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September 22, 2015
How much does homelessness affect school performance? New York City aims to find out
The city will award a $100,000 contract to a research group to measure every school’s population of high-needs students and how that affects their performance.
January 16, 2015
Push for bilingual pre-K classrooms gains strength as city expands both programs
The city's dual-language programs are something of a citywide secret, though there is strong research on the educational power of those programs for young learners.
December 1, 2014
Partner groups will help 45 ‘community schools’ transform into service hubs
The city named 45 schools on Monday that will partner with 25 partner agencies, which will help the schools offer a host of new support services for students and their families.
November 9, 2012
Teachers find speedy post-Sandy support on DonorsChoose
The basement at P.S. 15 in Red Hook was flooded with between five and seven feet of water during Hurricane Sandy, staff said. Teachers across the city and region are turning to DonorsChoose, a website that allows educators to solicit funds for small-scale projects, to get their classrooms righted after Hurricane Sandy. The site set up a dedicated page featuring only projects from schools affected by the powerful storm and so far, according to DonorsChoose's current statistics, individual donors have given more than $50,000 to projects that will reach more than 19,000 students. The quick pace of donations means that many projects are completed very soon after they are posted, giving schools an immediate boost at a time when goodwill is running high but coordination to deliver donated supplies to where they are most needed is only now being established. In one remarkable example, a science teacher at Brooklyn International High School raised $1,080 from a single donor after explaining how his students' science materials were destroyed when the school building lost power. "Unfortunately, our school cannot afford to replace the several thousands of dollars in chemicals and restriction enzymes we lost due to Sandy," he wrote. Other city teachers have gotten money to buy toys for students at P.S. 15 in Red Hook, which was flooded and has been relocated; give supplies to colleagues at a newly co-located school; replace graphing calculators for students at Staten Island's New Dorp High School. Some projects to help city schools still need funding.
November 6, 2012
Red Hook principals scramble to find space for damaged school
Teachers from the Red Hook Neighborhood School meet in the school's library during an Election Day professional development session. Principal Rochel Brown hadn't slept much since Friday, when she and her teachers began assessing the toll Hurricane Sandy took on the Red Hook Neighborhood School's community. The news she received then was grim: Several teachers lost their homes and cars in the storm, which was particularly devastating to Staten Island and Brooklyn's waterfront neighborhoods, where many teachers from her school live. And many more families were unreachable because of power outages in the area. To top it off, she and Shahara Jackson, principal of the Summit Academy Charter School, which shares the Huntington Avenue school building with the Neighborhood School, learned they would need to make room for another school—P.S. 15, a Red Hook school so damaged by the storm that it cannot reopen yet—by Wednesday, when its students and teachers will be temporarily relocated. Brown told reporters this afternoon that she is managing "as smoothly as possible," given the circumstances. The other principals nodded in agreement.
November 5, 2012
Officials stand in shut schoolhouse doors to usher families away
District 15 Superintendent Anita Skop waited outside of the temporarily shuttered P.S. 15 in Red Hook this morning in case parents and students showed up. None did, she said. District 15 Superintendent Anita Skop spent four hours this morning huddled in her car outside of P.S. 15 in Red Hook. Her mission: to send away any families who brought their children to the school. P.S. 15 is one of 57 schools so damaged by Hurricane Sandy that they cannot reopen this week in their own buildings. It is set to reopen on Wednesday at the P.S. 27 building, half a mile away. In addition to the schools that will open in other buildings on Wednesday, 16 schools remained closed today because their buildings are still being used as shelters and 29 were shut because they still did not have power. For all 102 schools, the city has gone to extensive lengths to inform students and families to stay away today.
November 2, 2012
In battered Red Hook, teachers struggle to connect with families
Julie Cavanagh and her husband prepare to pass out supplies to Red Hook residents affected by the storm. City teachers were told to stay home from school this week until today because of damages and disruption wrought by Hurricane Sandy. But staff working in one of the city's worst-hit areas showed up anyway. A group of teachers and aides from P.S. 15 in Red Hook met on Wednesday, just a day after the storm ended, hoping to distribute supplies to residents from the nearby Red Hook Houses, a sprawling campus of public housing where many of the school's students live. "P.S. 15 has always kind of been a hub for the community and in the absence of that hub, we wanted to try and do something," said Julie Cavanagh, a special education teacher who invited families via email to meet at the school on Wednesday afternoon. Cavanagh bought $200 worth of supplies — water, food, batteries, and even som Halloween candy — at Costco that morning, and said her plan was to give it away at the school, which was also badly damaged from the storm that flooded the rest of the neighborhood on Monday night. But few people showed up at the scheduled meeting time on Wednesday. Some families had likely evacuated, and Cavanagh said she knew of some co-workers and families who stayed put but weren't able to receive calls or emails.
