Archive for the tag 'is 14'

Students make t-shirts to celebrate Ocean Week.

Students of Shell Bank Junior High School (I.S. 14) concluded the second annual Ocean Week celebration, capping the five day event with a marine biology festival on Friday.

This event was created to give students at the Bay-area school at 2424 Batchelder Street a more interactive way of learning about marine animals and habitats and their role in our lives. The festival, which also focused on recycling and preservation, was full of kids working together on many fun activities, including t-shirt screen printing using fish fossils, a refreshments stand with recycling incentives, sand and spin art, alongside a bunch of amusements.

“It’s a celebration of our whole school, it’s a celebration of our academies, we have three separate academies,” said Vice Principal Teri Ahearn. “It’s a really wonderful thing … [the students] really do deserve to be showcased and rewarded for the hard work that they’ve done all year.”

Keep reading about the event, and view a photo gallery.

Brooklyn Dreams Charter School hearing at Shell Bank J.H.S. in Sheepshead Bay
(Photo by Daniel Cavanagh)

Last night’s hearing on the Brooklyn Dreams Charter School went much as expected: an unremarkable turnout of local and citywide charter opponents, with a smattering – an itsy, bitsy smattering – of advocates. To say the least, the opposition – though equally impassioned in their rhetoric – paled in comparison to the attendance at the Hebrew Language Academy hearing at Marine Park J.H.S.

The most compelling news of the night came from BDCS officials, who continued to reassure attendees that the school had no intention of seeking space carved from existing public schools. In fact, they informed, they’ve found a location at 269 Parkville Avenue (see map), near Ocean Parkway just north of Avenue H. One of the schools representatives added, “We are not looking to move into a public school. I don’t even believe in that. I think that’s wrong.”

In the stifling heat of the Shell Bank J.H.S. auditorium, the news did little to soothe opponents, who early on were reminded by SUNY Charter School Institute officials that the “final decision [on BDCS] rests with SUNY” and is not a direct result of the sentiments shared at the hearing.

And sentiments they did share. Opposition at the meeting was concentrated mainly on three points:

  1. District 22 is an exemplary district and so a charter school is superfluous
  2. Charters shave off good students and needed funds, thus threatening the district’s success
  3. BDCS, like other charters, is not a unionized school

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Councilman Lew Fidler is bristling at Brooklyn Dreams Charter School’s push into our ‘hood. Though he’s against charter schools in general, he’s particularly angered about the latest attempts to infiltrate our own District 22.

“We don’t want it, we don’t need it, and our schools down here don’t merit it,” he told Sheepshead Bites over the phone.

And like many in the community, Fidler fears an attempted invasion of public educational facilities by Brooklyn Dreams – a la Hebrew Language Academy/Marine Park J.H.S – despite promises from officials to find their own space.

“The problem with that is that’s what we heard from HLA when they were in the charter process,” he said. He also shook a finger at the decision to schedule summer hearings, when many parents are away on vacation, and the school’s attempts to move into other districts in search of the path of least resistance. “Somehow they don’t imagine that the opposition to a charter school would be just as consistent here?”

As a member of the education committee and chair of the youth services committee in the City Council, Fidler has had behind-the-scenes access to the citywide charter schools debate. What he has seen has made him a decided – and influential – opponent to charter schools.

“I think that the charter system creates a two-tier system of public schools,” he said. “They ought to pay more time and energy in public schools that need to be improved rather than creating a second tier of schools, and the argument that charters perform better than public is based on misleading and distorted facts.”

Charter schools are often hailed by proponents as a better alternative to public schools, and they use performance statistics as their main argument. But Fidler says the argument for better performance is based on faulty premises.

Because of the charter application process and the structure of the schools, he says, the schools inherently have smaller class sizes and high parental involvement (since schools must be sought out and applied to). Statistically, he adds, charters take fewer ESL and special education students, which obviously provide a greater educational challenge.

“It’s comparing apples to bananas,” he said. “If you factor out those four things, charter schools are not better than public schools.” Public schools stand to benefit more if the money is kept in the system and more attention is spent on reducing class size and increasing parental involvement.

Fidler will be at the Brooklyn Dreams Charter School hearing at Shell Bank J.H.S. on July 16th. Be sure to stop by and voice your opinion.

A number of innaccuracies have been running rampant on this site and other news outlets about the Brooklyn Dreams Charter School (BDCS) we reported on yesterday, so we got in touch with officials who are involved in the application process to find out what’s really going on behind the curtains. Firstly, we heard that the school is not seeking Shell Bank Junior High School (I.S. 14) – or any other public school facility – as a location. Secondly, we found that the school may not be run by the National Heritage Academies, a religious group that reportedly teaches Creationism as scientific theory.

The information we reported yesterday was cited from Education Notes Online blog, the NY Daily News, and (and again). It was reported that there will be a public hearing to determine whether the Brooklyn Dreams Charter School will use Shell Bank J.H.S. as their own school building. That information is incorrect, though there will be a public meeting at Shell Bank about the charter school.

We also received an inaccurate reader comment stating that the July 16 meeting was canceled. As of today, the meeting for July 16 is still scheduled, but it is not a meeting to discuss the use of Shell Bank J.H.S. facilities for the BDCS. The meeting is part of the official application procedure that all prospective charter schools need to go through when seeking to operate as a school.

Officials overseeing the application process for the school told us that the BDCS is not planning on using public school facilities at Shell Bank J.H.S. or any other in any district. In the application details and executive summary we received in a pdf file from the NYC Department of Education Chancellor’s office, the BDCS stated, “The founding group anticipates leasing renovated space for the school through NHA in CSD 21, and do not intend to seek space through the New York City Department of Education.” Continue Reading »

shellbank jhs 2
(Image courtesy of the NYC Department of Education website)

UPDATE: Please see our post dated July 8, 2009 for an update about the meeting agenda: Brooklyn Dreams Charter School Not Seeking Public Space

Education Notes Online, a blog dedicated to issues in public education, reports that the Brooklyn Dreams Charter School is looking to set up shop at Shellbank Junior High School (J.H.S. 14).

The Brooklyn Dreams Charter School has managed to stay just under the controversy radar, compared to the Hebrew Language Academy Charter School (HLA), when it tried to take over classroom space at the Marine Park Junior High School (J.H.S. 278). It seemed as if every parent in the district showed up at the HLA public hearing. With so many area residents voicing their outrage at the HLA’s planned invasion, the Department of Education (NYC DOE) had no choice but to ask the charter school to find a different building.

Now, the Brooklyn Dreams Charter School is threatening to move in on Shell Bank when parents and school children are on summer vacation. One commenter to the article on Education Notes Online says:

I have every intention of attending this meeting but I doubt that the hordes that attended the I.S. 278 hearing will appear here. The DOE very sneakily planned it for a time when many families are on vacation or otherwise occupied.

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