Archive for the tag 'Education'

Seth Low JHS will be the site of a rally against the proposed co-locations on Friday. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last Thursday that he will allow 36 public and charter schools to move into existing schools while giving the boot to other charter school co-location plans, prompting outrage from politicians and education advocates in Southern Brooklyn.

“I am very disappointed because the decision to co-locate Coney Island Prep with I.S. 281 does not square with the facts as we presented,” Councilman Vincent Gentile said in a press release that was cosigned by fellow councilmen David Greenfield and Mark Treyger. “I’ve said repeatedly that Cavallaro is already busting at the seams and there is no need for an elementary school in this area.”

Among the schools that de Blasio to see co-locations are Coney Island Prep (the charter school) with Cavallaro Intermediate School I.S. 281, and Success Academy Charter School with Seth Low Intermediate School I.S. 96.

The initiative to co-locate public schools with charter schools was created during the Bloomberg administration and according to the press release cosigned by the councilmen, many were hopeful that the co-locations would be reversed.

“Many of us who are part of the public school system were hopeful that with a new administration, we’d see a real, meaningful change that responded to the needs of the community. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case, as both I.S. 96 and I.S. 281 are still slated for charter co-locations in September 2014,” members of  Community Education Council District 20 said in a statement.

Besides the harsh words, the education council announced that they will be holding a rally this Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Seth Low I.S. 96 (99 Avenue P) in an attempt to pressure the de Blasio administration to reverse their decision. If the co-location goes through, critics argue,  schools that already have a large student body will be forced to take on more students from the charter schools, resulting in overpopulation.

“I am extremely disappointed in the decision to allow the co-location of a charter school at I.S. 96 (the Seth Low School) that our district does not need or want,” Greenfield writes in the press release. “This co-location will come at the expense of the school’s dedicated staff and hard-working students. . . This proposal does not take into account the students’ needs or the impact this will clearly have on this important school.”

Joining the ranks of critics is Assemblyman William Colton – his area covers parts of Gravesend and Bath Beach – who calls for Cavallaro Intermediate School I.S. 281 and Seth Low I.S. 96 to not co-locate with charter schools. In a press release, he said he is “extremely disappointed that Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Farina did not reverse the decisions” to co-locate the two schools in Southern Brooklyn.

For his part, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz  is commending Mayor de Blasio and Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Farina for withdrawing the co-location plan for John Dewey High School (50 Avenue X), one of the nine locations the de Blasio administration offered a reprieve. Critics of charter schools want every school’s co-location to be withdrawn.

“I intend to work with my colleagues to fight this decision tooth and nail,” Greenfield said in the press release.

Correction: The original version of this article mistakenly identified the charter school to be co-located with I.S 96 Seth Low. The correct name of the charter school is Success Academy Charter School, and the post has been amended. We regret any confusion this may have caused.

Source: Old Shoe Woman/Flickr

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this week that he hopes to create an advisory board for the implementation of the controversial Common Core curriculum and stop standardized testing for children below third grade, drawing sighs of relief from local education activists who have been critical of the rollout.

“Any progress is great progress,” said Heather Ann Fiorica, the president of the District 21′s Community Education Council. “Now more people are talking about it because of Cuomo.”

Fiorica and CEC21 challenged the curriculum’s implementation during a meeting last week, passing a resolution asking the state to slow down the rollout, relieve the testing burden on special needs students and provide more training to teachers and faculty.

In response to the news, Fiorica, who is a parent herself, also said the idea of an advisory panel was promising since it would “bring more awareness” to legislators and politicians and convince them that Common Core needs a few speed bumps.

Common Core is a new curriculum being adopted across the nation, drawing criticism from parents and teachers. It relies on more rigorous standardized testing, and teachers in New York say they have not received proper training or been informed of materials on the test.

“I support the Common Core agenda,” Cuomo said during his budget presentation on Tuesday. “But the way the Common Core has been managed by the Board of Regents is flawed. There’s too much uncertainty, confusion and anxiety.”

A panel of advisers as Cuomo is now promoting would, presumably, take these things into consideration and recommend “corrective action,” as Cuomo put it, for the new curriculum.

