Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Brooklyn middle school students squeezed out of study space by 3 charter schools sharing building

MS 126 is a school I knew real well as I did tech support there for about 5 years. First they had Bard HS take over the 4th floor, have the DOE (under Harold Levy) put a million dollars into the renovation, which cut classroom space in half, then move out to the lower east side, leaving room for the charter invasion.

This Daily News article is really an effective piece.

Example of the farce in this library sharing situation:

Period 1: Believe charter school teachers may utilize the left side of the library. The IS 126 library has sole use of the right side of the library.

Brooklyn middle school students squeezed out of study space by 3 charter schools sharing building

BY Elizabeth Lazarowitz <https://mail.nycboe.net/authors/Elizabeth%20Lazarowitz>

Tuesday, October 6th 2009, 4:00 AM

At JHS 126 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, memo grants its three charter schools the lion's share of access to the library (below), which got an overhaul just last year.<http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2009/10/06/alg_eriksson_school.jpg>
Adams for News

At JHS 126 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, memo grants its three charter schools the lion's share of access to the library (below), which got an overhaul just last year.

Students and parents at a Brooklyn <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Brooklyn> middle school are fuming after they were pushed out of their newly spruced-up library by an expanding charter school.

Junior High School 126 kids have severely limited access to the cozy, mural-painted reading spot this year so the three charters sharing the Greenpoint <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Greenpoint> building can use the space for planning, meetings and small classes.

"It's unfair," said JHS 126 parent association President Janeen Echevarria <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Janeen+Echevarria> . "Kids need to get in there to get books out to do their reports, to read, to further their education."

Access to the library for more than 400 middle schoolers will be restricted to one side of the space for less than two hours each day, with an extra hour on Wednesdays.

Eddie Calderon-Melendez <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Eddie+Calderon-Melendez> , founder of the Believe High School Network, which runs the charters, said the use of shared space is negotiated every year.

"We figure out what's in the best interest of all the children in the building," Calderon-Melendez said.

While the charters are using the auditorium and the library this year, they gave up their half of the gym space, he said.

That's of little comfort to JHS 126 eighth-grader Ashley, who said she's been stuck with a fifth-grade-

level independent reading book because she hasn't been able to get into the library yet. She's also worried about completing final projects required for graduation.

"We have no way of researching," said the 14-year-old student. The area near the library in her Bushwick <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Bushwick> neighborhood is dangerous, she said.

"There's this whole library full of new books bought for our school, and we can't even use it," Ashley said.

Williamsburg Charter High School <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Williamsburg+Charter+High+School> , the first school to share the Leonard St. space, opened in 2004. This year, Believe opened two more charters - Believe Northside and Believe Southside - promising that Williamsburg <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Williamsburg+(Brooklyn)> 's upper grades would move to private space.

The move to a new Bushwick building was stalled this summer, Calderon-Melendez said. He said he expects the building to be ready next year.

That means about 1,400 kids are packed into a building made for about 1,320.

To accommodate the extra charter students, JHS 126 Principal Rosemary Ochoa <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Rosemary+Ochoa> opted to give up shared space rather than relinquish classrooms, said Education Department spokeswoman Ann Forte <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Ann+Forte> .

Students will get library skills lessons in their classrooms using laptops, she said.

"The principals have been able to work together to solve the problems on the ground," Forte said. "[The JHS 126 principal] is confident that the kids are still getting the access and the quality of library instruction that they need."

The space scuffle comes as Mayor Bloomberg <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Michael+Bloomberg> vows to double the number of charter schools in the city to 200.

Last year, the library got an overhaul, with volunteers painting the walls with a castle motif. Now, the 13 donated computers, comfy recliners and futon have been removed.

"It's a beautiful library; 126 should have first priority, and the charter school should wait or get their own building already," lamented parent Doreen Sudano <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Doreen+Sudano> .




  1. Junior High schools are losing their buildings and also their licenced teachers. The DOE has ordered to switch ATR teachers form elementary to Junior High. Most ARTs going to the Junior High schools do not have licences to work with these population. What is going on?

  2. I like your thoughts. Can you send me a link to your other posts?

    Justin Davis
    Disclaimer: Author does not represent any legal position of
    Lightspeed Systems Inc. and is the author's opinion only, and
    Lightspeed only provides an internet filter to K-12 schools and institutions


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