PS 81 is a Grade K-5 school with heterogeneously grouped general ed
classes and two special education classes. Currently PS 81 has one
accelerated class in each grade except Kindergarten. This year we
have five Kindergarten classes, five 1st, four 2nd, 3rd, and three
4th and 5th grade classes. We have approximately 705 students. In
addition PS 81 offers an after school program two days a week that
provides support for children in the areas of reading and math.
We are a zoned school so our general population lives in our local
community. Bus service is available for about 300 students who live
in the PS 81 zone but at least one mile away [all grades] or at
least ½ mile away [Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd Grades only].
Our school is culturally and racially diverse. The school serves as
many as 22 language groups, including Russian, Spanish, Korean,
Albanian and Chinese.
WHO IS ROBERT
Dr. Robert J. Christen was born on January 11, 1928. He was a
lifelong Riverdalian. He was a college professor, who was elected
twice to serve on Community School Board 10, and was appointed to
the Central Board of Ed in 1974. He served as President of both
Community School Board 10 and the Central Board.
His passion for promoting world peace led to his co-founding the
Peace Institute at Manhattan College. In 1966 he inaugurated “The
Anatomy of Peace,” [one of] the first peace study courses in the USA
[world]. In 1975, he was honored by the Riverdale Chapter of the
United Nations Association of the USA for his contribution to peace
Acting Board of Education President, Miguel 0. Martinez and Schools
Chancellor, Frank J. Macchiarola said in a combined statement: “Bob
Christen had a real understanding of the needs of school children
and a special concern for those with handicapping conditions. The
welfare of children was always his chief concern. He brought to
Board discussions a high level of intelligence and professionalism.
His contributions to the Board’s deliberations will be highly
He was president of the Manhattan College Chapter of the American
Association of University Professors and served Riverdale as a
member of the Board of Directors of the Riverdale Neighborhood
House. He was a member and former Chairman of the Conference of
Large City Boards of Education and a director of the New York State
School Boards Association.
The school was named after Dr. Robert Christen because of his
involvement in education and his dedication to children during his
entire life. We are proud to have our school named after a prominent
and successful Riverdale educator.
The Robert J. Christen School Curriculum Overview Core Subjects