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University Neighborhood Middle
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About University Neighborhood Middle

University Neighborhood Middle Founded as part of New York University’s plan for an “educational park” on the Lower East Side, University Neighborhood Middle School is a warm, welcoming school. The university continues to have a strong presence at the school: Student teachers work with staff members, and college students come to the school twice a week to tutor. NYU provides UNMS teachers with professional development programs and the use of university space. UNMS is a tight-knit community, with students, parents, and staff speaking of one another as family. Students are fond of their teachers and are quick to mention how much extra help they get on homework. Sixth graders said that 8th graders are nice to them in the hallways, and the 8th graders said it’s important to them to be good role models for younger students. The school appears to be making important academic progress. Aside from the citywide dip in test scores in 2010, students are making academic progress in English language arts (ELA) and math. Attendance has risen steadily each year. UNMS has combined ELA and social studies into a single humanities program that boosts literacy through exploring social issues. Eighth graders, for example, were writing about industrialization and food. Students write essays in every one of their classes, and essays about art criticism, math, and science are displayed on bulletin boards in the halls. Many of the samples we read were competently written. The teachers we observed were very strong and spent a lot of time showing students examples of good and bad essays, and then discussed them with a class so that students were clear about the expectations for good writing. The students we spoke to said that seeing the teacher’s example makes it easier to know when they are getting something right or wrong. Although the school appeared safe and orderly on our visit, there are security concerns. Among teachers responding to a 2009–10 DOE survey, 59 percent agreed that order and discipline are maintained at the school and 41 percent disagreed. The school landed on the state’s list of “persistently dangerous schools” in 2010. Principal Laura Peynado-Castro said the designation made the school seem disorderly because of a handful of incidents involving emotionally disturbed children. The principal said she was not informed until after the designation as “persistently dangerous” that such incidents by emotionally disturbed children are supposed to be reported separately and not included in the summary of statistics for the school as a whole. UNMS has a wide range of after-school activities, which run from 3 to 5 p.m. and include school newspaper, drum club, sports, film club, community service, and math, science, and ELA study help. Students can also participate in a robotics club hosted by the New York City Center for Space Science Education, a museum that shares part of the building with the schools. Special Education: The school offers both self-contained and Collaborative Team Teaching classroom settings. It has had success moving students from self-contained to general education classes. Students with IEPs change classrooms for each subject, and classes are taught by teachers with specialized subject knowledge. Admissions: UNMS applicants are selected on the basis of academic screening. Recently, more than 380 students applied for 60 spaces. The school also has a New Young Citizens Program, which admits students who are English language learners and have been in the U.S. for less than two years. (Tom Jacobs, March 2011) You can reach us and contact : New york, New York - United States of America

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