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Curriculum and Academic Grading Policy


At PS 290 Manhattan New School, the essence of our philosophy is to encourage a child’s natural curiosity, to develop a love of learning, and to promote social responsibility as global citizens. This climate of academic dedication, respect and understanding contributes to our vibrant learning community.


  • We engage students with a curriculum that includes rigorous academics as well as a focus on each child’s social and emotional development and wellbeing.

  • Our curriculum is aligned with the New York State Common Core Learning Standards.

  • Grade-wide thematic units of study include reading, writing, math, social studies, science, technology, art, music, and physical education.

  • Classrooms are literate environments with an abundance of books that support the development and love of reading, writing, questioning and the sharing of ideas. 

  • Our libraries serve as both “windows for and mirrors of” students’ own identities and the identities of others, and foster the school's mission of diversity and inclusion.

  • Students learn mathematical concepts and number methods that enable them to become true problem solvers.

  • Our students are articulate, intellectually curious, and learn to think of themselves as readers, writers, mathematicians and researchers.  

  • Our teachers use formal and informal assessments to evaluate each students’ mastery of educational content and academic progress within learning benchmarks.

  • MNS is committed to its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion practices and leverages its families, staff and renown experts to develop anti-racist pedagogy and practices.


Academic Grading Policy

At PS 290 Manhattan New School we maintain a fair academic grading policy that reflects each individual student’s achievement levels based on the New York State Common Core Learning Standards. Grades are designed to measure each student’s competency in curricular content by evaluating mastery of academic areas and grade appropriate skills and behaviors.


Grades reflect each student’s understanding of subject areas and advancement within the grade curriculum at a specific time within the academic year. Grades represent a number of contributing factors, including classwork, evaluations, class participation, special projects and behavior. 


Classroom academic assessment includes the following criteria:


Academic Standards

  • In-class assignments

  • Notebooks and folders

  • Group projects

  • Reading

  • Writing

  • Mathematics

  • Listening, speaking, and language based skills

  • Social studies

  • Advancement within and consistent engagement with curricular content

  • Assessments and evaluations including tests, quizzes, and teacher evaluations and observations


Classroom Standards

  • Respect for school rules, teachers, classmates, and the school community

  • Classroom discussion and participation

  • Collaborative partner or group work

  • Adherence to classroom expectations and behaviors

  • Preparedness and timeliness

  • Completion of tasks and assignments

  • Social–emotional development

  • Attendance: Missing classroom instruction can negatively impact a student’s success both academically and behaviorally

Students are expected to adhere to academic and behavioral standards within all specialty (“Cluster”) classes, such as Music, Physical Education, Art, and Technology, as well as in special programs (ex. Dance, Swim), and during Afterschool and school trips.


Student work is an essential way for teachers to gauge student understanding of materials, and it allows teachers to inform instruction. Students have the opportunity to demonstrate their academic progress through multiple measures of performance. Our assessments, class projects, classroom assignments are aligned with the New York State Common Core Learning Standards.


Teachers regularly provide constructive feedback on student work and next steps to guide students in improving their understanding.


Opportunities to Discuss Student Progress

  • Parent-Teacher conferences will take place twice a year (fall and spring).

  • Teachers, guidance counselors, and staff members can be reached via email to discuss student progress any time outside the scheduled conferences. Please allow school staff 48 hours (2 school days) to respond to correspondence.

  • Teachers are available to schedule brief telephone or in-person conversations on Tuesday afternoons.

Report Cards

Students will receive report cards in November, March and June. The information provided in our Report Cards is designed to foster the vital communication between school and families that supports each student’s academic, social, emotional and physical development. Students will receive a grade for Music, Art, Physical Education and Technology (2nd - 5th Grades only).


Explanation of Grades

Performance Levels:

4     Excels in standards

3     Proficient

2     Below standards

1     Well below standards


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