned
Gifted and Talented
New School
Full Day
School-based pre-k

What's special:

Popular principal, quality art, high expectations; upper grade G&T program

The downside:

Little play or choice time in kindergarten

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

In a few short years, Principal Alexa Sorden (who sends her own child to the school) has created a school with high expectations, clear routines and a winning mix of high-quality art and academics. The Concourse Village Elementary School has made remarkable gains in a building that once struggled with poor discipline and low levels of academic achievement.

Children wear uniforms and recite the school creed in unison. They take tests at the beginning and end of each 7-week "unit of study" to measure progress and plan instruction. Despite a meticulous structure, academics do not feel stodgy or "safe." Academic lessons are linked to art and music. For example, in a lesson that mixed arts and math, children made collages incorporating the principles of perimeter and area.

Pre-kindergartners explore big themes such as transportation and connect it to every day life. During a record snowfall, they added snowy roads and snow plows to their dramatic play, and made pretend snow in the classroom.

Kindergarten is more serious with its focus on writing, reading and numbers. Unlike pre-k, children do little in the way of open-ended play or exploration. They annotate texts by circling key words and underlining words. Children in all grades practice 3-5 new sight words weekly.

The school does a good job challenging top students while giving struggling students the support they need. Two bright 3rd-graders researched big cats on our visit, nimbly looking up leopards and tigers on their iPads. "White tigers are so rare!" said one. "It's a mutation." On Saturday, teachers meet with small groups of students who may be falling behind.

Families head home to the Dominican Republic for holidays and often stay an extra week, which is a challenge for the attendance team. The team visits homes to stress the importance of attendance, and Sorden leads a parent workshop in which she leaves out key information, as a way to demonstrate how confusing it is to miss school.

Sorden and her guidance counselor know that troubles at home can often spill over into the classroom. During morning drop off, they check for signs of fatigue, misbehavior or neglect, in order to offer a listening ear or practical assistance right away. Children earn points and fake money toward treats, books and special events, but more important, the adults here model values through their caring, consistency and high standards.

Area middle school principals have taken note of the school's promise, especially MS/HS 223 and MS 343, and Sorden hopes to build alliances so her students can feed into these schools. The local KIPP elementary charter school is her "biggest competitor," she said, because they can offer middle and high school seats. (She loses some of her students in the upper grades to KIPP every year for this reason.)

The new school, opened in 2013, replaces the Performance School, which was closed for poor performance. The Performance School replaced PS 156, which was closed for poor performance in 2008.The building is shared with a charter school, Bronx Global Learning Insitute for Girls.

In 2016, the Department of Education began a district-wide gifted and talented program for students entering 3rd grade.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Team-teaching ICT classes mix children with special needs and their general education peers in one room.

ADMISSIONS: District 7 choice (Lydie Raschka, February, 2016; updated July 2016)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the building with the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls Charter School and the Performance School

Number of Students 303

Average Daily Attendance 92%

Students at this school

Asian

  
0%

Black

  
33%

Hispanic

  
62%

White

  
3%

Free Lunch

  
95%

Special ed

  
20%

English Language Learners

  
23%

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?

100% 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?

100% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

24% 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

99% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

94% 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?

78% 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:

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?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

97% 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?

80% 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:

93% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 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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