P.S. 91 is a Performing Arts elementary school in the University Heights section of the Bronx serving 525 students in grades K-5. It is presently a school in good standing in terms of NYSED accountability. We have General Education, Special Education (ICT and Self-Contained), English as a New Language (ENL), and Bilingual classroom settings. We also offer services that include ENL support, counseling, SETSS, occupational therapy, physical therapy, as well as mono- and bilingual speech therapy. Student attendance is 91%. Meridith Nasjletti has been principal at this school for 11 years.
SPECIAL INITIATIVES: ARTS: We are very proud of our ever-growing Arts program. We offer classes in visual and performing arts, including music, art, theater and dance. Our music teachers organize concerts in the Winter and Spring that are enjoyed by the entire school community, including parents and elected officials. Music programs include Select Choir and Orchestra. Our Arts program is also supported by outside partnerships including Jazz at Lincoln Center, Rosie’s Theater Kids, Studio in a School, Education Through Music and Material for the Arts. These art programs have had a positive impact on parental involvement and increased the opportunities to invite parents into school. In addition to the Arts, during remote learning, we offered a Stem and Robotics program, which will continue during the 2021-2022 school year.
PBIS: We are excited to share our school-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) program. We have created a Social Emotional Learning Center (SELC) to support a shift to a more positive discipline structure. In the SELC, you might witness Restorative Circles, Crisis De-escalation, Ruler, Community Circles and stress reduction techniques with the addition of a new partnership Brain Power. Brainpower will expose students, staff and parents to mindfulness practice, including yoga, brain breaks and meditation. Students are expected to meet school wide behavioral expectations. Each class's schedule also integrates the Responsive Classroom practices during
TIGER HUB, which include Morning Meeting, Quiet Time, and Closing Circle. In the 2018-19 school year, we expanded our PBIS program by introducing the RULER program, an evidence-based approach for integrating social and emotional learning into schools, developed at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
Professional Learning: This is the 4th year we have organized our Monday PD sessions around Professional Learning Cycles (PLCs). This structure allows us to differentiate professional development according to the needs of our teachers and students. It also provides opportunities for teacher choice and vertical alignment. All staff members who attend professional development outside of the building are required to turnkey their learning. 2020-2021 marks our second year of ED CAMP, where staff members share best practices with colleagues, which develop through their professional learning. During weekly team meetings, teachers are able to share students’ strengths and weaknesses with their grade team members, as well as come up with next steps and share best practices with one another. Teachers also engage in collaborative inquiry using the PDSA cycle, a protocol that helps to improve their practice and gear instruction to meet each student’s need.
Athletics: We are very proud to say that the PS 91 Tigers are two-time After-School Athletic Program (ASAP) District 10 COED Champions! The basketball games have helped to improve our school’s culture, helped support the personal behaviors that will help our students be college and career ready, as well as provide additional opportunities for parent engagement. We achieved All-Star status through the Move-to-Improve program, a free classroom based physical activity program that helps elementary school teachers enhance their lessons with activities that get students moving.
STRATEGIC COLLABORATIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS We have many partnerships that enhance our school program. Through our collaboration with Education Through Music (ETM), we hired two certified music teachers who ensure that students receive quality music instruction. ETM follows a skills-based, comprehensive, and sequential curriculum that is aligned with the State and National Arts Learning Standards and the Common Core Learning Standards. Additionally, our partnership with ETM provides afterschool programs including a chorus and an orchestra for grades 4 and 5. This initiative has been largely supported by our partnership with City Councilman Fernando Cabrera.
Jazz at Lincoln Center is an in-school concert series, teaching students about the history of Jazz music, such as Let Freedom Swing and conversations on Jazz and Democracy. Jazz for Young People on Tour, brings outstanding jazz artists and performances to NYC and metropolitan area schools.
This year we will continue our partnership with Materials for the Arts. The residency program brings MFTA to our school to enhance curricula in social studies, language arts and social emotional learning. Teaching artists lead workshops in reuse and project-based learning that are aligned to the New Generation standards and Core Knowledge Language Arts. MFTA works with grades 1-4 to integrate art into their culminating task.
Our partnerships with Manhattan and Monroe Colleges have brought over a dozen college students enrolled in education programs into our classrooms to work directly with our teaching staff and to provide additional support to both teachers and students.
This is our 3rd year working with Early Reading Matters. Through the Early Reading Matters, teachers continue to learn how to implement research-based strategies, identify and use high quality texts, and align teaching to the Next Generation standards, while being mindful of the needs of our K-2 learners. As an important element, they also build the capacity of early literacy teacher leaders to sustain this work. Early Reading Matters' literacy coaches will provide teachers with targeted support in effectively planning and executing the components of the reading block, frequently assessing students, and engaging in collaborative inquiry.
This is the second year we are working with Studio in a School, through a grant, focusing on social emotional learning and writing through art with some of our English Language Learners.
This is our second year working with Replications and our attendance team on meeting our Attendance Goal decreasing our chronic absenteeism from 33% to 30%. This year, we will continue our partnership with a new goal decreasing chronic absenteeism from 30% to 27%.
Our continuing partnerships with our local supermarkets, World Vision, Catholic Charities, and Refuge of Hope church, have graciously donated essentials and food for our most needy families since the pandemic started through the school year including Winter, Spring and Summer vacations. This year we are collaborating with a former PS 91 ELL student, Dr. Jahangir Rahman, who is also an assistant clinical professor of medicine at Columbia University in NYC.