Open Thread Wednesday

Claude’s on vacay,
but it’s still Wednesday.
What’s on your mind?
Comment away!

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  • Remsen St Strollin

    No Sixth K class at PS 8; it is almost certain no one from the wait list will get in. They will start the school year with four of five kindergarten classes above size limits allowed by the teachers union rather than adding the sixth class. Frankly it really didn’t seem like the school was that proactive about trying to find a viable solution for the waitlisted people, and in any event was terrible about communicating with parents (don’t think I had a single phone call or email returned by the parent coordinator). Pretty disappointing.

  • Andrew Porter

    There were a lot of people on the Promenade, watching the eclipse Monday; here’s one of my photos, showing a guy with a binocular using it to cast an image on a sheet of paper:
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/668593cc31a6d2140bac2c4d7657d0f315ede4179cb20ed59fabfa9e376e6e4a.jpg

  • Andrew Porter
  • Andrew Porter

    Here’s this week’s Old BH postcard: the Lawyer’s Title Insurance Company Building on Montague Street:
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/334664aff0124685a61855042a4a6ea79aa4c0311866b5965477b46ebd951a02.jpg

  • Banet

    Is that official?

  • Banet

    1. How can they have classes larger than the union allows?

    2. I would definitely be vocal to the new principal about not getting responses from the parent coordinator. That’s their job — especially over the summer. Even if they have no new go you they should say as much.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    This is strictly word of mouth but I heard that one of the kindergarten teachers quite somewhat last-minute, surely (if true) further complicating an already out of control situation. Hopefully everyone on the waitlist has a plan B lined up.

  • School Teacher

    As a teacher I have always had a few kids each year not show up, then waitlist students are offered seats. It’s not an ideal situation as it takes weeks of being a no show before a student is officially removed from the class. Then the seat is offered to waitlist student who is unfortunately the “new” kid in the class. There will be some movement after school starts but not likely for all.
    It’s an awful situation and I only see it getting worse each year. What a stressful situation to go through. Are there good plan B options available in the neighborhood?

  • MsHicks

    Speaking as another waitlisted family at PS 8, I have to echo my frustration on the seemingly powerlessness the school has on making any logical decisions. Everything seems to be in the hands of the DOE and I’m not sure how hard the school advocated for that 6th class. When the waitlist began months ago, is when the campaign for the 6th class should have begun…not 2 weeks before school starts. Of course, all of the families on the waitlist have a Plan B but all come at a sacrifice (distance, cost, etc). We’re part of the Brooklyn Heights community and our children our not able to attend school with their neighbors and former classmates.

  • Concerned Neighbor

    Can’t they use trailers for the cluster classes? I think that’s what PS 321 does and they have around 11 classes per grade with no waitlist. When we looked at a property in the 321 school zone the broker told us she was under an obligation to inform us that there was no guarantee of getting into 321. Maybe the brokers here should have the same obligation.
    It seems in the best interest of the neighborhood to add the extra class. Even if the other schools in the district were equal to PS 8 the distance is too far for those living in Brooklyn Heights.

  • SongBirdNYC

    I advocated with wait listed families two years ago and wrote extensively about it for the blog. In no particular order, here are a few things I learned (from having attended countless CEC and PTA meetings) along the way about what I know is a frustrating and difficult situation.

    First, to clarify, this year adding
    the sixth Kindergarten class was never going to clear the waitlist. The DOE Office of K Admissions over-offered and close to 150 families registered their kids. Will ALL of these families send their children to PS8? No. But if they registered the school must accept them. That means that if they were to add a class then it would be for kids who are already registered, not the waitlist. If they aren’t offering the sixth class then the numbers dropped over the summer.

    As an aside, families are notoriously bad about notifying the school that their kids are going elsewhere. So there may be a few kids who drop out before school starts or even the first week but that does not mean that there will be spaces if the school is still over enrolled. There is definitely attrition in first grade.

    Second, the maximum capacity for the building as determined by the DOE’s Dept of Space Planning (Tom Taratko and the Superintendent (Barbara Freeman), not the Principal, is five classes of 25. 25 is the UFT limit, UNLESS it is the ICT class that has 2 teachers. Then, they can have more than 25 kids in the
    classroom. Upper limit for grades 1-5 is 32 kids. So, the school MAY have more than 125 kids in Kindergarten but it is only because they can fit a few extra in the ICT class.

    Also, please understand the Parent Coordinator is just a messenger and does not have the authority to share information about enrollment until the DOE allows them to share it. This is likely based on the fact that the registration numbers remain fluid throughout the summer and are not considered closed until October 31st. Yes, OCTOBER.

    Regarding trailers: the school would literally have no playground if they were to put trailers on the premises. This suggestion was rejected outright by both the school community and the DOE two years ago. It is not feasible to put them on the street either.
    Happy to give my opinion based on my experience if anyone has questions. I know this is disappointing. But the reality is that waitlists are the new normal for PS8. And until “capacity” at nearby schools like 307 are utilized by our community the DOE Office of District Planning or School Construction Authority are not eager to build a new elementary school for Brooklyn Heights.

  • Cranberry Beret

    Thanks for the informed reply. While I’m sympathetic to the frustrations expressed here by waitlist parents, it’s neither realistic nor fair to the all the other kids in the school to just cram in a 6th kindergarten class into a building already above capacity.

