Parents Turned Activists Create Petition for Wait-Listed P.S. 8 Kindergartners

Parents of children both admitted for Kindergarten at P.S. 8 and those wait-listed for 2015 have joined together and launched a petition.  They urge the DOE to re-instate six Kindergarten classes for the fall of 2015 and to publicly engage the community to create meaningful medium and long-term solutions to overcrowding.

“Warnings to the community after the deadlines for other available options have passed do not constitute a plan.  The lack of transparency throughout the admissions process and the failure of the DOE to come up with a short-term strategy have shifted the burden to families.  The consequences are being shouldered by our children.  Parents are forced to make hasty decisions about the most important issue in their young children’s lives:  education.

Parents of zoned children born in 2010 have been left behind by the DOE. Fall 2014 Pre-K classes were eliminated at P.S. 8 and the sixth Kindergarten class was added.  Now, that sixth Kindergarten class has been cut for 2015.  Our children have been locked out not once, but TWICE.”

The petition can be found in its entirety on  The group also has a Facebook page.

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  • Lawrence

    A way the lottery was administered was fair. The need for it was neither for nor necessary. It still isn’t.

  • Concerned Parent

    Here are the facts about PS 8: THERE IS ROOM NEXT YEAR.

    There are 30 classrooms at PS 8. This year, there are 28 classes.

    Three classes of students will graduate, leaving 25 rooms.

    There are 134 1st graders going into 2nd grade, moving into second grade (assuming no attrition). This year, they have taken up six classrooms. Next year, they will take up five classrooms, ranging from 26-27 students each (the UFT allows up to 32 students in each class for 2nd grade). That leaves 24 rooms.

    There are 138 kindergarteners, moving into 1st grade (assuming no attrition). This year, they have taken up six classrooms (as the mandated UFT cap is 25 for kindergarten). Next year, they will take up 5 classrooms, ranging from 27-28 students each (the UFT allows up to 32 students in each class for the 1st grade). That leaves 23 rooms.

    23 rooms provides room for six kindergarten classes + one room left over for whatever the school decides.

    If you carry the math through the out years, the capacity holds up.

    There is room. Do the right thing.

  • Henry on Henry

    What you’re suggesting is wedge the these kindergartners in at the expense of the of all the other kids in the school.

  • Concerned Parent

    Wedge? No. Accommodate these children within existing constraints as smartly as we can? Yes. These are our children’s’ neighbors and friends. It’s suboptimal, but it beats kicking 25 4-year-olds to the curb. The DOE dealt us a bad hand, but now we need to deal with the hand we were dealt. I know, it stinks to have to make these choices, but I for one can live without an extra cluster enrichment room to give my kids the enrichment of standing by their community and their friends. I can live with 26 kids in a class rather than 23. Learning how to be a good person starts early. Let’s show our kids what we’re made of and stand by this group of parents so that they can stay together with their friends.

  • Henry in Henry

    The 4 year olds weren’t “kicked to the curb” as you put it. They are placed at another school. Can you live with 35 in a class? Because thats the solution you’re suggesting.

  • Concerned Parent

    Please reread my post. No classroom would have more than 28 students in a class. The decision-makers are absolutely letting down these kids (shipping them off to the foot of the Brooklyn Navy Yard when they live in Brooklyn Heights). It’s sad and feels cruel.

  • Guest

    As a second grade teacher, 32 students in a room is ridiculous. Private schools have 22 max, many have 18, and have an assistant or co-teacher. Each child has their own set of needs that a teacher must meet, 32 students is stretching the teacher way too thin. The quality of education you are seeking at PS 8 would be hindered if that were the case.
    What the DOE has done is unacceptable but I don’t think making such demands will garner a lot of support. I understand the anguish on those wait listed and hope that the DOE will come up with something.
    Brooklyn Friends planned a head and added an extra class that was built upon throughout the years knowing of the population increase that was headed to downtown Brooklyn. Of course the DOE was aware of this as well and did nothing to address the issue. I wonder if any legal action can be taken.

  • Henry on Henry

    Thats not sad, nor cruel. Cruel is beating your children. Cruel is killing their puppy. It’s not cruel to send kids to with a different racial make up than your own. The kids will be just fine going to 307. It’s the parents that have the problem with it.

  • Concerned Parent

    We live in NYC in 2015. Let’s keep our minds open and try to assess the situation without meanness or disparaging others who are trying to engage with civility to keep a community and children together. And without threatening harm to puppies.

  • DL

    Love it!

  • carrie

    In 2004, PS 8 had 300 students. The majority of the students were from Farragut. But a core group of parents from within the community and beyond took a chance on a failing school. They worked along side administration and teachers to help create the school it is today. They did this because PS 29 and PS 321 started turning away out of zone kids due to increased enrollment.

    I started working at PS 8 that same year and enrolled my own children. They were zoned for PS 58 – a school with a far better reputation, at the time. But I put them at 8. They didn’t go to school with their playground friends or neighbors but they made many new friends.

