NYC School Chancellor Walcott: Oppose EHSA charter school co-location & support a CPE I/II Middle School at JREC
NYC parents are looking for true choices for middle school and few middle schools in New York City offer the high-quality, enriched instruction and active learning approach the Central Park East Elementary Schools have a proven track record of creating. Please support a progressive education choice in Harlem!
Co-locating two expanding charter schools in the Jackie Robinson Alternative Educational Complex will threaten CPE I with overcrowding and undermine the ongoing effort to create a grade expansion for the successful sister schools, CPE I and II.
Sister schools CPE I and II have been collaborating on an expansion for a combined middle school for the past four years. Last year, CPE II applied for expansion after being assessed as “well-developed” on the DOE school quality review (January, 2012). In fact, our District 4 superintendent was impressed by CPE II’s high quality, enriched instruction and active learning approach to education. Based on this academic assessment, and the fact that few middle schools in New York City offer progressive education, and there are none within District 4, it is clear a CPE Middle School would be in the community’s best interest. DOE officials seemed to agree last spring when they indicated the only thing holding back CPE II's ability to expand to the eighth grade was a lack of physical space in District 4.
I was, therefore, understandably dismayed to learn that when space recently became available in the Jackie Robinson Alternative Educational Complex, the DOE decided to extend the stay of the East Harlem Scholars Academy 1 charter school -- previously scheduled to end its incubation this year -- and let EHSA 1 start a second elementary school, EHSA 2, at the same location instead of giving the space to a CPE I/II Middle School.
The Jackie Robinson Alternative Educational Complex is the current home to CPE I and located only a few blocks away from CPE II, making it an ideal space for a CPE Middle School for many reasons. It seems, however, that yet again, the DOE is giving preference and public spaces to unproven charter schools over public schools with successful track records and a solid demand for admittance.
CPE I and II are highly sought-after schools. Every year there are 200 applications for 18 available kindergarten spots. Families who send their children to these schools overwhelmingly keep them here through the fifth grade. These parents have, therefore, expressed a keen interest in expanding through the middle grades, and welcoming new parents and students to our school community for grades six through the eight.
Don't let charter schools take over the building and infringe on a beloved, sought after and successful school. I ask that you reconsider your position on the co-location at the Jackie Robinson Alternative Educational Complex and give your consideration to a CPE I/II Middle School and Progressive Education. Ensure that NYC parents are able to have real school choices.