It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to the Teunis G. Bergen School, Public School 9, located in the historic brownstone Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Heights. Our school is located directly northwest of beautiful Prospect Park and we share our neighborhood with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, and Brooklyn Museum of Art. Our active school community nurtures our children towards academic and social success through the celebration of our unique cultural diversities and the involvement of community musicians, artists, scientists and professionals that make up our committed parent body. For one good example of P.S. 9’s parent involvement, check out our article about the house concerts benefiting the school that are put on by some of the professional musicians in our parent community.
Our school was founded in the 1930s and has slowly undergone changes—about twenty years ago, Prospect Heights began its path of gentrification. Formerly a predominately African American community, the neighborhood has, through this slow change, become the diverse and unique cultural and socio-economic community seen today. Located a few blocks from the developing Nets Stadium, our school has had an influx of children from new neighborhood condominium developments. Our families are now a mix of middle class and working class, with 59.1 percent of our families living below the poverty line, according to data released in June 2012. P.S. 9 has become a “hot school” among the highly educated professionals that have recently moved into the Prospect Heights area. For our PTO’s thoughts on why that is, click here. At the same time, we continue to nurture children from our neighborhood homeless shelter and welcome new families from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America. With our supportive staff, instructors and families, all our children thrive and become successful and mature graduates who are ready for middle school.
Our school has 594 students and 75 staff members. We integrate social studies into our school curriculum while keeping city and state standards at the forefront of our instructional work. We follow a school-wide enrichment model, where we believe that there is giftedness in every child—our job is to tap into those talents that each of our students possess. Our comprehensive enrichment program emphasizes student choice, inquiry, hands-on activities and project-based learning. Enrichment courses have included sculpture, African dance, chess, theater, movie-making, music, journalism and gardening. Further, our community partners (Noel Pointer Strings, Pratt University, Prospect Park Zoo, Studio-in-a-School, CookShop, LAVA Acrobatics and The Guggenheim) play an invaluable role in enriching our curriculum and school environment.
We received a school grade of an “A” for the 2008-2009 year, which dropped to a school grade of “C” for the 2009-2010 year. Although we had anticipated a change, due to revised state-wide testing—this sort of dip happened to other previously “A”-rated schools, as well—we were determined to improve our score. And we did. Our overall grade for 20111-2012 school year is just seven-tenths of a percentage point away from being an “A” again! Our overall grade was a “B” (“A” is 64.7 and we got a 64), and our student performance rating was a solid “A.” Our attendance rate—considered low at 92.5%—was the main factor in bringing our score down, and we’re working on helping those families for whom this is an issue. Bottom line, we’re not resting until we get that overall “A” back! In terms of our academic approach, we are continuing with the strategic plan we’ve mapped out with our consultants from AUSSIE (a professional development organization), Columbia’s Teachers College and University of Connecticut, our coaches in literacy and math and the school’s Inquiry Team. At P.S. 9 we aim to create lifelong learners, and that philosophy starts with our staff.
Our school is determined to meet the challenges of educating young children at an ever-changing time. We strive for new ways to engage our students mentally, nurture them socially and challenge them physically. We have been privileged to open a new campus library and a new playground that would not have been possible without significant parent involvement. We welcome and invite you to meet our gifted children, dedicated staff and ever-involved community.
Sandra D’Avilar and the school community