Have teachers and parents turned on PS 24?


Last week, The Riverdale Press reported that PS 24 in Spuyten Duyvil received a C on its progress report, which measures how schools are doing by comparing them to other, similar schools.

The grade, however, requires some unraveling. PS 24 got a B in the student progress category and a C in student performance, but failed in the environment category based on surveys taken by parents and teachers.

Donna Connelly, PS 24’s principal who started on Sept. 30, 2009, said when the state raised the score students needed for profciency on math and ELA tests, grades dropped which, in turn, caused PS 24’s progress and performance grades to decline. PS 24’s standardized test score averages were higher than those in the state and District 10.

“Across the board in our performance we scored 10 to 15 percentage points higher than the state,” Ms. Connelly said.

Still, PS 24 caught flak for its F rating from people including education expert Leonie Haimson, who said schools that failed in this category may be the most troubled because the grade is based on what parents and teachers think and is free from Department of Education pressure to inflate scores.

The survey

The environment survey asked participants to rate the school in four categories —academic expectations, communication, engagement and safety and respect. Overall, the school got higher ratings in all categories compared with last year. But while parents said it was average or above average across the board, teachers graded the school more harshly.

Both parents and teachers rated the school as average in safety and respect. Parents rated it average or above average for the other categories and rated the school higher than last year for all questions the DOE considers “important.”

However, teachers — who indicated that the school improved in some areas and declined in others — gave the school the lowest possible score in communication and second lowest in academic expectations and engagement.

Page 1 / 2