The Origins of P.S. 304
The Origins of P.S. 304 Early Childhood Lab School By Ms. Boltax
I have the honor of introducing the origins of PS 304 the Early Childhood Lab School. I was one of the proposers and writers of our building PS 304. In the late 1990s, it became apparent that we were concerned about the teacher’s knowledge of best practices in literacy instruction and student outcomes and that's where the vision and idea of producing a school that would answer to both of those outcomes.
The school began as a K - 2 school with three classes on the grade and we were only using one floor of the building. Each year we grew another grade as one of the founding members and writers of the school proposals for the school we worked diligently to create an environment where teachers practice as well as understand the philosophy of how to teach children and the best ways students learn
We wanted to create an environment where they get to practice as well as make it a risk-free environment. The first group of 11 teachers who were hired for PS 304 was trained by the right and Aussie groups as well as the Lehman writing institute.
After a summer of intense professional development, we opened the building. We spent a year honing our skills at this time. We had those groups come into our building and the teachers were freed for professional development. After that year, we invited teachers out of the district. District 8 invited a cohort of teachers for the week and during that week the teachers who came to visit spent the morning at least two hours with me learning the philosophy of best practices, then they went into the classrooms and taught side by side with our teachers. At the end of the week, we spent an afternoon reflecting and thinking about what I want to bring back to my school that I learned here it was a very rewarding experience and we have some of those videos on file in the building as a new school.
We also had a budget for books and furniture. We thought very carefully about the layout of our classrooms and we purchased rugs for the meeting area, writing areas, independent libraries, as well as shared big books. We used our budget, not to buy anthologies, like the other schools in New York City were purchasing, instead, we bought our massive guided reading room library to create this library.
As a staff, we look through the best books for many publishers. We created a room where teachers borrow the levels of books that each student or group would need to this day, our guided reading room is the heartbeat of our building.
Thank you so much for watching! Enjoy the rest of what we do at PS 304 is about.
Not only do we consider or did consider the academics of our children we also realized the importance of social and emotional development. We always had a PBIS program and taught our students the importance of kindness of persistence of resilience more than ever. We can see all of our teaching and our practice with our students today in these very difficult times they do show that resilience.
Students show a love of reading and a love of books throughout the years. There have been so many students who have written letters to me and requested that I purchase specific books for our classroom. I love this series that's important to us but not only do they write about what kind of books they want they also have a voice and we make our point to listen to what our students are saying we are proud of them.
We are proud to send out students who will make a difference in society students who know the importance of respect who know the importance of trying hard and never giving up who know the importance that they are important thank you so much for watching enjoy the rest of PS 304 is about
- Bonnie Boltax, Assistant Principal