Voices from Parents at Closing Schools
Yesterday the PEP voted to close 10 schools across the city. Tomorrow, they will vote to close 12 more schools. Below, parents from two of those schools write about why their school should remain open.
by Chrisanna Thomas, parent from MS 571
The Department of Education under the guidance of Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Black, has a plan to destroy, eliminate NYC Public Schools and shirk their responsibilities to our children.
I’m the parent of a 7th grader who attends MS 571, one of the schools slated for closure. This was never a proposal, this was a done deal from the start. When the 2009-2010 progress report was received, it stated that the school received a D grade. On page 2 of the report it states that schools that receive D’s F’s or C’s for three years in a row are evaluated to determine the reasons for their “poor” performance and provided with intensive support so they can improve. Where has the support for this school been? We were provided with a mentor, attendance improved and as soon as the “proposal” was announced the mentor was pulled. We got none of the leadership support, mentoring and training that was talked about in the “fact” sheet. Where was the professional development, working with the principal, developing training plans, finding patterns and trends in sub-groups of students? Where was the solution for the many things that were identified by the DOE as not working? There was no solution.
This school has received a rating of proficient on the Quality Review for the past three years. Last year we received a D on our report card. The two prior years were both B years. Why is 571 not getting intensive support to see if it can turn around? What supports will the new charter school get that the DOE is not providing? When you tell my son that a new school is better than the school that he is in, we are telling our kids that they and their schools are not worth the same thing. That reflects poorly on the DOE, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Black. YOU get the F grades. You are all failures in my book! I am doing what you state at the very bottom of that Progress Report, I am holding the DOE and its schools accountable for student achievement and improvement and for ensuring a high quality education for every student in NYC’s public schools! Where is the accountability for you?
By Diana Surita, Parent at PS 102
I am a parent of a second grader who attends P.S 102 in the Bronx. My son Nene Cifuentes is a special needs student at P.S. 102. Nene was born with a mild case of Spastic Cerebral Palsy that affects his entire right side of his body. Nene has been attending P.S 102 since Kindergarten. At first I was concerned about Nene attending 102, due to his special needs. I was not sure if the school could handle having him as a student. Not only has the school proved me wrong they have become our second family. Nene has learned how to play the violin at the age of 6 because he attended the Arts Academy that was an after school program for two years at P.S. 102, he also learned how to paint and has a beautiful portrait in my living room. Unfortunately the Arts Academy was not able to come back to the school this semester due to lack of funding for the program.
In July of 2010 Nene had surgery on his right foot and was in a cast for eight weeks. When the school semester began Nene was still not able to walk without the assistance of his wheelchair and walker. With the support from his teacher Mrs. Annette Pardi and his para Ms. Ithia Nene’s everyday struggle became an inspirational journey. Not only can my son walk without the aide of his wheelchair or walker but his progress has been amazing. This is due to the assistance from his Physical and Occupational therapy that is offered at the school. Nene is able to read a newspaper and understand what the article is about. My son’s progress is due to the hard work of his teacher Mrs. Pardi. My son spends between 7-9 hours a day with Mrs. Pardi. Her dedication and hard work has reflected on how well my son is doing. P.S. 102 as well as Nene teacher and paraprofesional are our second family. I have lived in my community for twelve years and I have seen generations attend P.S. 102 and are successful. The DOE has put our school on the list to close without caring about the effect this will have on our community. The DOE states that phasing out the school is a better choice because two more schools will be replacing P.S. 102.
I am angry that we are not being given the proper resources to help keep our school open, which would be more economical and the best option. The DOE has the nerve to state the school is failing our children. As a parent, the DOE is failing our children and until they give our school a second chance and prove to me that they have given our school that second chance, then phasing out our school is an injustice!