Volume 16 • Issue 53 | May 28 - June 3, 2004

P.S. 20 among ‘most improved’ schools

By Elizabeth O’Brien

Children at P.S. 20 always know where they stand. Teachers regularly evaluate students’ work and refine their instruction accordingly, just one of the strategies that propelled the Essex St. school onto New York City’s “most improved” list for the statewide English and math exams.

The school’s principal, Dr. Leonard Golubchick, credited the school’s dedicated staff, students and parents for the gains made in the fourth-grade test scores.

“It’s a whole community effort,” said Golubchick, a.k.a., “Dr. G.,” who has served the school for 27 years.

Golubchick said he did not know the exact numbers behind his students’ improvements — he learned the news just last week when Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein visited the school to celebrate its accomplishment. Of 122 fourth-graders who took the English-Language Arts test last year, 121 met or exceeded state standards, Golubchick said.

Sixty percent of the students at P.S. 20 are non-native English speakers, and nearly all meet the requirements for free lunch. Attendance at the school is greater than 95 percent, higher than the citywide average of 90.

The school offered special Saturday test prep classes for students, along with its regular after-school program at the Henry St. Settlement that integrates the arts and technology. In addition to the regular curriculum, students participate in special projects. Fourth- and fifth-grade students worked on a school improvement project with an architect, and sixth-graders met with the designer of the Second Ave. subway.

The celebration over the test scores was tempered, however, by the recent loss of the school’s beloved assistant principal, Stewart Weiner, who died on May 7 after battling pancreatic cancer. Weiner had been with the school since 1991, and had been instrumental in the creation of its Peer Mediation Program, yearbook, graduation trips and many other extracurricular activities.

Weiner was 52. He is survived by his wife and two children.

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