State Senator Marty Golden is also applauding the governor’s plan to change the way Common Core is implemented, and adds that he wants to see an end to standardized testing of children below the third grade.

“I applaud and agree with the Governor’s decision to suspend testing from Kindergarten to 2nd grade, and I am glad to see the Board of Regents concurs,” Golden said in a press release. “The entirety of the Common Core Curriculum must be reviewed, but nevertheless, standardized testing for Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders is unnecessary.”

Cuomo said the advisory panel will issue a report before the end of Albany’s legislative session in June.

Source: Old Shoe Woman/Flickr

The Community Education Council of School District 21 (CEC21) is challenging the state’s testing and educational policies, voting this week to request the Department of Education ”re-evaluate and slow the implementation” of Common Core testing standards.

The council’s resolution argues that the tougher standardized testing requirements of the Common Core curriculum do not meet the individualized needs of students, and leave many students – especially those with special needs – in the dust.

“Each child is different and this approach is very cookie-cutter like,” said Heather Ann Fiorica, the president of CEC21.

They also say that the state bungled implementation, pushing it through too quickly without soliciting feedback or providing training.

Find out more about the issue, and read the resolution.

The public is invited to attend Community Education Council District 21’s (CEC 21) meeting today, January 15, at 7:00 p.m. at I.S. 98 Bay Academy, 1401 Emmons Avenue.

In addition to the public comment session, there will be a presentation by Change the Stakes, a group of parents and educators who are concerned with the effects high stakes-testing has on children and schools.

To learn more about CEC 21, call (718) 333-3885, email cec21@schools.nyc.gov, or visit CEC 21 on the web or on Facebook.

PS 222, 3301 Quentin Road (Source: Google Maps)

PS 222, 3301 Quentin Road (Source: Google Maps)

State Senator Marty Golden honored P.S. 222 (3301 Quentin Road) for its recognition as a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School winner. Brooklyn News is reporting that the school won for “Exemplary High Performing.”

The award is presented by the US Department of Education and was given out to 236 other public schools across the country this year. Officials from P.S. 222, including Principal Theresa Oliveri and former Principal Louise Blake, will be on hand for the ceremony in Washington D.C. in November.

Golden said he was proud to honor the Marine Park school in his remarks.

“It is an honor to represent such an outstanding school and I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the entire Public School 222 community on this honor.  Together, students, parents, teachers and administrators, have made this great honor possible.  This is a great day for School District 22 and a great day for Marine Park,” Golden said.

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan commented on prestigious nature of the award.

“National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education,” Duncan said.

Congratulations to P.S. 222 on the impressive honor.

Photo by Erica Sherman

Photo by Erica Sherman

Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulevard) was rewarded with millions of federal dollars today thanks to the efforts of Senator Charles Schumer. According to a press release, Schumer secured $3.8 million for the award-winning institution for the purposes of helping the college continue its mission to train students for the jobs of tomorrow.

This isn’t the first time that KCC has been on the winning end of a financial windfall. In March, we reported that the college was awarded $100,000 by the Aspen Institute after being named the one of the top three community colleges in the nation. The praise also came from the 2012 Digital Community Colleges Survey, which in October, named KCC as one of the top community colleges to implement technology.

Schumer’s release described where the grant money came from:

The grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program, which promotes skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and healthcare as well as science, technology, engineering and math careers through partnerships between training providers and local employers.

In his comments, Schumer reflected on the importance of funding institutions like KCC and Laguardia Community College, which also received $3.1 million:

“Training our young people today for the jobs of tomorrow will pave the path to keeping New York City at the top of the heap for generations to come. These grants are a game-changer for Kingsborough Community College and LaGuardia Community College because the funds will now provide much-needed career training programs for our New York City students,” said Schumer. “New York City’s Silicon Alley is in need of individuals who excel in math, science, engineering and technology and I am confident that this $7 million investment will be beneficial to New York’s economy and the future of these students.”

