The new public school on Classon and St. Marks avenues that opened this fall has a visionary principal, dedicated, enthusiastic parents, a dual English-Spanish program, a robust arts curriculum and even a fencing coach.
What it doesn’t have are enough students.
Brooklyn Arts and Science Elementary School, aka P.S. 705, replaced P.S. 22 over the summer, after the Department of Education closed the latter citing a “history of poor performance,” and progress report grades that fell from an A in 2009 to an F in 2011.
P.S. 705 is about 45 seats below capacity, and the school hopes to fill them, since schools are funded per child.
Situated in Crown Heights on the Prospect Heights border, the school has grades pre-K through 3. As P.S. 22 is phased out, 4th and 5th grade will be added.
The school’s principal, Sandra Soto, who quotes Maria Montessori on the school's website, has set up a curriculum aimed at nurturing each child’s individual talents through an inquiry-based instruction model that encourages students to experiment and draw conclusions.
There is also an extensive arts program that culminates in 3rd through 5th graders specializing in one of at least seven specialties that range from fencing and chess to dance and visual art.
Following in the path of P.S. 22, aka Children's International School, the school also has a focus on global studies, with the entire school learning about the same country at once.
P.T.A. president Kelly Bare, whose son is in pre-K, said she is particularly impressed with Soto's dedication to bringing music, dance and other creative classes to the students.
“The focus is on the arts,” she said.
Parents are involved with the school. In Bare's son's class, parents have led activities ranging from a pretend triathlon to a tea party that included decorating masks and a full-class puppet show.
“It’s what this neighborhood has been waiting for,” said Bare. “It’s an incredible opportunity for anyone who is hoping to help build something.”
Spaces are still available in kindergarten, first and second grades in both the dual language and general education tracks. Contact the school office at 718-230-0851 for more information.
In addition, the nearby and well regarded P.S. 9 also had spaces available in Kindergarten and grades 1, 2 and 4. Contact the school’s parent coordinator, Charmaine Derrell-Jacob, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 718.638.3260 x1121 for more information.