Proposals on the Table for PS/MS8 to Split: Community Meeting Tues 10/30

IMPORTANT SCHOOL NEWS: On October 12th, the DOE Brooklyn Office of District Planning issued two proposals that affect District 13. The first plan calls for the truncation of P.S.8 from a Kindergarten through-8th grade school to a Kindergarten through 5th grade school. The proposal has an accompanying K008 Educational Impact Statement. The second, contingent upon the first, asks to establish a new Middle School in place of M.S. 8.  The second proposal also has a corresponding K580 Educational Impact Statement.

HOW DID THIS COME ABOUT?:  While this news may come as a surprise to the public, it is not for the parents of current P.S. 8/M.S. 8 students. The topic of a “school split” has been under discussion both informally and formally within the school community prior to the departure of now retired Principal, Seth Phillips. In a recent communique to middle school parents the PTA Leadership explained, “after many school-wide conversations, our School Leadership Team (comprised of lower and middle school parents and teachers, as well as our principal)” informed the DOE in June 2018 of their support for the split citing “a variety of reasons including focus, funding, and vision.”

WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?: As a K-8 school, currently P.S.8 has one budget and one administration but is housed at two sites. The Lower School (referred to as K008) is located on Hicks Street (K-5) and the M.S. 8 Middle School (6-8) resides at the George Westinghouse High School building on Tech Place (referred to as K580). Per the DOE, “If both proposals are approved by the PEP [Panel for Education Policy], [a] beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, P.S. 8 will only serve students in grades K-5 in building K008 and will no longer serve students in grades 6-8 in K580 or exist as a middle school option. [b] If both proposals are approved, the new district middle school will open in the space previously occupied by [M.S. 8] in K580 and serve approximately 255-285 students in grades 6-8 beginning in the 2019-2020 school year.  

NEXT STEPS: First, there is an opportunity for families both immediately and directly impacted by these changes to have a conversation with the DOE’s Office of District Planning to have their specific questions answered at a Community Meeting on Tuesday.

What: Community Meeting
When: October 30, 2018
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Where: The George Westinghouse Campus Cafeteria, 105 Tech Place, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Additionally, two formal Joint Public Hearings are planned for mid November.  These meetings will offer an opportunity for public comments but not a direct Q&A with the DOE.

What: Joint Public Hearing
When: November 19, 2018

Time: 6:oo p.m.
Where: Building K580, 105 Tech Place, Brooklyn, NY 11201

What: Joint Public Hearing
When: November 20, 2018

Time: 6:00 p.m.
Where: P.S. 8 Lower School/Building K008, 37 Hicks Street, Brooklyn NY 11201

If you are not able to attend any of these scheduled meetings, you may provide written or oral comments via email at -OR- by calling DOE Office of District Planning’s, Will Candell at 212-374-0208.  Written and oral comment on these proposals will be accepted from October 11, 2018 through November 27, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

Finally, Panel for Education Policy (PEP) will vote on the proposals:

When: November 28, 2018
Time: 6:00 p.m.

Where: Long Island City High School, 14-30 Broadway, Astoria, NY 11106

Should the proposals be approved, a working group will be created to collaborate directly with the DOE’s Office of New Schools and the larger D13 community to craft the school’s vision and best practices on how to support and nurture that vision.

DISCLOSURE: SongBirdNYC is a P.S. 8 parent.

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  • Heights Guy 77

    Can someone with knowledge please explain the pros and cons to both sides? Thank you!!!

  • BHblogReader

    -More total funding for two schools as opposed to one.
    -The middle school, being in a separate building as it is, gets an administration and staff more directly focused on it.

    -The middle school loses the support and established infrastructure of a successful school.
    -The existing administration know they’re sticking with the lower school, not the middle school, and have checked out from giving their time and attention to the current middle schoolers.
    -The lack of vision or future in the middle school means teachers have been leaving in droves.
    -The new middle school has to start a new PTA from scratch, losing out on the shared resources of one of the most well-funded PTAs in the country.
    -The lower school students will no longer be guaranteed a seat at the middle school.

    If we’re calling a spade a spade, this is to benefit the lower school more, which is where the money has been. The current middle schoolers are getting screwed over in the transition and the incoming middle schoolers to whatever the new school will be have no idea what they’re even signing up for.