PS 166 serves a diverse population of approximately 600 children in kindergarten through 5th grade. The school is housed in a landmarked, Collegiate Gothic style building built in 1897-98. A 2009 exterior renovation project by the NYC Schools Construction Authority replaced all windows, re-pointed the brickwork and repaired the roof in. The charm of a bygone era is visible in our cathedral windows, sunny, high-ceilinged classrooms, sculptured façade, and sweeping staircases with wrought iron railings.
The mission of PS 166 is to create and maintain a caring environment in which the individual differences of students and teachers are recognized, encouraged and promoted to make the most of the teaching, learning and growing process. Students work in a manner that best serves their needs and fulfills the new learning standards. Teachers are inspired to use teaching styles and techniques which maximize their individual abilities and philosophies as well as including original ideas and abilities of the students. Parents are expected to be part of the children’s education and will be encouraged to be successful in this participation.
PS 166 is a NYC Department of Education Empowerment School, which means that our principal, not the Department of Education, has authority over our curriculum and how our school budget is used to implement that curriculum. As such, in addition to the rigorous reading, writing and math studies that our students do, we also have a brand new science lab that all students visit, and a dedicated science teacher. Additionally, students have music, dance, art, computer and gym classes weekly. Efforts are made to map curriculum plans throughout the year, so that overlaps in social studies and reading and writing, for example, help to reinforce what the children are learning.
Our school has a strong performing arts program. We are fortunate to be partners with Lincoln Center Institute, Mannes School of Music, Vital Theatre Company, TADA Musical Theater Company, Salvadori Architecture Program, and Vision Education. In addition to delivering the NYS standards curriculum, our music and dance teachers produce three school-wide student performances per year. Students also have the opportunity to participate in an annual spring musical production – this year that production is “Thoroughly Modern Millie”.
PS 166 also has a visual arts studio on the fourth floor where all students receive weekly art lessons. The art teacher collaborates with the classroom teachers to incorporate a project based program which is aligned to each specific grade level curriculum. Each year the students display their work in an art exhibition in the cafeteria turned into a gallery-like setting.
In 2003, the school was renamed The Richard Rodgers School, after its illustrious alumnus, the great musical composer Richard Rodgers. Other well known graduates include Jonas Salk, J.D. Salinger, Charles Benenson, Lewis Rudin, Jack Rudin, Charles Benenson, and Ronnie Eldridge, who served for many years on the New York City Council.
The Horticultural Society of New York provides gardening workshops for third graders in the Reading Garden each spring as part of their life sciences curriculum, a program supported by the Greenacre Foundation. All students at PS 166 visit the West Side Community Garden across the street for inspiration. Classes also draw on neighborhood institutions such as Landmarks West, the Central Park Conservatory, BJ Reads, the New York Historical Society, and the American Museum of Natural History.
The PS 166 PTA provides financial support for many of the programs described above, and also represents parent concerns and ideas in ongoing work with our principal. All parents and teachers are members of the PTA. Friends of PS 166 is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established to make fundraising easier. PS 166 is one of the only public elementary schools in the district to provide classroom assistants to teachers in all grades, a program that is entirely funded by parents and benefits all students in the school. PTA volunteers help maintain the computer network, run sound equipment for performances, and work with the students and staff to maintain the Reading Garden.
If you would like more information please contact our parent coordinator, Deborah Markewich, at (347) 563-5175 or Dmarkewich@schools.nyc.gov