    That year, 2004, PS 8 was essentially what PS 307 is now. PS 307 was just awarded the same magnet grant. They are working with many of the same staff developers. A few teachers from PS 8 are working with their staff, as well. PS 307 is following the same framework that led to PS 8’s success, as are 3 other schools in Brooklyn.

    If the community supports the school, they’ll have the chance to help define its culture and direction, the same way 30 families helped create the PS 8 you know today. I took the same chance with my own kids and I have no regrets.

  • Guest

    Where you attend school matters. Parents aren’t spending over 35,000 a year for kindergarten just because it doesn’t matter. Those in failing schools aren’t desperately seeking charters schools because their kids are fine. As a public school teacher I have been in various settings and the school you are in matters. Public schools vary greatly and many factors are at play. If you are not in a community with an active parent body you don’t stand a chance, the DOE will have their way with your child’s education.

  • Mary

    I hear that PS 307 has its own strong community support and I wonder whether it’s patronizing to say that PS 307 needs families from the PS 8 zone to go and make it what PS 8 is today. I say that with all due respect because you and everyone else who had a hand in turning PS 8 around deserves all praise. And I thank you.

    Principal Davenport, now that she has the funding she needs, seems to be doing an incredible job turning the school around for the community where she grew up. She is a hero in a world short on heroes. I’m not arguing against your point, I’m genuinely curious why so many have the view that PS 307 needs PS 8 families to go and turn it around.

  • memeadjuster

    Properly assigning children to schools should not done based on “lotteries.”

  • Steve

    The families if 307 certainly don’t need our help but the idea of a partnership between the two schools is a good one. Ps8 has the experience of building up a school. Additionally, we could learn a lot from the families at 307.
    It’s a shame that this is being viewed as a negative and not as an opportunity to build a larger community.
    Wondering if perhaps the wait listed families concentrate on getting as many of their kids as possible to start at 307 this year.

  • carrie

    The intention of the magnet grant is to reduce minority group isolation and to help alleviate over crowding at PS 8 and several district 15 schools.

    It is not patronizing to say that PS 307 needs PS 8 families. That was the intent of the magnet grant – to shift the demographics of the school by creating a more racially and economically diverse population. Research has shown that diverse populations positively impact low income achievement.

    That is how 307 is like 8. PS 8 maintained its low income population while attracting mid and upper class parents. The starting point was the magnet grant, staff development and diverse parent support.

    It was not my intent to imply that somehow 307 needs to become a replica of 8. Rather that 307 has the potential to become as successful and in demand as PS 8. This is the starting point. Neighborhood parents should take advantage of this opportunity. It was truly a special time in PS 8’s history and hopefully will be the same for 307.

  • Mary

    Thank you for the explanation. The segregation in NYC schools is appalling and needs to be solved. I think if the community were meaningfully engaged in this endeavor, 307 could turn out to be a wonderful story. But there was absolutely no engagement and these parents rightfully feel they were sandbagged and a decision about where to educate their children forced on them. There has been a terrible lack of transparency and communication here.

  • Mary

    The parents are upset that they’ve been locked out of their zoned school and they’ve had very little time to process all of this. If they have trepidations about 307, it’s probably that the school is still in an early incubation period of its turn-around and we can’t ignore the elephant in the room – that the school is in a high crime area. One only needs to look at recent police data. They also have no idea how to get their children to the school. No one has said, for example, that DOE will provide a bus, etc. What they have heard from a small segment of the community is a lot of criticism for having concerns. (I don’t mean you personally.) A few commenters on this blog even imply they’re being racist. This obviously doesn’t help the dialogue.

  • Joe

    No. There are 30 classrooms, 3 of which, per DOE, should be designated for speciality classes (art, music, science, dance, drama …).

    So there are 27 classrooms useable for classes.

    I wish there would be a factual report on this blog or elsewhere about this situation. People read something here – 40% waitlisted! 30 classrooms! – and it gets repeated as fact.

    PS8 will have 79 5th graders leave this year and 125 kindergarten kids enter. Sorry. The math doesn’t allow for another class of K kids

  • Anon Guy

    While this entire situation is terrible, adding another Kindergarten class is not the right answer.
    Not only would it negatively impact the hundreds of current PS8 students suffering from the impact of severe overcrowding, it will impact future families trying to get into the school Few people would benefit and the majority will bear the brunt of severe overcrowding with a lessened educational experience.

  • D13Parent

    The lottery may not have been random or fair as you may think. Apparently, the lottery can be tweaked or weighted to achieve the DOEs desirable outcome.

    See article:

  • Joe

    Read it again. That’s a proposal, D13 parent. The lottery at 8 was fair, period.

    They do set-asides at charter schools and at 133 (which, btw, would have been my #2 if I had a kid applying to K this year. Perhaps my first choice. Surprised so few parents listed it).

    This proposal of having set-asides in d13 schools has been floating around for a while. As has the proposal to dezone all of d13, like d1. New York City remains the most segregated city school system in America. I applaud people looking at every possible solution.