The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Parents of Pre-K & K kids. Don't Freak!

The below message came from Kelly Bare, a phenomenal force of nature who, with principal Sandra Soto, seriously turned PS705 (on Classon north of EP) into the little school that could (my eldest attended pre-k there and it was terrific). She also managed to bring the school into the growing public school diversity movement, whereby schools commit to keeping 40% of their seats open for low-income families, even as they gentrify. Anything she says can be believed; honest.

All that to say, please read her note with the highest recommendation I can muster. If you have a child going into pre-K or K (or any grade for that matter), please don't count out your local school options! If like many of us you are zoned for PS375, for instance, there is a terrific new principal there willing to work to make her school more amendable and welcoming to ALL parents, without losing some of the good stuff that's already there. Take a tour; visit PS375 (the Jackie Robinson School) DOE website for contact info. Don't be put off that they don't have a fancy website yet - you could be the parent that spearheads that initiative! I'm telling you there is nothing like the feeling of being part of a school community and bringing your skills and ideas to the table. (Though I've learned along the way that you must must must be respectful of the community that has paved the way and make sure you don't come across like a change-the-school-warrior. Everybody gains when you listen and work together. Who knew, right?) We've got two kids at PS38 right now, fyi. We may have missed the chance to be part of the changes at PS375, but you can do it and be proud you made it a more diverse place, hopefully benefiting all the children (or more importantly, all the parents!)

By the way, I met with the new principal at PS375 Schwanna Ellman and she seems like the right leader for the right moment.

I'm looking for families with kids of any age who either have kids at PS 241 or are curious about what attending PS 241 would be like, whether that's because it's your zoned school or just because it's within walking/scooting/easy subway distance for you.

I'm a parent at PS 705/Brooklyn Arts and Science and I am working with our principal, the fabulous Sandra Soto, to help other D17 parents forge similar partnerships. 

A colleague of mine with a rising Kindergartner has toured 241 and is interested in the school, and looking for others who might be interested, as well, for this fall, and beyond. You can reach her at janet.paskin at gmail, and reach me at  kellybare @ yahoo.

On a similar note, we're also looking for families zoned for PS 375. Give a shout if that's you!


(Mom to D/7 + L/4)


Anonymous said...

A quick look tells me that 25% of PS 375 kids met Statewide math standards, and 11% met Statewide English standards.
The NYC School rating system tries to skew ratings of academically dismal schools upward by weighting such intangibles as "leadership" and "cooperative" environment.
I appreciate that one may want to help a failing school, but things like a "cooperative environment" don't quite replace in my book, and I think for most parents, the fundamentals of being able to provide quality instruction.

I also understand that there's a "you first" problem: whereby things in a failing school are not likely to turn around until a critical mass of kids from highly-educated parents go there, unless the NYC Education system is drastically restructured.
But being "first" comes with real world consequences.
Selfish? I don't know about that. Is is my job to the fireman, policeman and social worker for my neighbor?
There are some "jobs" (such as making a school a safe, academically rigorous environment) that I think we have a right to expect our elected government (and generous tax dollars) to do.
I am not necessarily required to my myself, or more accurately, my children in danger of lowering their quality of life, because my government is not doing its job.
Really, we should fire all the politicians until they break the unions and other political insiders who perpetuate a culture of incompetence and waste.

elbell said...

Hey Q...still waiting for your series on being an involved NYC public ed parent!

burgundy said...

I have a son at PS 375. He has Ben there since pre I.

burgundy said...

I meant pre k

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Anon 2:20.

It's kindergarten. Your child, my child, all children, will be fine. Your baby will not be sucked down a rabbit hole of guns, gangs and mediocrity by sending your kids to your local school.

That line of bullshit reasoning is why the schools don't integrate, and stay miserably fractured along class and race lines. You've placed all of government and society's problems at the doorstep of a bunch of 5 year-olds and their dedicated teachers.

It can always be better, get better. But it won't, not with the likes of you, peddling alarmist nonsense based on fear and misinformation. Integrated schools are better schools, for parents AND kids, and as far as I'm concerned you can take your race-biased test results and cram 'em.

The Snob said...

Envigorated leadership at PS 375 would be worth 10 wine shops and an equal number of bagel shops to this community. I say this as a highly interested resident. It takes serious leadership (Ms. Soto at 705 is one of them) and a cadre of idealistic and fearless parents (my kids are not zoned for 375). I'm happy to offer a discount at my store to all PTA officers at Jackie Robinson!