Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Portables; Here to Stay (and Preschool, What about That?)

A hilarious article about portables in NYC by the NY Times.  We're not alone.

But eight years later, Mr. Cosby, 46, is busier than ever as an all-around handyman for the seven timeworn trailers that house 283 students outside the crowded main school building.

He has chased opossums, raccoons and turtles from the alleys around the corrugated metal structures, which were installed in the 1990s and now resemble battered railroad cars. He has laid traps to catch mice and scrubbed the floors of their droppings; mended roofs and lights and air-conditioners; patched many holes and installed new floors where water seeped in from below.

Shortly after he took office, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg vowed that New York City would get rid of all “transportable classroom units” by 2012. But today, 7,158 students, most of them in the beginning grades, are still learning in them, a testament to the struggle to keep up with rapid neighborhood growth, as well as to the magical powers of Liquid Nails and duct tape.

To go to gym or art, to eat lunch, or sometimes even to use the bathroom, students must put on their coats and trudge back to the main school building.

“I like it in the building,” said Ibrahim Abdullah, a kindergartner at P.S. 214, pointing at the majestic, five-story structure adjacent to the trailer where he spends most of his day. “It’s so warm in there.”

"It's so warm in there." Out of the mouths of babes.  

Thomas E. Hardiman, the executive director of the Modular Building Institute says this:
 “If a school needs them for three or four or five years, great,” he said. “But if you need them for 20 years, you should probably have built something more permanent. A lot of time schools purchase these, and then they hang on to them for far too long. And then the parents start calling.”

Ah, but what's not funny (but may be coming to Seattle Public Schools):

Undaunted by the city’s failures, the new schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña, has vowed to rid the schools of trailers within five years, though, at the same time, she is also trying to find space for thousands more students expected to enter the system as Mayor Bill de Blasio expands prekindergarten. And the state budget deal reached last week is quite likely to make the task even harder, since it compels the city to find room in public school buildings for new charter schools, or help pay for their space costs.

Well, there is no room at the inn for either charters OR preschool but really, who knows?  Apparently Councilman Tim "I will be mayor someday" Burgess seems to think the district is exaggerating the capacity crisis.  (If you see him, do let him know that's not some kind of hyperbole.)

What's eye-opening to me - as someone who does try to keep up - is that I completely missed that pre-school is part of our Strategic Plan.  I had realized that the Plan never states what the district's legal responsibilities are.  But I note that (1) I missed that pre-school is part of the SP and (2) I also missed this statement on page 6:

This process will be thoughtful and collaborative as we engage stakeholders in the redeployment of resources. This may include the difficult decision to postpone, stop or slow the growth of popular yet expensive programs if they are not aligned to the Strategic Plan. 
Do tell, which "popular yet expensive programs" are those?
Back to Pre-school which first makes an appearance on page 8 in Goal One;
- Commit to early learning as the foundation for future academic success. 
What does commit mean?
Page 12:

Commit to early learning education as the foundation for future academic success.

SPS recognizes the impact high-quality early learning education has on a student’s academic success. In order to ensure all students have the necessary skills to be school ready, we are investing in deepening our collaboration with city, state and federal partnerships. We are also committed to building the capacity of our teaching core by aligning our professional development offerings PreK–5 to CCSS.
Oh, so this is about Common Core?
Why is SPS so involved in something that is NOT a core issue for them? Why is it in the Strategic Plan (especially as the district grapples with capacity issues)? Why are both staff and Board members going to conferences on Pre-K?

And who gets to be in those portables?

1 comment:

Janney said...

A preschool is an important part in the growing phase of a child. Parents should make sure that their children are enrolled in a preschool conducive to their growth and development. Montclare Children’s School is one such preschool that embraces the development of the whole child, providing both teacher-directed and open-ended activities including music, art, movement, free play, sensory experiences and technology.