UPDATED FACT SHEET: P.S.

114 Ryder Elementary (18K114) December 2010

Fact Sheet: Proposed Phase Out and Replacement Scenario for P.S. 114 Ryder Elementary
Overview  Based on an extensive review of data and community feedback, the New York City Department of Education (DOE)   
has determined that P.S. 114 Ryder Elementary is unable to turnaround and cannot provide a high-quality education to its students. The DOE is proposing that P.S. 114 be phased out and replaced. Proposing to phase out and replace a school is the most difficult decision we make. We are proposing this action because we think it’s the right thing for current and future students in this community. The phase out process would be gradual and happen over the next several years. The school would complete phasing out in June 2014. The replacement process would also be gradual. A new zoned elementary school or schools would be opened in the building where P.S. 114 is located and would begin enrolling kindergarten, first, and second grade students in September 2011. The new elementary school(s) would gradually grow as P.S. 114’s enrollment decreases. The new school would serve the same area as P.S. 114 and would be located in the same building that currently houses P.S. 114. We hope you share our view that we can—and must—do better for students. The DOE will continue to work closely with P.S. 114 staff and families to ensure that all students receive the support they need to succeed in school.

Summary  P.S. 114 Ryder Elementary has struggled for years. In 2010, only 34% of students were on grade level in math, and    
only 35% were on grade level in English language arts (ELA)—putting P.S. 114 among the lowest-performing elementary schools in the entire City. P.S. 114 earned an overall D grade last year on its Progress Report, with an F grade on the School Environment and Student Performance sub sections and a D grade for Student Progress. P.S. 114 also was rated “Underdeveloped” on its most recent Quality Review in 2008-2009, indicating serious problems in the way that the school is organized to support student learning. P.S. 114 staff and families have worked hard to improve the school. The DOE has also offered considerable support to P.S. 114, including extensive training for administrators and teachers, helping P.S. 114 identify strategies to improve school safety, and working with school leaders to improve instruction for English language learners and students with disabilities. Unfortunately, these efforts have not turned the school around. During conversations with the P.S. 114 community, we heard concerns about a lack of stability in terms of school staffing and significant problems with discipline and maintaining order at the school. While parents were proud of the school’s history and expressed support for the school staff, we do not believe these positive components are enough to move the school in the right direction.

What would the proposal mean for current students?
If this proposal is approved, P.S. 114 would be phased out gradually over the next several years and would no longer admit new pre-Kindergarten or Kindergarten students after the end of this school year. However, most current students would stay at P.S. 114 as it phases out. Below are the enrollment plans for current P.S. 114 students, if P.S. 114 is phased out and replaced.  Kindergarten and first grade students would be guaranteed a seat in the first and second grade of the new elementary school that would open in September 2011 in the building where P.S. 114 is located.  Second, third and fourth grade students would continue at P.S. 114. After your child completes fifth grade, he or she would participate in the Middle School Choice process and enroll in sixth grade at a middle school.

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Fifth grade students will participate in the Middle School Choice process for next year Next school year, P.S. 114 would serve students in grades three, four, and five. Then, during the following school year, P.S. 114 would serve students in grades four and five. Finally, during the 2013-14 school year, P.S. 114 would only serve students in grade five. Phase out would be complete in June 2014.

Background
P.S. 114 Has Struggled for Years

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The overwhelming majority of P.S. 114 students remain below grade level in English language arts and math. Last year, only 34% of students were performing on grade level in math—putting P.S. 114 in the bottom 9% of all elementary schools in New York City. In the 2008-2009 school year the school’s performance on Math was in the bottom 24%. Last year, only 35% of students were performing on grade level in English—putting P.S. 114 in the bottom third of all elementary schools in New York City. In 2008-2009 the school’s performance on English was also in the bottom third. With so few students performing at grade level, P.S. 114 students must make substantial progress to get back on track. Unfortunately, P.S. 114 ranks in the bottom 8% of all schools citywide in terms of learning growth in math and in the bottom 14% of schools citywide in terms of learning growth in English. If such poor performance continues, P.S. 114 students will fall even further behind their peers in other schools. P.S. 114 earned an overall D grade last year on its Progress Report, with F grades on both the School Environment and Student Performance sub-sections and a D grade for Student Progress. P.S. 114 earned overall B grades on both its 2008-09 and 2007-08 Progress Reports, but received F grades in the School Environment sub-section both years. P.S. 114 was rated Underdeveloped—the lowest-possible rating—on its most recent Quality Review in 2008-2009. During Quality Reviews, experienced educators spend several days visiting a school, observing classrooms, and talking with students, staff, and families. A rating of “Undeveloped” indicates serious deficiencies in the way that the school is organized to support student learning. The school’s attendance rate continues to be somewhat low. Last year, P.S. 114 had an attendance rate of 93%, slightly below the City’s 94% average, but still ranking P.S. 114 in the bottom 30% of elementary schools citywide. Safety issues have been a concern at the school. On the 2010 New York City School Survey, 13% of parents reported that they did not think their children were safe at school. In addition, 50% of teachers reported that they did not feel safe at school, with most teachers—86%— indicating that order and discipline were not maintained at P.S. 114.

Demand for the School is Low, Suggesting that Families Are Seeking Better Options

P.S. 114 is a zoned school, but only 43% of zoned students attend. This means that more than 55% of zoned students—who are guaranteed a seat at P.S. 114—are choosing to enroll at other elementary schools.