Sheepshead Bay Library

Sheepshead Bay Library

Congratulations are in order for the fine folks at the Sheepshead Bay Library (2636 East 14th Street) and the Kings Bay Library (3650 Nostrand Avenue) for receiving cash prizes from the Charles H. Revson Foundation as part of their first ever NYC Neighborhood Library Awards. According to a press release, Sheepshead Bay Library took home a top prize of $10,000, along with four other institutions, and Kings Bay Library brought back $5,000 for being considered as a finalist.

Earlier in the month, we reported on the nominations of Sheepshead Bay Library and Kings Bay Library, both selected by thousands of voters across the city to be finalists for the top prizes. The release described the voters participating and the qualities the foundation was looking for in their nominees:

The 4,310 nominations were cast from May 20th to July 1st by New Yorkers who identified themselves most frequently as parents, students, seniors, artists, teachers, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs. The nominations illuminated the libraries’ extraordinary dedication to serving their communities in a myriad of ways:

  • Library staff members make the library feel like a second home – often greeting patrons by name as they enter and making all visitors feel valued.
  • The libraries are highly attuned to the neighborhoods they serve – both in terms of the needs of residents (especially youth, seniors, and immigrants) and their cultures and languages.
  • Libraries are often the only source of books and Internet in a city where 36 percent of residents – including 75 percent of residents of the NYC Housing Authority – have no broadband Internet access at home.
  • The libraries play a crucial role as community centers – free and accessible to all; safe for children and for seniors; a crossroads for positive inter-generational, cross-racial, and cross-ethnic interactions. They also provide personal quiet space in a bustling city where housing is typically cramped.
  • They offer a remarkable range of programs and activities – from those traditionally associated with libraries (e.g., story time for children, arts and crafts, and book clubs) to programs addressing contemporary needs (e.g., computer classes, English as a Second Language, workforce development, and tax assistance) and offerings tailored to more specific community interests (e.g., a Russian poetry club, Spanish-language film screenings, senior acting clubs, Zumba classes, exercise classes for seniors, and even belly-dancing).
  • Many of those activities are potentially transformational: from preschool literacy, pre-GED training, resume-writing, and assistance with job searches to healthcare screenings, exercise classes, and citizenship test preparation.

Julie Sandorf, President of the Charles H. Revson Foundation, expressed the special roles these winning libraries play in their communities.

“These five libraries are truly outstanding and reflect the extraordinarily important role that neighborhood libraries play in communities all across the city. It was especially moving to see, throughout the entire selection process, the passion of the nominators and their gratitude for the often life-changing contributions of the neighborhood library,” Sandorf said in the release.

Brooklyn Public Library President Linda E. Johnson was grateful for the nominations and recognition of the Brooklyn-based institutions.

“Hundreds of thousands of Brooklynites depend on their neighborhood libraries for story times, homework help, computers, and access to books, DVDs and electronic resources. We are grateful to the Charles H. Revson Foundation not only for its generous donation to Brooklyn Public Library, but also for raising awareness about the many ways our libraries contribute to the well-being of their communities. Thank you to everyone who played a part in helping BPL win these awards, especially the staff of Sheepshead Bay, Macon and Kings Bay,” Johnson said in an email.

esl

The Shorefront YM-YWHA (3300 Coney Island Avenue) celebrated its 34th Annual Graduation Ceremony of the English language learning program last night, recognizing what they warmly referred to as “the accomplishments of our newest Americans.”

Established in the early 1950s, The Shorefront Y has been a community-based organization that offers widespread services — such as adult, education and vocational programs — to the very diverse population of Southern Brooklyn. In the latest graduating class, about 60 percent of the ESL graduates were of Eastern European descent, 30 percent were of Latino descent, and the remaining 10 percent were a mix of Middle Eastern, African and South Asian backgrounds.

“Over 1000 people a year come in for our services,” said Lawrence Fish, the director of Émigré, who was particularly vocal in highlighting all the hard work the graduates put in. “The ESL graduation is a combination of seven or eight classes from different sites, but everyone is gathered here at the Y today to celebrate.”

