Mission + Philosophy

PS166 provides a nurturing environment committed to achieving academic excellence, celebrating diversity, and fostering a climate of respectfulness and trust.  Students, parents, and staff work together to establish an environment of equity, acceptance, and growth where everyone learns and each person counts.  Students are encouraged to achieve to their best ability intellectually, socially, and emotionally. 

Teachers work collaboratively to reflect on best teaching practices and the Next Generation Standards ensuring that all learning needs and styles are met.  Professional development and ongoing learning ensure rigor, purpose and engagement are consistently achieved.  Students are provided real world experiences and hands on involvement that allows them to deepen their understanding of the world around them. 

PS166 supports innovations in the arts as well as the latest technology to insure preparedness of al student for the years ahead. We are a community that encourages all members to become confident, self-motivated lifelong learners. 


Our History

Built in 1897-98 in Collegiate Gothic style with columns, cathedral windows and old-world plaster detail, PS166 is one of the most impressive public school buildings in the city. Designed by the award-winning architect C.B. Snyder, the charm of a by-gone era is still evident in the sculptured facade, the sweeping entrance staircase, and the sunny, high-ceilinged classrooms.

In 1995 a complete renovation was undertaken and the entire building was modernized, becoming a barrier-free institution. It received Landmark status at the end of the millennium and a new million dollar playground at the beginning of the new millennium. The playground was designed by the innovative architect M. Paul Freidberg and is open to the public after school hours and on weekends. There is a separate playground for the kindergarten children.

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 and Jack Rudin, and Ronnie Eldridge, who served for many years on the New York City Council.

In 2009, a three-year exterior renovation project by the NYC Schools Construction Authority to replace all windows, re-point the brickwork and repair the roof was completed.

In 2016, the school playground renovation was completed to make the playground safer and more enjoyable for all students.

Principal's Letter

Debra Mastriano's July 9, 2020 Letter


July 9, 2020


Dear Families,


I hope you are well and enjoying the summer so far! 

Our administration and staff is working hard to plan for the reopening of school in the fall and to respond to information and guidance from the DOE and health officials as it becomes available. Yesterday, Chancellor Carranza spoke to principals and then gave a public press conference regarding plans for bringing students back to school buildings in September. Our top priority is to ensure the safety of students and staff. This will involve new health protocols, physical distancing, and a blended learning model for all public schools. We are very excited about seeing everyone in person with safety guidelines.

  • We will be using a blended learning model, where students will be taught on-site in our building for part of the week and will learn remotely on other days.
  • Students will be learning 5 days a week either in person or remotely.
  • Given health and safety guidelines we will NOT be able to have 100% of students present in our building the same day.
  • We will be meeting with SLT in July to discuss and review scheduling options.
  • Families will be able to choose all-remote learning if they are not comfortable going back into the school building. A form will be shared with families on July 15th that will allow you to select preferences. You must submit your preference by August 7th. 
  • Following basic safety protocols will be required, including social distancing, face coverings (masks), hand washing and staying home when sick.
  • Flexibility is key as public health information continues to evolve.
  • Our goal is to have as much live teaching as we can since we know that is the best way to support students learning.
  • We will have on-going staff development with all systems in order to ensure consistent delivery of online instruction.
  • We will continue to use the Google Classroom online platform for consistency.
  • We will be meeting with our Math Coach to continue our plan for remote assessments and remote learning curriculum that meets all standard based instruction for students.
  • We are still awaiting definitive numbers from the DOE regarding the numbers of students and staff that can be physically present in each classroom. 

Once we know which students will be attending remotely, we will be able to break the rest of the class into small groups.  When groups are finalized we will give you a schedule of which days your child will be attending school in the building and which days will be remote. 

For a better understanding of the Blended model, please read the chancellor’s letter to families HERE. 

The DOE has also set up a “Return to School 2020” webpage HERE . The DOE has scheduled an information session for parents on July 16. More information about the info session will be available soon on the Return to School’s webpage. I advise you to bookmark that page and check it often as new updates will be posted over the summer.

To better understand the scheduling options schools are choosing from, click HERE. 

As of today, the DOE has not announced the calendar or the first day that students will return. We will distribute that information as soon as we receive it and it will be posted on the “Return to School 2020” webpage as well. 

We will continue to communicate through this Special Announcement Listserv over the summer as plans evolve. We will have a new parent orientation in late August. 

While this is certainly an unprecedented and challenging situation, I have confidence that working together - students, parents, teachers and staff – we can succeed with giving our students the strong education you have come to expect from PS 166.




Richard Rodgers, Class of 1916

Many thanks to Charles Plohn, whose father was a member of the class (third from left in the front row)  for finding, framing and donating this amazing vintage photo. Be sure to look at this photo displayed on the wall  in the second floor hallway. It is the PS 166 8th grade class photo from 1916, featuring Richard Rodgers (second from left in the front row.)

Question Mark


What are the school hours?

8:20 AM – 2:40 PM
Students must arrive by 8:15 AM to ensure getting to class on time.

What should I do when my child is absent?

If your child is absent, please send an email of explanation to attendance@ps166.org and copy your child’s teacher.  Please do not call the main office. All absences should be documented. If your child misses 3 days or more, please send in a doctor’s note of explanation to your child’s teachers upon his/her return to school. Lateness and absences must be permanently recorded by the NYC DOE.  Visit the Attendance page for more information.