Despite Our Best Efforts, Performance at P.S. 114 Remains Low
We recognize that P.S. 114 staff members have worked hard to improve the school, but the school has not turned around. To help the school’s efforts to improve, the DOE has offered numerous supports to P.S.114, including: Leadership Support:  Extensive coaching for the principal on how to supervise and evaluate assistant principals and teachers, to promote a safe school environment, and to implement discipline and intervention policies.  Helping the principal develop P.S. 114’s Comprehensive Education Plan and set school wide goals.  Connecting administrators with other schools to learn best practices that can be replicated at P.S. 114. Instructional Support:

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Offering training to the principal and assistant principal on the new state curriculum, curriculum planning, and developing rigorous lessons. Working with the principal on a year-long study that looked at the rigor of instruction for English language learners and students with disabilities. Teacher training in the use of data to drive instruction and the Common Core State Standards, curriculum planning, and administering periodic assessments. Helping teacher teams promote collaboration and align P.S. 114’s curriculum across grade levels and content areas.

Operational Support:  Coaching for school staff on budgeting, human resources, recruiting and retaining talented teachers, building management, and operational compliance issues. Student Support:  Working with the school to identify strategies to improve school safety.  Helping the school contract with Educators for Social Responsibility to improve student discipline practices.  Holding training sessions on how to deal with student suspensions and re-entry of suspended students.

We Know That We Can Do Better
P.S. 114 serves a high-need population: 5% of students require special education services and 9% are English language learners. But other schools serving similar students have achieved far better results:

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At P.S. 134, a Brooklyn school in P.S. 114’s peer group, 9% of students require special education services and 14% of students are English language learners. At that school, 81% of students are on grade level in math and 65% are on grade level in English. P.S. 134 is also in the top 20% of elementary schools in the City in terms of learning growth in math. At P.S. 97 Forest Park, a Queens school that is also in the P.S. 114 peer group, 7% of students require special education services and 23% are English language learners. At that school, 74% of students are on grade level in math and 59% are on grade level in English. P.S. 97 also ranks in the top 10% of elementary schools citywide in annual student learning growth in math and the top 18% of elementary schools citywide in annual learning growth in English. While all students are still not where we’d like them to be, these schools are getting far better results while serving a similar mix of students compared to P.S. 114.

Community Feedback
On October 28, 2010, District 18 Superintendent Beverly Wilkins held a School Leadership Team meeting and parent meeting at the school to discuss what is working at P.S. 114, what isn’t working, and how to work together to better serve students. Approximately 80 parents attended. While parents were very proud of the school’s history, they had concerns about several issues. Parents said:

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There is a lack of stability in terms of school leadership; this has led to serious problems with school culture. While school communication efforts have improved, they still do not feel welcome and do not know what they can do to help. There are significant problems with discipline and order is not maintained at the school. There is a lack of extracurricular activities and enrichment programs for students.

The School Leadership Team expressed some similar concerns and said there is definitely a need for improved communication within the school. While the community did indicate overall support for the teachers and school staff, this support is simply not enough to move P.S. 114 in the right direction.

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Supporting Current and Future Students
We Remain Focused on Helping P.S. 114 Students to Succeed
During the proposed phase out, the DOE would build on our past efforts to help the school by:  Providing teacher training around issues including curriculum planning, improving teaching practices, and tailoring instruction to individual student needs.  Fostering opportunities for teachers and administrators to connect with colleagues in other more successful schools, allowing them to learn from one another, improve teaching, and better support students.  Facilitating partnerships with community-based organizations to support youth development initiatives at the school.

Plans for New Schools for the P.S. 114 Community
As we work together to create better options for the P.S. 114 community, we would keep in mind what had worked at P.S. 114 and do our best to incorporate those positive elements into P.S. 114’s replacement plans. For example:  We would work with the community to retain partnerships with community based organizations that are offering valuable services to the school community; and  We would consider what elements of the school structure are working and do our best to include those features in a replacement school, if P.S. 114 is phased out.

What You Can Expect
In January, we will host a joint public hearing with the District 18 Community Education Council and the P.S. 114 School Leadership Team, among others. As soon as the hearing has been scheduled, we will let you know and will also share with you the formal proposal to phase out. P.S. 114. Replacement plans will be published in a separate proposal. During this hearing, community members, including parents and students, will be able to share their thoughts on the phase out and replacement proposals. The proposals to phase out and replace P.S. 114 will be voted on by the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP), which is composed of members appointed by Mayor Bloomberg and the five Borough Presidents, during a public meeting scheduled for the first week in February 2011. During this meeting, the public will have another opportunity to comment on the proposals. If the PEP approves the proposals, P.S. 114 will not accept new students next school year and replacement schools will begin growing in the building starting next September.

Sharing Your Concerns and Questions
The Department of Education is seeking your feedback on the proposal. We will record your comments and include them in our analysis of public feedback, which is presented to the Panel for Educational Policy prior to its vote on the proposal. Please submit any comments you have to: Phone: 212-374-0208 Email: D18Proposals@schools.nyc.gov We also encourage you to visit the website created to serve P.S. 114 at: http://schools.nyc.gov/community/planning/changes/brooklyn/PS114. We will update that website regularly with important dates, answers to frequently asked questions, and new information as it becomes available.

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