Fish, however, said that the statistics are slowly yet surely shifting, noting that as the population of Southern Brooklyn continues to diversify, so does the inside of their classrooms.

Approximately 40 students received certificates that recognized that they had attained the highest possible level of achievement within the English language program at The Shorefront Y, as 300 students and their family members were in attendance to honor the graduates and celebrate the end of the year.

The auditorium was decorated with blue and white balloons down the aisles, as seated family members clutched bouquets of flowers to give to their graduate after the ceremony, some waving a small flag of their home country throughout.

The graduation opened with “The Star-Spangled Banner,” with every member of the audience, on stage and off, standing straight, some mouthing the words. “God Bless America,” “This Land Is Your Land,” and “Hatikvah,” the national anthem of Israel, were some of the songs that followed.

After the singing of “This Land Is Your Land,” Fish made clear: “America—this land is your land. For you, for me, for everybody.”

Esteemed guests were in the audience to celebrate the achievements of the ESL graduates and give a few words of encouragement, including representatives from New York State Senator Diane J. Savino and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

The ceremony included group presentations from the classes as the audience clapped along, and later included a piano recital and some solo performances.

Later, some of the graduates, though shy, spoke openly in front of the crowd of hundreds and gave personal statements about their journeys towards learning English as a second language—and for some, a third—and what it meant to them to become American citizens. Freedom, bravery and justice were some of the common themes shared by each individual.

Susan Fox, the executive director of The Shorefront Y, spoke in admiration of the accomplishments of the graduates, and explained that learning English, especially as an adult, is no easy task, but the Y will always offer its services to help those achieve that goal, and build a tighter-knit community in the process.

“I can’t believe we’ve been doing this for 34 years,” Fox said. “But we’re hoping for another 34.”

Pictured In Photo: Annetta Lee, Natasha Naveed, Noel Aly, Lisa La Spina, Selma Albin, Janet Kennedy, Assistant Principal, Jeanne Fish, Principal, Cherie Lang, Hillary Stackpole, Dell Coe (Photo Courtesy of Hillary Stackpole)

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz awarded a special commendation to the staff of Gerritsen Beach’s P.S. 277 (2529 Gerritsen Avenue) in a ceremony last week.

According to a press release, the school’s Parent’s Association wanted to recognize the staff for their efforts in providing relief to the children and community of Gerritsen Beach following Superstorm Sandy. So they reached out to the beep and asked him to surprise the school’s team at a morning assembly, and he honored them for their terrific work providing comfort to the community kids.

Sheepshead Bites would also like to extend a salute and warm-hearted congratulations to the staff of P.S. 277 for all their excellent work throughout the trying days of Superstorm Sandy.

This is a paid announcement from the Hebrew Learning Academy Charter School, a public elementary school in Community District 22, 1340 East 29th Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11210.

HLA is now recruiting students for the 2013-14 Academic Year!

 

75 kindergarten spaces available with limited space
through fifth grade!

Hebrew Language Academy Charter School
 A Public Elementary School in Community District 22

 

located at 1340 East 29th Street • Brooklyn, NY 11210 • 718-377-7200

ALL ARE WELCOME!!

 

Apply for your child NOW!

  • Open Houses Scheduled every Tuesday!
  • HLA is a dual language public school with rigorous academic instruction in grades
  • Grades K through 5: Hebrew and English Language Instruction, Enriched Math for High Performing Students
  • Israeli Culture and History, Chess Instruction, Community Service
  • Two Teachers in Each Class
  • Extended School Day and School Year

IMPORTANT DATES!!

  • Application is due April 1, 2013
  • Lottery will be held on April 11, 2013
  • Opening Day for Students will be in August 2013

Please visit our website to download an application at WWW.HLACHARTERSCHOOL.ORG

APPLY TODAY!!

 

Hebrew Language Academy Charter School – A Public Elementary School in Community District 221340 East 29th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11210, (718) 377-7200

The above is a paid announcement by The Hebrew Language Academy Charter School. Sheepshead Bites has not verified the claims made in this advertisement. If you own a business and would like to announce a special offer to tens of thousands of locals, e-mail us at advertising [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

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