The Island School
Led by Principal Suany Ramos, The Island School, PS/MS 188, serves over 450 PreK-Grade 8 students (97% Title I Eligible). Located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in a restored hundred-plus year-old building, we are nestled between the Lillian Wald and Baruch public housing complexes and across the street from The Urban Family Center, a temporary housing facility. As the chart below depicts, our enrollment has disproportionately high representation of students most at-risk of dropping out of school:
Demographic Data, 2020
Full Service Community Model
PS/MS 188 has embraced the families in this corner of the Lower East Side for over 15 years and through three administrations. We hold a heartfelt and unwavering commitment to providing the resources and services our children need to succeed academically and to helping our families thrive. There is no lottery; there are no turn-aways.
Over this time, by creating access to the building’s modernized facilities, and by offering a network of comprehensive, wrap around services six days a week from 6:45am to 7:30pm, we have developed a Full-Service Community School Model which has resulted in this neighborhood school becoming a one-stop service center for children, families and alumni students, offering the following services: nutrition, counseling, mental health, medical, health & wellness, social service support, parent development programs, computer/internet access as well as extended day, vacation and summer programs. Demonstrating remarkable progress for diverse learners in need of academic support, the 2016 NYCDOE School Quality Snapshot awards the school the highest ranking in Student Achievement, Supportive Environment, and Strong Family Ties.
Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM)
The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) has been integral to the Island School’s success. SEM recognizes that students in every corner of the city have talents and respond well to high-end and engaging learning opportunities. SEM is a gifted and talented program aimed at developing the talents of all students.
This pedagogy which enables our staff (regular and extended day) to expose, enrich and support students as they develop their interests and expertise. Students are encouraged to pursue independent investigations of real world-problems. In this approach, they become problem-solvers and social activists in their community. In doing so, students are guided in identifying and developing their talents to pave meaningful pathways to high school, helping them to become college and career ready. We are proud that students from PS/MS 188 have been accepted to several performing arts schools, as well as Stuyvesant, NEST, Bard and Millennium High Schools.
The success described above represents a commitment of staff, parents and community CBOs to developing a strong academic program and building a network of partners that share a commitment to providing equity of access for families most in need. We created this initiative from within, learning strategies from the Children’s Aid Society. It became central to the school’s mission, reflecting the school’s core values. We have been awarded The NYS Community Schools Grant in collaboration with Sports and Arts Foundation. This grant enabled us to fund a Community School Resource Director to support and expand our program. PS/MS 188 was also awarded the NYC Community Schools/AIDP grant, and we are now part of the network of Community Schools. The school is part of the Sharing Success Initiative and has been hosting inter-visitations focusing on the Community School Model which includes an Extended Day as well as a focus on talent development.