Prodded by questions from the media in the wake of yesterday’s rally, Councilmember Letitia James surprised P.S. 9 parents early Friday morning by attending a planning meeting.
Tish, as she’s known, came to share her insights on the DOE process: to avoid the placement of a charter middle school in the building, P.S. 9 parents must offer an alternative middle school plan. D.O.E.’s data indicates that the building has room, and the DOE and Tish agree that District 13 needs more good middle schools. Tish encouraged Ms. D’Avilar and P.S. 9 parents to endorse a restructuring of upstairs neighbor M.S. 571, which faces a phase-out by the DOE.
Tish wasn’t the only surprise guest. Also attending was Trish Peterson, an instructional advisor from P.S. 9’s support network, CFN 306. Trish suggested that M.S. 571 could be transformed, with new leadership and staff, into P.S. 9’s upper school. It could adopt P.S. 9’s approach of schoolwide enrichment for all students. This new expanded P.S. 9 would offer something attractive for multiple parties:
•For P.S. 9’s community: a school in which we are invested, rather than a charter with its own agenda;
•For other District 13 elementary schools that follow the schoolwide enrichment model (P.S. 8, 11, 133): an attractive destination for their graduates;
•For the councilmember, the D.O.E. and others concerned about limited District 13 middle school options: a promising middle school.
Principal D’Avilar said this morning that, after further discussions, she is committed to transforming P.S. 9 into a PreK-8 school. She noted that expanding on the school’s successes is a much better solution — for the students, for the community, for P.S. 9’s future — than cramming three schools into the building.
Councilmember James has actively called for M.S. 571 to be given another chance, noting that D.O.E. has not followed its own regulations in deciding to close the school. She is scheduled to meet with D.O.E. Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg on January 20 to discuss the DOE’s plan. Yet on Friday morning, she said that she is open to endorsing P.S. 9's becoming a K-8 school. The councilmember helped arrange a $350,000 grant to create P.S. 9’s new library.
P.S. 9 parents, please let us know: would you be interested in sending your child to a P.S. 9 upper school? In your response, please also tell us your child’s current grade.
(Photo: Councilmember Letitia James)