As previously reported, the Office of District Planning introduced two proposals on October 12th to “split” P.S. 8 from M.S. 8. Currently, the schools are located at two sites but share a budget, Principal and other essential personnel and services. During testimony at two joint public hearings, the plans received praise from teachers, parents and administrators alike including now retired Principal, Seth Phillips and D13 CEC President, Ayanna Behin. The Panel for Education Policy (PEP) approved the plans in a unanimous vote on Wednesday night.
Effective Fall 2019, the change ostensibly divides the two-sited K-8 school into two independent entities. P.S. 8 (The Robert Fulton School) will continue under the leadership of current Principal, Trish Peterson and serve K-5 students. Also effective Fall 2019 but under new leadership, M.S. 8 (located at the Westinghouse Campus) will be known as K915 and serve grades 6-8.
The renaming affords the middle school its own budget, a dedicated Principal and Parent Coordinator and the flexibility to serve it’s population’s specific needs. The middle school will also expand to four classes for 6th grade and admissions priority for P.S. 8 students will end (with the exception of current P.S. 8 4th and 5th grade students).
The desire is for K915 to be a continuation and expansion of the “exploration” work currently happening at M.S. 8. Exploration is defined as a “two-week interdisciplinary [opportunity for students] to deeply study one essential question, and use the resources of New York City and their community to create and present culminating projects.”
In the coming weeks, a working group will be established to determine the vision and scope of the “new” school. This working group will liaise directly with the DOE’s Office of New Schools and other D13 stakeholders to carefully craft the school’s next steps.
EDIT: The new middle school was edited to reflect the correct name K915.
DISCLOSURE: SongBirdNYC is a P.S.8/M.S. 8 parent.