What if my child gets sick or has an accident during school?

If a child becomes ill or is injured during the school day, the nurse will contact the family or send home a note, depending on the circumstance.

It is extremely important to make sure that the BLUE emergency card is filled out with correct information. You will receive this card at the beginning of every school year and asked to complete it and return it to your teacher promptly. If information changes throughout the school year, please ask your child’s teacher to send home a new card so you can update it.

 If you are asked to pick up your child early, you must go first to the main office to sigh your child out, before picking up in the nurse’s office, room 108.

Should my child stay home from school?

Your child should not attend school if he/she has any of the following symptoms:

• Evidence of infection, sore throat and swollen, tender, painful neck glands
• Fever of 100 degrees or higher
• Vomiting
• Earaches
• Diarrhea
• Persistent Cough
• Body Rash
• Ring Worm
• Lice

To contact the school nurse call 212-579-0851. If your child has any ongoing medical issues, please notify the nurse as well as your teacher. If your child requires medication during the school day, a form must be submitted before the nurse can dispense medication.

I need to pick up my child early, where do I go?

Go to the main office and sign your child out in the “Student Sign Out” binder. A staff member will bring your child to you. Please do not arrange to pick up your child during lunch/recess (K&1 – 11:02-11:52; 2&3 11:56-12:46; 4&5 12:50-1:40.) Additionally, students cannot be “early” dismissed after 2 PM. If you arrive after 2 PM, you must wait until regular dismissal at 2:40 PM.


What is the best way to get in touch with the school?

Communicate with your child’s teacher by sending a note in the communication folder. Although teachers are not able to speak to parents during instructional time you can make an appointment to speak with them. Some teachers prefer e-mail and will let you know if that is a better way to communicate.

If you need to reach Deborah Markewich, the Parent Coordinator, email is best. dmarkewich@schools.nyc.gov . You can also call 212-579-4555 but due to the volume of messages, it may take a day or so to get a response.


What is ICT?

PS 166 has an Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) class on every grade level. ICT classrooms include students with and without disabilities and have two teachers, a general education teacher and a special education teacher. The teachers work together throughout the day to adapt and modify instruction for special needs children and make sure that the entire class has access to the general education curriculum. Students with special needs may be in an ICT classroom all day or for a portion of the day. The number of students with disabilities in an ICT classroom does not exceed 40% of the total class register.


Where is the lunch menu?

PS 166 uses the alternative K-8 lunch menu. It can be found on the Quick Links home page of this website.  Additional lunch information can be found on the Lunch page. There is also a copy posted in the school lobby.

How much does school lunch cost and how do I pay for it?

School lunch is free for all students. All families must complete a school lunch application each year regardless of whether your child plans to eat school lunch. The DOE uses the information from these applications to provide funding to our school.

Is there a breakfast program?

Breakfast is free and available to all children in the cafeteria before school starts. Students who would like to eat breakfast must be here promptly at 8:00 AM and no later than 8:10 AM in order to have time to finish eating prior to the start of the day. No student should be dropped off prior to 8:00 am as there are no staff members to supervise.

Where do I get a student MetroCard?

MetroCards are assigned based on age and distance from school. Please contact Ms. Tiniquia Louden if you believe your child qualifies but has not received a MetroCard.

Can my child attend PS 166 if not in the school zone?

Admissions to PS 166 for Kindergarten are based on a set of priorities and are not on a first-come, first-serve basis. Admission priorities are as follows:
·    Zoned students with verified siblings.
·    Zoned students without siblings
·    Non-zoned students who reside in district and have siblings in the school who will be articulating into grades 1 – 4.
·    Non-zoned students who live out of district and have siblings in the school who will be articulating into grades 1 – 4
·    Non-zoned, out of district students

Please note that in recent years only students who reside in zone have been admitted. 

Does PS 166 have a Gifted and Talented (G&T) Program ?

PS 166 does have a G&T program with two classes per grade, kindergarten - grade 5.

What is the School Leadership Team (SLT)?

The School Leadership Team is a collaborative team of parents and teachers and the principal that is mandated by state law to play a significant role as an advisory panel in representing the school community. The SLT helps create structures for school-based decision-making, develops school-based educational policies and ensures resources are aligned to implement those policies. The SLT writes and reviews the school’s Comprehensive Education Plan (CEP).  Parents are elected for two year terms on a staggered basis. Visitors are welcome to all meetings. Visit the SLT page by clicking here. 


Awards + Grants

  • 2020 Grow to Learn Mini Grant funding for supplies for the Kindergarden and Reading garden
  • 2019-2020 School Wellness Grant for Wellness in the Schools program
  • 2019 Lowe's Toolbox for Education: Funding for a new shed for the PS 166 Reading Garden
  • 2019 Capital Grant: $200,000 from Council member Helen Rosenthal for technology upgrades
  • 2019 Capital Grant: $70,000 from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for technology upgrades
  • 2019 Grow to Learn Mini Grant: Funding for new planters for the PS 166 Reading Garden and Kinder Garden
  • 2018 Citizens Committee of New York City Composting Grant
  • 2018 Participatory Budgeting Grant: $250,000 for technology upgrades from City Council Member Helen Rosenthal
  • 2018 Capital Grant: $80,000 for technology upgrades from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

Do you have grant writing skills and want to help our school procure grants? Be sure to check out our fundraising page.

 Learn About Fundraising 

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