August 3, 2010
State overturns one charter space-sharing plan, upholds another
The city must start over its controversial plan to let a Lower East Side charter school expand in city space but may proceed with another, the state education department ruled yesterday. State Education Commissioner David Steiner threw out the city's plan to allow Girls Prep Charter School to expand its middle school grades in the building it shares with two district schools, ruling that the city did not properly report the plan's impact on disabled students who attend school in the building. But in a separate ruling, Steiner argued that the city did provide enough information about its plan to let Brooklyn's PAVE Academy Charter School expand in the building it currently shares with P.S. 15. Both plans have prompted bitter space battles this year between the charter schools and teachers and parents at the district schools who share the buildings. Both charters want to expand the number of grades they serve; opponents of the expansion argue that the plans would squeeze the students at the district schools in the building.
April 21, 2010
National school building group criticizes NYC charter space plan
The head of a national advocacy group for improving school facilities is warning that a Brooklyn school building cannot support a charter school expansion plan that the citywide school board approved last night. Mary Filardo, executive director of the 21st Century Schools Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that helps both district and charter schools plan their building space, composed a report on how space is used at Brooklyn's P.S. 15. The elementary school shares space with PAVE Academy Charter School, which will expand in the building while it awaits construction of its own private building. Filardo's report, prepared at the request of New York's Campaign for Fiscal Equity, was submitted as testimony against the city's plan at last night's Panel for Educational Policy meeting. "My overall impression is that even following the most optimal collaborative planning process and support from [the Department of Education], it will not be possible for PS 15 to support the continued expansion of PAVE per the DOE proposal," Filardo writes. At the most, Filardo estimates that P.S. 15 could give up one full classroom and one half-sized classroom without harm. But the city's plan requires much more: it will allocate an additional five full-size classrooms and three resource rooms to PAVE over the next three years.
February 26, 2010
P.S. 15 parents ask Steiner to intervene in charter siting dispute
Two parents at a Brooklyn district school who have strongly resisted the city's plan to let a charter school extend its stay in the district school building are appealing to State Education Commissioner David Steiner to halt the plan. The parents, John Battis and Lydia Bellahcene, allege that the city of violating state education law in its plan to allow PAVE Academy charter school remain in the same building as P.S. 15 until 2013. The citywide school board voted to approve that plan in its January meeting.
November 19, 2009
DOE switches course on process for PAVE extension request
Responding to protests that it was breaking the new mayoral control law, the Department of Education will hold a public hearing before extending PAVE Academy Charter School's stay inside a district-owned building. The law passed this summer requires the DOE to issue an "educational impact statement" and hold a public hearing on any proposed changes to the way school building space is used, and then to put changes to a vote before the city-wide Panel for Educational Policy. Last month, DOE officials notified the principals of Red Hook's PAVE Academy and P.S. 15 that the charter school would remain in the P.S. 15 building, even though PAVE originally agreed to leave the building at the end of this school year. At the time, DOE spokeswoman Ann Forte said that there was no need to follow the new rules since a hearing had been held before the charter school moved into the building two years ago. But after protests from the district's Community Education Council members, DOE officials said this week they will follow the new procedure after all.
October 19, 2009
PAVE Academy Charter to continue sharing space with P.S. 15
The Department of Education has notified the principals of a Red Hook charter and district school that they will continue to share a building until the charter school secures its own private facility. In a letter to the principals of PAVE Academy Charter School and P.S. 15, the interim director of the DOE's Office of Portfolio Planning, Debra Kurshan, writes that the department has determined that both schools can successfully co-exist in the Red Hook building through the 2010-2011 school year. The schools' original space-sharing agreement specified that PAVE would move into its own facility after this school year. But the charter school requested a two-year extension to allow its founders more time to build their own building, prompting an emotionally-heated debate over how the schools use their space.
September 18, 2009
Red Hook charter paves way out of P.S. 15, but can't say when
A packed crowd gathered for a District 15 CEC meeting to discuss the space-sharing arrangement between P.S. 15 and PAVE Academy Charter School. The founder of a Brooklyn charter school locked in a battle for space with a district school announced yesterday that the school has signed a contract for its own building site. But Spencer Robertson, founder of the PAVE Academy Charter School, declined to reveal the new location. Nor would he give a date for when the school would move there, instead re-iterating his request for a two-year extension to the school's contentious site-sharing agreement with P.S. 15 in Red Hook. "We will be out," Robertson told a standing-room-only crowd in the auditorium of P.S. 15. "When?" shouted audience members. The exchange came during an emotional District 15 CEC meeting to which charter school advocates and critics mobilized their most vocal allies. Audience members interrupted speakers, and those who approached the microphone seemed to compete over who could drown out the other groups’ claims.
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