Monday, January 7, 2013

Join MORE at Co-Location Hearings in Prep for Jan. 16 PEP

Want to get your dander up? I'm reposting all the stuff from the great Inside Colocation blog about Success Academy outrages in just one of the schools they occupy. Note the Citizens of the World co-loco hearing is Eva's husband's charter chain which will behave no differently.

Below is a list of hearings and MOREs are trying to get to as many as possible. If you have time come to one or at the very least join MORE at the Jan. 16 PEP meeting at Fashion Industries HS. If you get up to speak, just read some of the stuff below.

Date District Meeting type Original school Co-locating school
Jan 8 District 4 Co-location PS 38
232 E 103rd St, Manhattan
Harlem Prep Charter co-located with PS 38
Jan 9 District 15 Temporary Co-location IS 136 and Sunset Park Preparatory
4004 4th Ave, Brooklyn
"New School 15KTBD" co-locating
Jan 10 District 17 Co-location PS 221
791 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn
Citizens of the World Charter co-located with PS 221









Jan 16

PEP
6:00PM at 
the High School of Fashion Industries located at 225 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10011



Hearings already passed, status to be decided at the Jan. 16 PEP:
*PS 126, 175 W 166th St. , Bronx , NY  (grade truncation: losing the 6th grade)
*The High School for Environmental Studies, 850 10th Avenue , New York , NY (Consolidation of Independence High School with HS for Environmental Studies)
*Re-siting of Innovation Diploma Plus to Building M233, 601 W 183rd Street , New York , NY ; IDP is being moved away from a site with four other schools (145 W 84th Street). 601 W 183 currently hosts MS 346 Community Health Academy of the Heights, a grade 6 to 12 school.


Inside Colocation

The public school where I've been teaching for the last 8 years has been targeted for a "colocation" with a corporate-model charter school. Most people, including me, don't know what a colocation looks like, though we've heard bleak stories. I've started this blog to document it as best I can.




Success Academy has a “zero noise tolerance” policy in their hallways, which they expect our students and staff to honor. They requested that the playground be locked after school hours so our students can’t play basketball and handball, which they claim disrupts their teachers’ planning time. Meanwhile, every day (weather permitting), Success Academy students congregate in the courtyard you see here and sing and loudly play. Their songs and shouts interrupt math and science classes in the many rooms that overlook the courtyard. Our middle and high school students regularly complain that it is extremely hard to focus with the noise from outside.
Success Academy has a “zero noise tolerance” policy in their hallways, which they expect our students and staff to honor. They requested that the playground be locked after school hours so our students can’t play basketball and handball, which they claim disrupts their teachers’ planning time. Meanwhile, every day (weather permitting), Success Academy students congregate in the courtyard you see here and sing and loudly play. Their songs and shouts interrupt math and science classes in the many rooms that overlook the courtyard. Our middle and high school students regularly complain that it is extremely hard to focus with the noise from outside.



The charter school recently demanded a custodian to lock all of the basement exits after school. Students from the upstairs public schools were still at events on campus and to leave school they had to climb over a fence, causing an obvious problem. For safety reasons, you can’t have exits locked. At the building council meeting, Success Academy proposed to use the exits only for emergencies. This proposal was voted down. However, they went ahead and put up the signs you see above! And they continue to advocate for our exits being locked.
The charter school recently demanded a custodian to lock all of the basement exits after school. Students from the upstairs public schools were still at events on campus and to leave school they had to climb over a fence, causing an obvious problem. For safety reasons, you can’t have exits locked. At the building council meeting, Success Academy proposed to use the exits only for emergencies. This proposal was voted down. However, they went ahead and put up the signs you see above! And they continue to advocate for our exits being locked.



The lights in the back are the old fluorescents that most DOE schools were equipped with for years, and are deemed unsafe for prolonged exposure. As each strip dies out, it gets replaced with the new lights you see in the front. It’s typical to see classrooms with a combination of old and new lights. The weekend before school opened this September, the charter school laid out $400,000 for a haz-mat team to install all new lights in their classrooms. The lights installed in Success were all taken from storage where they were scheduled to be installed in other schools over the coming months.
The lights in the back are the old fluorescents that most DOE schools were equipped with for years, and are deemed unsafe for prolonged exposure. As each strip dies out, it gets replaced with the new lights you see in the front. It’s typical to see classrooms with a combination of old and new lights. The weekend before school opened this September, the charter school laid out $400,000 for a haz-mat team to install all new lights in their classrooms. The lights installed in Success were all taken from storage where they were scheduled to be installed in other schools over the coming months.



AC update! When our high school was located in the basement, each room had one to two working ACs. We moved upstairs to rooms without ACs that were unbearably hot all through September. While most of the second floor is not properly wired for ACs, some rooms are wired and ready. So why weren’t our old ACs simply moved upstairs? When the charter school’s contractors removed the basement ACs, they let the units fall to the ground. Every AC but one is broken! To replace all of the broken ACs will cost $100,000, and SA is unwilling to pay up.
AC update! When our high school was located in the basement, each room had one to two working ACs. We moved upstairs to rooms without ACs that were unbearably hot all through September. While most of the second floor is not properly wired for ACs, some rooms are wired and ready. So why weren’t our old ACs simply moved upstairs? When the charter school’s contractors removed the basement ACs, they let the units fall to the ground. Every AC but one is broken! To replace all of the broken ACs will cost $100,000, and SA is unwilling to pay up.



Success Academy, like our school, has carpeting at its entrance. These carpets get vacuumed by our custodial staff, who uses their equipment to clean all the schools housed in the building. However, the industrial vacuum that custodial uses is not functioning. SA purchased a new vacuum cleaner and a carpet shampooer which our custodians must use to regularly clean Success’ carpet. However, despite custodial’s request, SA will not allow the custodians to bring this vacuum upstairs. As a result, our school’s carpets are being swept each day with a broom. 
Success Academy, like our school, has carpeting at its entrance. These carpets get vacuumed by our custodial staff, who uses their equipment to clean all the schools housed in the building. However, the industrial vacuum that custodial uses is not functioning. SA purchased a new vacuum cleaner and a carpet shampooer which our custodians must use to regularly clean Success’ carpet. However, despite custodial’s request, SA will not allow the custodians to bring this vacuum upstairs. As a result, our school’s carpets are being swept each day with a broom. 



For weeks, several teachers in Global Studies and International Studies have been unable to connect to the internet. Two teachers said that the computer network repairman came by to address the problem and discovered that wires had been cut in the server room to make room for Success Academy, who needs to connect on a different SSID than the rest of the schools, as the Department of Education does not allow them to share the DOE internet connection. I haven’t been able to verify this one way or another. Another teacher pointed out that these holes were drilled through the gym to run Success Academy’s internet wires into our building’s server, which they were not supposed to connect to. The problems do seem to be resolved, but only after a litany of complaints against S.A.
For weeks, several teachers in Global Studies and International Studies have been unable to connect to the internet. Two teachers said that the computer network repairman came by to address the problem and discovered that wires had been cut in the server room to make room for Success Academy, who needs to connect on a different SSID than the rest of the schools, as the Department of Education does not allow them to share the DOE internet connection. I haven’t been able to verify this one way or another. Another teacher pointed out that these holes were drilled through the gym to run Success Academy’s internet wires into our building’s server, which they were not supposed to connect to. The problems do seem to be resolved, but only after a litany of complaints against S.A.

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