  • School Teacher

    Even with an ICT class the size is suppose to meet the standard class size.
    From the union site
    What are the class size limits for a collaborative team teaching class?

    Collaborative Team Teaching is now referred to as Integrated Co-Teaching. The number of students with disabilities in an Integrated Co-Teaching class may not exceed 40 percent of the total class register with a maximum of 12 students with disabilities. The class as a whole must adhere to general education class size limits.

  • MsHicks

    I will interpret this is as an insensitive joke. Not EVERYONE in the Heights can afford private school at $40K+. And this will shock you even more, those same people who can’t afford private school, are the same ones who are working…thus home schooling is not an option.

  • AbeLincoln

    Oh calm down WUSA. You sound insane.

  • SongBirdNYC

    Please don’t reply to this user. They are a troll.

  • SongBirdNYC

    To be clear, I was not advocating for the addition of a sixth class. I was imparting hard-learned lessons that came out of previous advocacy. There is a steep learning curve for incoming parents. It is difficult to know what departments within the DOE are responsible for what vs. the decisions the school is able to make for itself. Solutions that seem logical (like adding a sixth class or trailers) one learns in time are actually not realistic. Furthermore, it is virtually impossible to know JUST how crowded the school really is-or how it functions until one has a child that attends it.

    But also, parents need to understand the bigger picture of District 13. That knowledge can only be gained by attending D13 CEC meetings following the PS8 website about overcrowding, reading education reporting (like Chalkbeat, etc) to get greater context. Only then can parents advocate and ask for realistic solutions.

  • MsHicks

    Yes, I am with you. I wasn’t naive to the challenges of the schools and appreciate your thorough response to the issue! We knew this day was coming…the school just cannot accommodate the demand which is not their fault but frustrurating all the same.

  • MsHicks

    You are making a lot of false assumptions about the lifestyle we’re “ALL” living. But with that attitude, your wish will come true and 100% of NYC will be the 1% because working families will not be able to live here anymore. Ironically, your frustration is similar to mine but I am not assuming EVERYONE is rich…I am expressing my opinion that our Public Schools should be able to serve ALL children (especially poor and middle class who cannot afford private school). W

  • StudioBrooklyn

    As SongBirdNYC said, WUSA is a known entity and it’s best not to engage him on subjects that do not comprise “vintage American automobiles”. Here’s an article about him from nine years ago, you can Google “Jeffrey Smith Brooklyn Heights” for more if you’re interested: http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/30169

  • Andrew Porter

    You can vote down, not just up, their comments, as I have.

  • Andrew Porter

    I have flagged this comment to Disqus as targeted harassment.

  • WUSA

    Of all the ugly, uncalled for behaviors, YOUR behavior is at times, top of the list, when you are not terming ANY out-of-your comfortable political/social thinking insensitive you are using the R word or you are howling you are being target in some way. This is exactly why you lost LICH because of the nonsymathy your PC nonsense generates….

  • WUSA

    No, I’m simply saying that a very significant portion of the elemets in the Heights I know and speak to certainly ARE living the Yup lifestyle where they want their personal spending AND dont want to make the sacrifices which would then easily allow for really good private education. They want their lifestyle and THEN they want the NYC taxpayers to pay for their kid’s education. Sure, “they want it all” all right and frankly, I’m tired of paying for it….

  • WUSA

    Studio Brooklyn along with the departed founder of this blog are classic examples of the poison of PC and how it can be used to try to suppress even the most reasonable unwanted by the establishment thought or expression. I knew wen I spoke up that somewhere along the line some unthinking or disingenuous entity would use the R word to attack the bearer of uncomfortable reality. Problem is,…like shouting any falsehood too many times, it doesn’t work anymore…

  • Andrew Porter

  • MsHicks

    Yikes! I will not engage any further with him. Thanks for the info.

  • WUSA

    This is a classic example of treat the minutia and keep PC blind eye to the situation and the total overall reality NYC public school kids are captive in. And the inability of thinking even a little out of the PC approved channels. For example; Why is it that the great majority of children in PS 8 aren’t Heights kids? Is our local school. Look at the taxes we’re paying…so, if we’re paying the lion’s share of taxes in basic fairness shouldn’t the tax Payers receive first and majority access to the school we pay for? Why isn’t that basic fairness? The majority of the kids in P.S. 8 should be from the Heights….

  • WUSA

    It’s very interesting whenever the gaggle of a well you can judge, can’t a
    answer a serious well based counterpoint they verbally assault the non PC submission and when that doesn’t work, they just censor the source….very typical of this crowd.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Let’s get a few things straight, Jeff: first of all, there are only one or two moderators who can actually delete your comments, so you should snivel to them about being censored, not everyone else. Nobody cares.

    Second, declaring your sloppily scrawled incendiary drivel “a serious well based counterpoint” does not simply make it so. You want to have a conversation? Get back on your meds and join one, instead of simply barking nonsense. Those who know who you rightfully see you as little more than the sum of your miserable little puddle of impotence. A local loser. This is a reputation you continue to work hard to maintain, and you seem content to do so.

    So stop whining.

    See you on the sidewalk.