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Veronica Najjar

Principal, PS 89

From the Principal

On September 10, 1998, PS 89 opened its doors to students for the very first time. Our goal was to create a school that would allow a diverse population of children to participate in their learning by questioning, wondering, negotiating, compromising, disagreeing and collaborating; a school where children would be given exciting things to learn, not just about reading, writing and math, but about themselves and the world around them. We wanted to create an inclusive environment where every child has a voice and a place. Almost two decades later, that vision still guides us, that goal still beckons. At PS 89 we strive to hold students to high expectations, to surprise them with new ideas, to celebrate their successes, and to teach them the value of making mistakes.


As educators we strive to learn right alongside our students. Our teachers constantly reflect on their practice. They are always wondering how to improve themselves, their curricula, and above all, the lives of their students. But the job of educating today’s children is not ours alone. We at PS 89 know that children learn best when there is a strong partnership between school and home. Thus we offer many opportunities for parents to visit their child’s classroom, to attend workshops on parenting and curriculum, and to communicate openly with their child’s teacher.


As the founding principal, I take great pride in the collaboration among the staff, the administrators, and the families  of PS 89, all working together to prepare our students to become respectful and invested citizens. 

Located Warren and West Streets, PS 89 is a zoned elementary school for children in Pre-K through 5th grades living full-time in northern Battery Park City.  PS 89 was founded 1998 by principal Ronnie Najjar, and currently has an enrollment of 420 students.  The school shares the building with IS 289.  Our location provides many opportunities to tap into the resources of lower Manhattan, with easy access to Hudson River Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, Tribeca, and the sites of New Amsterdam. Classes take trips around the neighborhood, as well as field trips to museums, parks, and study sites throughout the city.


Learning at PS 89


At PS 89 learning is infused with inquiry and collaboration. This emphasis encourages a respect for differences and independent thinking. Social Studies form the core of our school's project-based learning with each grade engaging in two extended studies during the year. The integration of all areas of study, including enrichment classes, creates a strong core curriculum, aligned with the Common Core standards.


Our lower grades begin their social studies with explorations of what is nearby and familiar – families, apples, and the BPC neighborhood. As their skills develop, students begin to widen their lens and view the world from a more global perspective. Upper grades study the history and culture of New York City and the United States, with particular focus on geography associated with their studies of New Amsterdam, the American Revolution, and Westward Expansion.


Our school's program in math follows the Investigations curriculum, which strives to develop students as problem solvers and critical thinkers. Children construct understanding while learning procedures and refining skills to make their mathematical thinking more accurate and efficient.


PS 89’s goal is to foster a love of reading, as well as engender independence, by teaching students strategies for reading, comprehension, and writing. All classrooms engage in the “workshop model” for teaching of literacy. This model allows teachers to differentiate instruction in order to meet the needs of all students.


Reading and math specialists, as well as speech, physical and occupational therapists and a guidance counselor, are available for children who require such supports. Our school has an Integrated Collaborative Teaching (ICT) program, which provides an inclusive environment for diverse learning needs.


At PS 89 learning is enhanced by classes in art, music, dance, physical education, health, science, library, and computer technology.

In addition, second and third graders learn to play the recorder, and fourth and fifth graders may participate in the instrumental music program.


Community building, an important aspect of education at PS 89, is supported by the citywide anti-bullying program, Respect for All.


Our monthly Family Fridays provide opportunities for parents to spend time in their children’s classrooms and experience learning firsthand. Siblings, grandparents, caregivers, and other family members are welcome.


During the year, PS 89 offers parent workshops on a variety of family issues, such as internet safety and early childhood development; as well as educational topics such as: state testing, math and reading curriculum, and the middle school articulation process.

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